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Did you lose your passport while you were abroad?
Or, hopefully, you still have it with you but want to know what you should do if the worst happens. Whatever the case, it’s good to be prepared. Read on to find out what the right procedure is in case of a lost passport - it will take you only 2 minutes!
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You have checked everywhere in your bags, called or went back to search for your passport in the cafes, restaurants and shops you’ve last visited, and you still can’t find it.
That might seem like a nightmare but there is no need to worry; you won’t be stuck abroad forever!
If your passport is lost while you’re on holiday, here is what to do without losing any time:
Report your lost passport officially
Go to the local police station to report the loss or theft of your passport. Keep the document they give you - you will need it to issue a new passport and to claim on your travel insurance later (if you have one).
Register your passport as lost
You might be able to do this online, by phone or mail. You will need to fill in a certain form.
It is important to do this so that you prevent identity theft, which is a serious and growing crime.
Once you cancel your lost or stolen passport, it’s no longer valid and can’t be used for traveling.
Contact your country’s embassy
If you’re from the UK, for example, locate the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. There you will be issued emergency travel documentation.
It’s a good idea to do some research in advance so that you have the address and phone number ready.
Book an appointment and make sure you make clear what the matter is. You should also state when exactly you are about to leave the country you’re in.
Prepare all necessary documentation
Go to your appointment with the embassy prepared. You’ll need to submit certain documents together with your application form, such as:
- A passport photo;
- Identification document (e.g., driver’s license, expired passport, etc.);
- Evidence of citizenship (birth certificate or a photocopy of your passport if you have one - it’s always a good idea to bring one with you when traveling, on paper or in digital form);
- Your travel itinerary (tickets);
- A police report - this isn’t mandatory but will be helpful.
If your children’s passports are lost too, you’ll need to provide the same information for them.
You will usually have to pay the standard passport replacement fee.
Wait for your lost passport to be replaced
If you are abroad and have plans to travel home very soon, you can be issued an emergency passport within 24 hours. However, it will be valid only until you get back. After that you’ll need to get a new one.
Note that consulates and embassies issue passports only during standard office hours. Rarely, documents can be issued out of hours, but you will be charged extra.
As we already said, if you’re abroad and need to travel urgently, you won’t have to wait long. However, if you’re in your country of citizenship and are not in a hurry, it can take up to 3 weeks. For a stolen or lost passport, you might need to attend an interview.
If you need to travel urgently for specific (serious) reasons, the procedure will be sped up.
Note that you are obliged to replace your passport not only when it’s lost, stolen or expired, but also if it’s damaged because you might not be allowed to travel with it otherwise.
You can apply to replace your passport either online, or with a paper application form. In the UK, you can get one from the post office.
Now you know what to do in case of a stolen or lost passport. This happens to many travelers every year. Even if you have to deal with such an unpleasant situation, try to remain calm and not let it ruin your vacation.
To try to prevent losing it or having it stolen, it's a good idea to keep your passport separate from other important items both at home and when traveling.
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