A trip abroad is a welcome break from your regular life, and an opportunity to have loads of fun. However, amidst all this excitement, a sudden bout of forgetfulness might strike you. And as a result, you could misplace your passport.
The moment you realize you’re missing it, it’s natural to want to panic.
But losing your passport abroad is not the end of the world. It just means you will need to take steps to fix it now.
So, what to do if you lose your passport abroad?
Well, first of all, you need to take a second to calm down and breathe.
Then follow these 4 simple steps for quick and easy lost passport replacement.
4 Steps For Lost Passport Replacement When Abroad
1. Report Lost Passport to the Local Police Station
This is the first thing that you need to do. Head to the nearest police station and file a lost document report. If anyone wants to misuse your passport, this step can prevent it. Keep a copy of the report with you, and be very careful not to lose it. This is proof of the fact that your passport has indeed been stolen, and that you are not up to any mischief. Make several photocopies of this report, and also store it electronically.
2. Get in Touch with Your Country’s Embassy
With a copy of the missing report filed at the police station, visit your country’s embassy, or high commission in the country of your travel. Once you are there, show them a copy of the police report. Disclose your travel plans to the staff there. The authorities there might ask you to fill out another missing document form. You will need to apply for a new passport.
Obtaining these documents takes some time. A new passport might take anywhere between seven and 10 days to be issued.
“But what is the fastest way to replace a lost passport?”
Well, if you don’t have that much time to spare, then a temporary emergency travel document might be your solution. Request your embassy for an emergency certificate with which you can travel back to your home country.
Now, what are the requirements for a lost passport application at embassies?
You will need the following documents to obtain a replacement passport (or an emergency travel certificate):
- Photocopies of the front and back pages of your lost passport/some other form of identification (e.g., driver’s license)
- Proof of citizenship in your home country
- Several copies of a recent color photograph (passport size)
- Police report filed after misplacing your passport
- Copies of your visa and airline tickets
In this context, do remember one point: Most embassies around the world don’t work on weekends or on the designated public holidays of that country. Factor this in when applying for a new passport or emergency travel certificate. Also, remember that you will need to pay a fee of about $120 (for U.S. citizens applying for a new passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.)
You need to keep another point in mind: An emergency replacement passport will only facilitate your return to your home country. It will not let you travel around too much (except for some countries in Europe). It’s not a standard-validity passport (10 years for adults and five years for minors in the U.S.). So, once you return to your home country, you will need to submit the emergency passport and apply for a full-validity replacement.
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3. Get Your Visa Reissued
With your old passport gone, even your visa is lost. You will need to get it reissued. With your new passport and police report, contact the relevant authorities to get the this done.
4. Flight Rescheduling Might be Necessary
A lost passport can create real havoc in your international travel plans. You can’t fly out without the emergency certificate or a new passport. Contact the airline and talk to them about the changed situation. With a proper explanation of the scenario, you might not need to pay too much to reschedule your flight.
Protect Your Passport: Avoid The Need For Lost Passport Replacement Next Time
Prevention is Better Than the Cure
While losing your passport is not a disaster by any means, it is a major inconvenience. No matter what, you’ll probably have to reschedule your travel plans, and spend money you weren’t planning to spend. Therefore, it’s much better to zealously protect your passport, so you avoid losing it. Keep it in the hotel safe, or in a travel pouch that is attached to your body. Don’t take your passport with you on sightseeing trips where you won’t need it. The more places you go with your passport, the better your chances are of misplacing it. You’re better off leaving it secured in the safe at your hotel.
In case you do lose it, keep several photocopies of your passport and visa in different places in your luggage. Also, keep electronic copies of the documents saved on your phone, and send a copy to your email inbox. If your passport does go missing, these electronic copies can make it easier to get a replacement.
Buy Travel Insurance
One thing you’ll certainly be glad to have if your passport goes missing is a travel insurance policy. While your insurance can’t prevent the loss of your passport, it can allow you to be compensated for the extra expenses you incur as a result of it. The exact benefits and level of coverage will vary depending on the travel insurance plan you choose, so be sure to read your policy carefully to know what is covered.
Almost any item can go missing during an international trip, including something as important as your passport.
However, by exercising some caution and having appropriate travel insurance in place, you can minimize the risk. If you do lose your passport, just follow the steps in this article for lost passport replacement, and you’ll be safely traveling back home again before you know it.
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