We all expect the best possible outcomes when getting ready to travel, but every so often there are instances where something drastic happens like dealing with a lost/stolen passport. Stolen passports are every traveller’s nightmare, but there are many precautionary steps you can take to prevent this from happening or prepare yourself in the event that you are faced with losing your passport. I am planning my first abroad soon and have found some really great tips to make sure I am prepared – just in case.
Before you begin your travels, make sure you know where all of your important documents such as passports, visas, and tickets are so that your departure can be as stress-free as possible.
If you are already in your destination and you realize that your passport has either been lost or stolen, it is crucial that you report the loss or theft to the local police force. When filing a report with the local police, they will ask you your name, country of origin and when the last time you saw your passport was. By filing an official report, you will be given a reference number, which you will later have to show to your embassy when applying for new travel documents. In the best-case scenario, any lost passports will be returned to the local police and they will be able to contact you so that you may retrieve your documents before you are scheduled to leave the country.
It is always smart to take the extra precaution of applying for travel insurance before your dates of travel. If you have travel insurance, contacting them when you realize your passport has been lost or stolen is another great step to get the help you need abroad. It is possible that the policy you’ve purchased with your insurance will require that you inform them of a loss or theft within a designated timeframe.
When in another country you may not have phone service or internet handy, so it is also advised to either visit an internet café, hotel, or ask a local to allow you to use their phone or internet to contact your countries’ embassy abroad. Your embassy will be able to get you an Emergency Travel Document, which will allow you to leave the country you are in and return home without any extra hassle. It takes a short time to get these new documents—at least 48 hours—and so it is best to see your embassy about this as soon as possible. When you return home with your new temporary passport, visit your home consulate because they will need that in order to send it off for a new legitimate passport. Getting your new passport can take between 10 days to two months; so keep that in mind if you have any upcoming dates of travel.
If you realize you’ve lost your passport with enough time before your next intended sates of travel, it would be advised to apply for a new passport immediately with your home office. When applying for a new passport, there will be supplementary documents and fees required. Make sure to read all directions and fill out the forms as legibly as possible to prevent any further delays in processing.
So tell us…
Have you ever had to deal with passport issues?