How to Handle Lost or Stolen Passport During Travel

As a traveler who goes abroad, you need to prepare all the necessary documents to cross the border smoothly.

As a traveler who goes abroad, you need to prepare all the necessary documents to cross the border smoothly. If you notice that your passport is gone, don’t panic. Read what to do in such a situation and follow the proposed steps to replace a passport quickly and avoid identity theft.

How to keep documents safe during travel?

You can undertake some precautions to protect your documents abroad:

  • Scan or photocopy all the essential documents before your trip.
  • Download photos/scans on your device and send them to email so you can access them easily.
  • Use a safe in the hotel room and leave your passport and other important documents there.
  • Don’t put documents in easily accessible pockets.
  • Store documents in the special organizer hidden in the bag if you need to provide them later.

What to do when a passport is lost or stolen?

Lost or stolen passports must be reported immediately. Firstly, you should contact the nearest embassy or consulate for assistance. Appear in person there and apply for a new passport. Provide all the detailed information, especially when you need to leave the visited country soon. Processing may take some time, so keep that in mind. In case of an emergency, you will be given a temporary passport, usually valid for up to 1 year.

Furthermore, remember to inform your loved ones in your native country. They can call the proper office and report the problem as well, which is additional support. You can also try to contact the local police. It’s not required but may help in case of theft or loss of a passport.

How to replace lost or stolen passports abroad?

You need to visit the embassy or consulate in case of problems related to your passport. To replace this document, it’s good to consider the following:

  • face photo
  • identification document
  • evidence of citizenship
  • travel itinerary
  • completed application form
  • statement that your passport is lost or stolen

If you don’t have all of the above documents, you can count on the embassy or consulate representatives. They will definitely help you with the formalities.

How much does an emergency passport cost?

In most cases, a limited-validity passport costs the same as a normal passport. However, if you are a victim of a disaster or serious crime and are not able to pay for a new passport, you can apply for free. Contact consular staff to know more about the case.

How long the emergency passport is valid for?

Usually, the passport validity period lasts 10 years (or 5 in the case of minors). A limited-validity emergency passport is issued for up to one year. Later, it can be exchanged for a full-validity passport. Contact the embassy or consular officer to learn more. Also, make sure your documents do not expire before or during your journey to avoid further inconveniences.

Can I continue traveling if I find a passport after reporting it was stolen or lost?

No, it’s not possible to travel with a reported passport, as it’s no longer valid. You may not be able to cross the border as its holder. Remember to apply for a new passport if you have already reported losing it. The most crucial step is to contact the proper authorities.

Does travel insurance cover stolen or lost passports?

Check your travel insurance policy to make sure it covers lost or stolen passports. Usually, such a situation is included, so you don’t need to cover the cost of replacing the document. Sometimes, flight tickets and accommodation will be granted as well.

Note that you may be asked to prove you have done everything to keep documents safe. For instance, you can show a secure backpack pocket or inform that you stored it in a safe place in your accommodation.

Aleksandra K
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