What To Do If Your Passport Is Lost Or Stolen.

A lot of things can go wrong when travelling the world, but few can be as worrying as losing your passport. If the worst happens here are the exact steps you need to take if your passport is lost or stolen.

Losing a passport or even having it stolen on a trip can be a major hassle, and can be quite daunting if it happens to you. The good news is it isn’t the end if the world, or even your trip. Like most things in life the key to dealing with problems as they occur lies in how you react, so here is what you need to do if your passport is lost or stolen.

Don’t Panic.

That initial panic when you can’t find it, the stress of having to deal with things alone and in a foreign country … I get it. It’s normal. But now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to take those feelings, acknowledge them, then push them down and think of things logically.

If you were properly prepared before your trip you will already have good travel insurance that will cover you for the cost of a replacement passport, (not all do). You will already have physical photocopies hidden in your backpack as well as a few spare passport photos and also digital copies either emailed to yourself so you can access them anywhere or on your phone, and you will already be half way to solving your problem and getting back to your travels.

Being well prepared beforehand really does solve a lot of problems before you even have them.

Report The Loss Or Theft Immediately.

The first thing you will need to do is to report the loss or theft to the relevant authorities as soon as practically possible. You will need to report it to:

  • The local police (make sure you get a report/crime number).
  • Online at your country’s relevant government portal.
  • Your nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Your insurance company.
  • Any other relevant authority such as your hotel or airline if you need to change plans.

Remember, in some countries in is an offence to not report a lost or stolen passport right away.

Get An Emergency Travel Document Or ETD.

Your embassy or consulate can issue you with an emergency passport until your replacement comes through if you need to travel immediately or get back home.

UK citizens can do this online, through the UK Government website. There is a dedicated application form for the emergency passport, which you can fill out directly from your computer. Make sure you fill out the form correctly and provide all the relevant supporting documents when required. There is a nonrefundable charge for applying for an emergency passport of £100.

Remember, an ETD is only a temporary document for emergency use only and is not a replacement for a full passport.

Arrange A Replacement Passport.

You will need to arrange for another passport online or at your embassy or consulate. If you do it online to save time that is great, but you will still need to present yourself at your embassy. Depending on where you are this may require travelling to a different location.

You’ll need as many supporting documents for your application as possible. That means:

  • Passport photos.
  • A copy of your passport (physical or digital) for proof of citizenship.
  • Any other photo ID (driving license etc).
  • Any plane tickets, e tickets or travel documents.
  • A crime number if you have one.

Rearrange Or Cancel Travel Arrangements.

Hopefully you won’t need to change too much but ifvyou do have any upcoming flights or other arrangements that will require your passport, now is the time to do that. Make sure any changes or cancellations are written down in black and white in an email, especially if there are extra fees involved. This will help with any charges or claims later.

Contact Your Insurance Provider.

This is your final step to claim back any costs for replacement documents or any costs for lost flights or additional expenses. Make sure you keep all reciepts and supporting documents.

Hopefully losing your passport won’t have affected your trip too much, if you prepare properly and keep enough flexibility in your plans, it will hopefully add up to nothing more than a few days of hassle and some form filling, and then you can get back to the more serious business of enjoying your trip!

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

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Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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2 comments on “What To Do If Your Passport Is Lost Or Stolen.
  1. bcre8v2 says:

    Thanks, Michael. Good tips. I usually have a photocopy of my passport in a secure location, but did not think about carrying extra passport photos. It would also be smart to carry a copy of this blog post to help one calm down and focus on next steps!

    • Haha, if everyone would carry a copy round that would do wonders for my website I’m sure! ;D The key to remaining calm is being as prepared as you can be though and it sounds like you are already there for the most part!

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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