You never know when something can go wrong on your travels and being prepared means that should something happen, you’ll know exactly what to do. Losing your passport in a foreign country can be a scary experience but it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck there forever. What do you do when your passport is stolen or lost while travelling? Here are some tips to help you along.
- FILE A POLICE REPORT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
If your passport is stolen, it’s a good idea to find the nearest police station and report it. Having a photocopy of your passport available will help your police report and more importantly, request for a copy of the report too. Filing a police report is especially important because it can serve as a backup should anyone try to use your passport illegally. It will also help when claiming back for any unexpected expenses depending on your travel insurance. The language barrier may cause some difficulty though, especially if you are in a foreign county so make sure you have a translation app downloaded before you travel and emergency numbers from your travel insurance handy.
- LOCATE YOUR NEAREST EMBASSY OR CONSULATE
Once you have located the nearest embassy or consulate in the country you’re visiting, schedule an emergency appointment and inform them about your situation. They will help you to apply for a new passport from the city you’re currently in. It’s a good idea to take any form of identification you may have; including passport photos, your travel itinerary, hotel address and the police report.
- ALERT YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
Most travel insurance companies should cover the cost of lost or stolen passports. Check the breakdown of your insurance to see what is covered and alert them as soon as possible. Send them a copy of the police report along with any receipts of costs incurred.
- WAIT IT OUT
Depending on the embassy or consulate, you should receive your new temporary passport from anywhere between 24 hours to a few days after. If you are issued with a temporary passport, remember that this only allows you to travel for a limited period until you apply for a new passport when you return to your home country.
- BE PREPARED
It’s a good idea to be prepared before any incidents happen. Here are some tips:
- Keep your passport in a second wallet along with some emergency cash. This way, if your wallet is stolen, you still have your passport and some emergency money with you. Some people like to use a flat hidden wallet that can be carried under your clothing.
- Keep electronic copies of all important documents. Scan your passport and visas and upload these to a secure online storage site. This way you can access them from any computer via the internet. It’s also a good idea to email yourself important information like passport numbers, visa numbers and emergency phone numbers on the backs of any credit cards you travel with in case you need to cancel them.
- Keep a photo copy of your passport and relevant visas in a different bag than your original suitcase.
- Give a copy of important travel documents to family members or close friends back home as a backup.
- Read up about the area you will be travelling to before you arrive. This way you will be more alert in areas notorious for scams and other kinds of danger.
- Know where the embassies are located in the country you’re visiting and keep their phone numbers with you.
- Take out a reliable travel insurance and pay close attention to all of the details within the policy. This way, you know exactly what is covered.
Do you have any tips on what to do when your passport is lost or stolen? Share them in the comments below!