Trouble Abroad: Here's What To Do If You Lose Your Passport

Losing one’s passport is certainly not part of the plan. But it is a mishap that can be managed if it happens
A guide to handling lost passports
A guide to handling lost passports Shutterstock

Imagine, after months of planning you are finally on your dream holiday- a solo trip to an exotic destination like Vietnam, Melbourne, or Sri Lanka. You pack your bags to return home shoving all those last-minute souvenirs into every available cranny of the suitcase.

As you reach your airport to go back home, double-checking and triple-checking every little thing—sunscreen, wallet, cards, passport—wait, you can’t find your passport anywhere, neither in the hundreds of pockets of your cargo pants nor in your backpack. Your breath becomes abnormal, and suddenly, you have no idea what to do, and your trip comes to a standstill. 

Usually, a checklist of the things to do when your passport is lost is not a part of one’s planning. God forbid, it becomes a reality. Unfortunately, it is a possible scenario, and knowing what steps to take can make all the difference.  Here is an essential guide to navigating the loss of your passport while you are travelling abroad. 

Report The Loss To The Police

Representative image
Representative imageShutterstock

Immediate action is crucial in this situation. As soon as you notice that your passport is missing, the first step to take is to report the loss of your passport at the nearest Police Station.  You might need to show other documents to prove your identity and answer some questions about your travel when you make the complaint.

Make sure you keep a copy of the complaint report, as you will need it when you apply for a new passport and claim your travel insurance. The police might also help you with the procedures related to the embassy, such as applying for an emergency certificate or a new passport.

Inform The Nearest Indian Embassy Or Consulate

The next critical step is to contact or visit the nearest Indian Embassy or consulate. Embassies are equipped to help citizens in distress, abroad. When you go to the Indian embassy, they will issue an emergency certificate or a replacement passport after verifying your nationality so you can return home safely. Let’s see how to apply for a lost passport.

Usually, if you have lost your Indian passport abroad, you have two options to come back home:

Apply For A Replacement Passport

When you go to the Indian Embassy, you can apply for a replacement passport for your lost one. The embassy will require some documents including a copy of your lost passport.

In order to get a replacement for your lost passport, there are several documents and forms that you will need to gather and submit to the appropriate authorities. These documents include a copy of the front and back pages of your lost passport, a copy of the police report of the lost/stolen passport, 4-6 passport-sized photos of yourself, a copy of your visa and flight tickets, and a properly filled out passport application form.

The procedure may take up to a week afteryou submit these documents, the embassy will send your application to India to print your new passport. This passport will then be sent to the embassy where you have applied. During this time you have to stay in the host country.

Apply For An Emergency Certificate 

If you've lost your passport while traveling abroad, it's important to take immediate action to apply for a replacement. In order to do so, you'll likely need to provide several documents, including a filled EAP-2 form application, a copy of the front and back pages of your lost passport, and a copy of the police report of the lost/stolen passport.

Additionally, you'll need 4-6 passport-sized photos of yourself. If you're in a hurry and don't want to wait a week in a foreign country, you can choose to get an emergency certificate instead of a full passport replacement. It's important to take these steps as soon as possible to ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience.

Request A New Visa Issuance

Representative image
Representative imageShutterstock

A lost passport also means a lost visa. You can retrieve your visa by going to the embassy of the nation where it was originally issued. A copy of your previous visa and the submitted police record are required.

Your new replacement passport and/or Emergency Certificate are also required.

Change Your Flight And Claim Your Travel Insurance

One of the important things to do at such a time is to change your flight to a new time. It might be difficult (or even impossible) to catch your flight on time if you don’t have enough time to do the above steps. In that case, you should contact the airline and change your flight. If you don’t know when you can fly, you can also cancel your flight and claim your flight cancellation insurance.

Your travel insurance will also cover the loss of your passport when you come back to India. Many people use their travel insurance to get reimbursed for the cost of getting a new passport.

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