We’ve all found ourselves in compromising situations while traveling, and it is best to plan ahead for all the unexpected things that could happen. You may find yourself stranded if you’re dealing with a lost or stolen passport while abroad, but knowing the facts will help to prevent any unnecessary hassle. Before travel, take into consideration that certain countries require that your passport be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – make sure to check the entry requirements before you embark.
When you first realize your passport has either been lost or stolen, you should cancel the passport as soon as possible. Cancelling a passport will reduce the risk of anyone else using your passport or your identity.
As soon as you notice the stolen passport, you should file a police report. A police report is crucial when without money and identification abroad. You will also need to show your police report when you come to apply for an emergency passport.
If you know where one is, you should head to your embassy or consulate. Once you explain your situation and show your police report, they should be able to find your details on their system. There is a fee for an emergency passport. If you do not have enough money to pay for the services, then the embassy/consulate can provide you with stamped validation of your passport details.
If you are dealing with an expired or damaged passport, you should first look into how to renew or replace your passport. You should only apply for the emergency travel document if you need to travel before you can replace your old passport.
The staff at the embassy or consulate will also be able to give you advice regarding legal representation if necessary. The consulate/embassy certification will support a travel insurance claim.
After filing your police report and you’ve applied for emergency documentation, you should try contacting anyone who will be able to arrange for money to be sent to you for collection at the nearest Western Union. In as little as a few hours, your money will be wired. Your family and friends may also be able to help you arrange lodging if required.
When going to the nearest Western Union to pick up your money transfer, you will need a photographic ID. You will be able to get your money using the ID you had printed and by showing the police report and embassy/consulate documentation attained.
With the wired money, you will be able to return to your embassy or consulate to buy an emergency passport. With this passport, you will be able to return to your home country via a maximum of 5 countries.
Some key tips for keeping your passport safe while traveling abroad include valuing your passport and looking after it carefully.
That being said, your passport is not always safer on you – If you can, lock it in a safe or keep it in your hotel room locked away.
Before traveling, it’s always important to make two photocopies of your passport for extra security – you should leave one with people you trust and take the second one with you. Alternatively, you can also store it online using a protected data storage website.
If you need to show ID while abroad after your passport has been stolen, the photocopy can be used as an alternative ID, for example when going out at night.