Lost or stolen passport? Here's how to recover it abroad

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Published on 2024-05-22 at 08:00 by Ester Rodrigues
The passport is the most important document that expats and travelers have when abroad. Although it might sound cliché, it is the identification for most visitors from overseas, who can't just show their national identities for moving around, entering the country, or going to the hospital. Basically, they need a passport to do any administrative procedure abroad. Despite all the attention to not losing this precious document, sometimes it just happens, and travelers and expatriates must be aware of the measures they should take. 

Passports are needed everywhere, from spending a night at a party to walking throughout the city, but it is very risky to have the original one at hand or in the pockets. Some expats leave their documents at home while having a PDF form on their phones on a daily basis. Although everyone takes good care of passports, sometimes it is impossible to control losing them or being stolen. For most countries, in case that happens, expats and travelers have similar steps to take as they will have to replace their passports at their home countries' consulate at their location to return to their countries. 

What should you do if your passport is stolen or lost? 

First, you have to contact the nearest embassy or consulate for assistance. Contact information for embassies and consulates is available on every country's information pages.  

Ask to speak to the Consular Section to report your passport lost or stolen. If you have been the victim of a serious crime, be sure to tell a consular officer about it as soon as possible so they can provide appropriate assistance.  

When you have filed your report to the police or your declaration of loss or theft to the consulate, the passport will be canceled and will no longer be valid at border crossings. If you get the document back later, keep in mind that you must not use it for travel because it will have been recorded as canceled on the border authorities' databases.

Your declaration of loss or theft of documents to the consulate does not count as a report. You are recommended to file a report at the nearest local police station to avoid liabilities deriving from fraudulent use of the document by third parties. Your declaration of loss or theft of documents to the consulate does not count as a report. You are recommended to file a report at the nearest local police station to avoid liabilities deriving from fraudulent use of the document by third parties.

If you are scheduled to leave the foreign country shortly, please provide our consular staff with the details of your travel. They will make the necessary efforts to assist you quickly. You will also be directed to where you can obtain a photo of your replacement passport.  In most cases, you will need to get a passport photo prior to your arrival at the consular section. Search on the official consular website of your home country in the city where you are based.  

Documents you must have to replace your passport abroad

You will need at least some documents to replace your passport overseas. Most countries will require:

  • Passport photo (get it in advance to speed up the process of replacing your passport). Identification (driving license or expired passport etc.)
  • Evidence of citizenship (birth certificate, national ID, or photocopy of your missing passport). Travel Itinerary (airline/train tickets).  
  • Police report, if it was stolen.  
  • For some countries, such as the US, a statement regarding a lost or stolen passport might be required for the application for a new passport.  

Fees

The normal passport fees are collected from applicants for replacement passports. Applicants unable to pay the fee will be asked to provide names and a letter of responsibility of persons they feel would be able to assist them financially. 

Availability

Expats and travelers have to be aware that most embassies and consulates cannot issue passports on weekends or holidays when the embassy/consulate is closed. However, all embassies and consulates have after-hours duty officers and phones available to assist with life or death emergencies of citizens abroad.

Validity

Replacement passports are normally valid for the duration they would last in their home countries. North American passports, for instance, will be valid for a full ten years for adults or five years for minors.