Guide on What To Do If You Lose Your Passport Overseas.

Our Indian Emergency Passports after our passport got stolen overseas in Barcelona

It is a terrifying experience to lose your passport overseas.If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, when you travelling then here is an easy guide on what to do if you lose you passport overseas.Believe me many people have lost or have their passport stolen abroad, and it is a situation which can be dealt with. Your country’s embassy will help you get a temporary passport and you can travel with that.

In the last day of our trip to Spain for our anniversary, we had our passports stolen just before our bus to the airport. My wallet, which had a lot of Euros and my current home currency (SGD) and all the bank cards etc. were stolen as well.  From my first hand experience here is what to do get an emergency travel document to travel back to your home country.

Tired but happy to sort out everything and on our way home.

Tired but happy to sort out everything and on our way home after the nightmare of our passports being stolen overseas.

How to Keep you valuable safe while travelling

  • Lock it up and make a copy

    • Keep your valuables in the locker of the hotel (obviously hostels etc might not be too safe unless they have lockers). Please take a xerox copy of the passport and keep it handy and some national identity card, maybe drivers or something. Rest all should be in the locker.
  • Secure it online

    • All the documents which are critical, like you passport, national id card, employment pass of the country you are working for, visa document etc should be scanned and saved in a google drive or cloud which you can access from anywhere.
  • Use replacement of cash

    • Cash cannot be locked or recovered once stolen. Do not carry too much cash, most tourist places accept cards  and so have less cash and more traveller cheques and multi-currency cards which have a limited amount of money.
  • Split your assets:

    • Always divide your assets, amongst people, amongst different luggage, different pockets etc so you do not go bankrupt. For us , my husband had his wallet and so we could survive the ordeal in a decent manner.
  • Theft Proof Bags:

      • If it your first day or last day and you have to carry your passport, keep it always visible. That means keep it somewhere which is always visible to your eye. Safety, theft proof bags are good and a brilliant investment as well. In your backpack which you are carrying on your back is a bad idea.
      • If you need ideas on this you can choose from here

  • They are after your money:

    • Keep money and passports in different areas of the bag. Mostly people are after the money and not your passports so it is always better to keep them separate.
  • If they know it’s a Passport, they might not take it.

      • Do not carry passports in a closed bags or passport covers. The thieves are more interested in stealing money, so if they know that it is a passport , you might get lucky and it might not be stolen.You need to cover your passport in transparent covers which you can get from here

  • Inform your bank and phone providers about your travel plans.

    • It is better to inform you banks, so that your account don’t get locked and you are able to use cards etc. Same with your phone, you do not want your phone provides to block your service assuming your phone has been stolen. Informing them helps you deal with the situation in an easier manner.

Those were some of the tis to keep your passports safe. Next is the guide on what to do if you lose your passport overseas.

  • Keep Calm:

    • The next few days after your passport gets stolen would require you to do a lot of official work as well unplanned changes to your trip Stay calm as this is what will help you best to get over it quickly.
  • Block your cards if they are stolen:

    • It is important to block your cards which has been stolen so that there is no extra expense on them. You can call them on their hotline number and get it sorted. Keep these numbers handy, it took me an hour to find the correct number to block the card and it was a stressful situation.
  • Inform your family and  friends:

    • Let your parents, partners and friends know about your situation if they are expecting you to return and can be worried. You might also need some help from them so better to inform them.
  • File a police report:

    • This is the most crucial step. You want to get flight tickets changed, or any emergency passport to travel back, you need the police report. There would be a lot of police stations in and around the city and anyone of them should be fine. You need to mention all the details about the theft and also what got stolen so try to be as descriptive as possible. For us we were about to go to the airport so we filed the report at the airport police station as it had less queues and it was easier to do the next steps. 
  • Inform and enquire from your carriage service?

    • None of the flights allow you to travel without your passport. Some do allow you to travel with the Police report. So the next step is to inform you flight service and also to find out if you would be allowed to travel, especially if your flights are in 1-2 days of your passport getting stole. If there is a weeks time to your flight and you think your country’s embassy would be able to give you an emergency passport (generally takes a day) then you are good to go. For us it was a tricky situation as we work in Singapore and have Indian passports. So with emergency passports we would not be allowed to travel to Singapore. 
  • Inform your insurance provider:

    • Drop an email with all the details to your insurance provide. passport stolen and the costs associated with it is generally covered to some extent and hence you need to take them in loop so you can claim the money when you are back home safe.  We got SGD 600 each from our insurance provider which was nothing compared to what we spent but still it was something at least. 
  • Take account of your money:

    • How much money do you have? Do you have access to money? Is there someone who can help you if not. If you are rescheduling your tickets, or booking new ones ( We had to cancel our turkish airline flights from Barcelona to Singapore and take a new one from Madrid to Kolkata and that was costed us a lot of money).Indian embassy was in Madrid and we had to make travel and stay arrangements for the same as well. 
  • Find out where is your country’s embassy?

    • You would need to contact the embassy now for making travel arrangements, get your new passport or an emergency one. A simple google search would let you know where the embassy is. Drop them a mail or a call to let them know of the situation.
  • Do you need an emergency passport or you have time for a new one?

    • You might have two  months of trip left and booking all done etc!. If you would like to continue with the long plans, you need to apply for a new passport at your embassy, they take approximately 5-7 business days and you can apply and you could get the same. If your trip is almost over, wouldn’t it be more sensible to take an emergency temporary passport, given in 4-6 hours and travel back to your own country. The embassy people are really helpful and can help you sort out the matter.
  • Do you need to replace the visa as well?

    • If you are continuing the trip, do you need to get the visa re done? You would need to apply and inform the country’s embassy for which you need the visa for , give the police FIR report, a copy of your visa and then they can provide you the same after some checks. Thank god for that.

Once you have sorted out the mess and return home.Do the following:

  • Apply for a new passport:

    • It is an important document and it wouldbe good to have it back as quickly as possible.
  • File your insurance claim:

    • You have dealt with a lot and want to take things light, but please go ahead and file your insurance claim. These things take time, the money can help and there might be rules about your travel insurance being valid only a few days after your travel.
  • Inform and thank everyone:

    • Inform you work place, family and friends and thank them for all their help and support.
  • Enjoy and have a good laugh:

    • It was an experience and it could happen to anybody, don’t blame yourself. This experience has made you wiser.

8 thoughts on “Guide on What To Do If You Lose Your Passport Overseas.

  1. Amber Walters

    I never even thought about this happening so thanks for sharing I definitely would NOT have stayed calm if I hadn’t read this.

  2. Arunima Dey

    I hope I never have to deal with this but if it does, I will know what to do. I can’t stress on how valuable the information is that you have shared! Thank you

  3. lincalinca

    So how did you get to Singapore in the end? Did you have to take another flight? Does insurance cover costs of new one? This is so incredibly scary 🙁 I always try to keep my passport in another pouch, not the same one as my money, but still, once I had my whole purse stolen in my home country and that was real horrible too, car keys inside, all the cards, everything…

    1. nidhisaraf

      It was a long ordeal, insurance just covered 600$s. We cane back hone, got new passports and had to travel to Singapore. It took us 2 weeks to sort out and a lot of money. At ever airport we waited for 5-6 hours to get clearance.

  4. Kirsty

    This is a really helpful guide. It is one of the most stressful situations to be in so a lot of people would find this really useful. Thanks so sharing.

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