My recent passport fiasco was an education in what happens when you are abroad without a passport – and need a new one lickedy-split for upcoming travel.
Here is a step-by-step process of what to do when your passport is lost or stolen:
Call your consulate/embassy
Let them know as soon as possible what has happened. They will guide you through the process and send you any necessary forms.
Your country’s embassy/consulate website should also be of assistance, providing not only contact numbers, but also some guidance as to what to do when your passport is lost or stolen, often providing forms for downloading and printing.
Get a Police Report
This is a debatable requirement depending on the circumstances, however when I spoke to my consulate representative, she insisted that even if my passport was lost, a police report would expedite the process as legal documentation of what happened.
If you don’t already have a few on hand, then off to the photo store you go to get some passport photos – which you’ll need with your application for a new passport.
Relevant Applications and Forms
You’ll need a new application form, and probably some additional forms like declarations of lost/stolen passports. Read and fulfil the requirements carefully to avoid delays; a reader recently cited having his application refused seven times when his passport was lost/stolen abroad – each time because of a minor error in the application.
With your application, you’ll likely need to submit a piece of photo ID like a driver’s license, as well as a citizenship document. You’ll need to provide originals; if you must relinquish them during the passport application process, make sure you’ve got copies on hand in the meantime.
If You’re Traveling
If you have travel plans, you can expedite the passport application process by providing proof of travel, such as a plane ticket. If they can’t expedite the full application in time, You’ll receive a temporary passport (which allows you to continue your trip until you exchange it for your replacement passport – the length of validity and specifics vary).
If that still won’t cut it, or if you simply need to return to your home country, you might be able to get an Emergency Travel Document, issued by the country you are visiting, to allow you to return home without a passport. Some airlines accept these documents and others don’t; be sure to check with the airline before you go down this road. I did this when I was in Grenada (and enroute to Panama); despite the 4,000km detour, it was quicker than applying for a new passport since there’s no Canadian embassy/consulate in Grenada and I would have had to mail documents to Barbados (with a few extra requirements that made it far from a smooth process).
Did I miss anything? Are other countries different? Have you had your passport lost or stolen? What was required to replace it?