What to do when your passport is lost or stolen
When you’re overseas, your passport is one of the most valuable items in your possession. You simply can’t travel without it, so having it lost or stolen is a big deal. This guide looks at what you’ll need to do if you lose your passport and how you can make the experience less painful.
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What do I do if I’ve lost my passport?
Whether you’re at home or abroad, you need to report the loss or theft of your passport immediately to the relevant authorities. Your passport can be used to fraudulently obtain other forms of documentation such as credit cards, and you don’t want that.
- Lost your passport in Australia? If you lose your passport in Australia, you can report the loss online at www.passports.gov.au/ or by calling the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232.
- Lost your passport overseas? If you lose your passport overseas, you can also report it online or visit the nearest Australian embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting.
In both cases, your passport will be cancelled and you will need to apply for a replacement. If you need to travel in a hurry, you can be issued with an emergency passport. This will get you home or to your next destination. If it’s not urgent, a passport will be produced in Australia and couriered to the embassy you’re dealing with. To obtain a new passport, you’ll be required to:
- Fill out a new passport application form
- Provide details of the lost or stolen passport
- Attend an interview
- Provide proof of your identity and citizenship
- Provide two appropriate passport photographs
- Pay an application fee and other associated fees
If you find your passport after reporting it lost or stolen, you will still need to apply for a replacement, as your old passport will have been cancelled and can no longer be used.
What if I had a visa in my passport?
If you were unlucky enough to have had a foreign visa in your passport when it was lost or stolen, the Australian Government cannot help you with a replacement. You will need to contact the nearest embassy or consulate for the country that issued the visa to enquire about replacement procedures.
Was the passport lost or stolen?
The steps you’ll need to take to get a new passport vary depending on whether your passport was lost or stolen.. In both cases, you’ll need to apply for a replacement, as described above. However, if your passport was stolen, you will also need to obtain a police report within 24 hours of discovering the theft. The police report must be in English. This is a mandatory requirement if you wish to claim on your travel insurance. If you are in a non-English-speaking country when the theft occurs, you may need to find an interpreter to explain your situation to police.
My bags and wallet were stolen along with my passport. What do I do?
If your bags and wallet were stolen along with your passport, then chances are you will have no identification and no access to money. This can be a stressful situation, which is why it’s a good idea to carry some form of ID and cash separately from your wallet or purse.
For immediate assistance, you could have friends or relatives back home send you money through Western Union and mail copies of your identification to you for your passport application. If you have travel insurance, you should be able to receive compensation for passport application fees, emergency accommodation, altered travel plans, and lost or stolen luggage and personal items.
What should I do if my wallet was stolen?
Western Union is a fast, secure way to get cash when you need it anywhere in the world. Funds can be transferred by phone or Internet to 345,000 offices in over 200 countries. If this option is not available for any reason, you could also have your family send you money via an Australian consular money transfer system. You will also need to cancel your ID and bank cards. This must be done as soon as possible to ensure zero liability on your part, so you will need to make a few quick phone calls.
You should also get your bank to put a freeze on your accounts. Contact your credit card provider and have your credit card cancelled. Contact the appropriate government department to cancel your driver’s licence. The same goes for anything else of a sensitive nature that you had in your wallet. The faster you act, the less time there is for fraud and identity theft to occur.
Pisa Passport ThiefA Sydney woman had the strap of her bag cut by thieves while holidaying in Pisa, resulting in the theft of her passport, money and credit cards. Luckily, she had travel insurance and the foresight to know that immediate action was required. She notified the local police and obtained a police report, applied for an emergency passport at the Australian embassy in Rome and contacted her insurer and her credit card provider. A new credit card was forwarded to the next destination on her itinerary, and she claimed and received compensation for her losses from her insurer, including her passport application fees.
How much does a new passport cost?
Applying for a replacement passport can be costly, which is why it’s important to have travel insurance that covers such fees:
- An emergency passport attracts a priority processing fee of $111.
- The application fee for a full validity passport is $250.
- An additional surcharge of $100 applies if your application is lodged overseas.
- A lost passport fee of $111 is also payable.
Before you leave, make sure you ...
To reduce the stress and expense of losing your passport overseas, there are several important steps you can take before you leave on your holiday:
- Make a note of your passport number and email it to yourself.
- Email yourself important contact numbers such as the Australian embassies in the countries you are travelling through and your travel insurance details
- Pack two recent passport photos in case you need them.
- Pack extra ID and credit cards, but make sure they are stored separately from your other funds.
- Ensure a friend or relative has access to your birth or citizenship certificate if you need it (rather than taking it with you, which is not recommended).
- Take a photo of your passport and store it on a secure app on your mobile phone or email yourself a copy.
- Install the Smartraveller app on your phone, which lets you register your trip details in case of emergencies.
- Consider taking a reloadable Travel Money Card instead of a credit card.
Embassies around the world
Don’t let a lost passport spoil your holiday
Having your passport lost or stolen is stressful enough, but losing it along with your ID and money can be an absolute nightmare. Hopefully, the tips supplied in this guide will help you to streamline the recovery process if the unthinkable ever happens to you.
Picture: Diana Parkhouse, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)