Your passport is your most important proof of identity and should be handled with care. The thought of losing your passport can be terrifying for many, especially as expatriates or while travelling in a foreign country.
It may seem like it’s the end of the world, but it’s really not. More often, the situation is nothing as exotic, but it can be very stressful nonetheless.
Here are 10 steps to handle the unfortunate situation :
1. Keep a backup plan ready
Well, this is something you should do before you lose the passport. In fact you should do these NOW, if you haven’t done yet :
- Keep backup photocopies of your passport.
- Scan the passport and mail the file to yourself, so that you have them handy in case of a crisis.
- Also it is a good method to have your phone number & contact details attached to the passport. You can paste / staple a small piece of paper without damaging the passport cover. In case someone finds your passport, they may call you up.
2. Make use of social media.
Tweet or post on Facebook saying that you have lost your passport. Ask your friends to share it. If you’re lucky, some one will surely come to your rescue.
- Make sure that you do not put passport details or scanned copy in the post as social media is not a safe place for such confidential data.
- Mention the date and city where you lost it.
If you are still not lucky to find it, then you have to proceed with the next steps :
3. Collect passport details
- If you have a photocopy of the passport, take that.
- If you have emailed your passport scan (as in step 1) then, take a printout of the passport scan from your email.
- If you don’t have the backup, you will be required to produce, passport details like passport number, date of issue, date of expiry and place of issue for the next steps. If you do not have that information, then contact the nearest Indian Embassy / Consulate.
4. File a police report
Head to the nearest police station and file an FIR. They will give you a copy of your statement in the form of a legal document officially stating that your passport is missing.
- Even if you don’t get back your old passport after reporting, the police report is important for Embassy formalities.
5. Get passport size photos
Before you go to Indian Embassy, you will need few of your passport size photos (51 x 51 cm). We recommend having at least 8 of them.
If you don’t have them, get them clicked from a local photo booth.
6. Go to Indian Embassy / Consulate
Go to the Indian Embassy / Consulate with the following :
- Original passport copy (from step 3) – if available
- OR Passport details (if you don’t have a print / copy)
- Police report in original (from step 4)
- Passport size photos (from step 5)
7. Travelling soon? Get Emergency certificate
If you want to travel to Indian soon, or you are on a short trip, you will then have to apply for an emergency certificate at the Indian Embassy / Consulate.
An Emergency Certificate is a one-way travel document which authorises an Indian to enter India, is issued to the citizen of India whose passports have been lost, stolen or damaged and to whom new passports cannot be issued without approval from India. This is primarily with the objective of ensuring their return to India.
To apply for emergency certificate, you need :
- Application in EAP- 2 Form
- 4-6 passport size photographs
- Original passport copy (if you have it)
- Police report in original
With this Emergency Certificate, you will be able to fly out of the country.
8. Don’t forget the Exit Visa
If you are in a foreign country you will also need an exit visa to travel out.
You will have to pay for the exit visa too at the government office of the respective country. This procedure may vary from country to country.
9. Reschedule your flight
If you are travelling, immediately call up your airline to inform that you won’t be able to board the flight since you have lost your passport.
Reschedule your flight timings according to the availability of Emergency Certificate and Exit Visa.
10. Apply for the re-issue of passport
Once you’re back from travel (or you don’t have travel plans), you will have to apply for the re-issue of the passport.
Following documents must be submitted along with the application:
- Proof of Present Address
- Proof of Date of Birth
- Affidavit stating how and where the passport got lost/damaged (Annexure ‘L’)
- Police report in original
- Self-attested photocopy of first two and last two pages, including ECR/Non-ECR page of old passport, if available.
Application forms can be found on Passport Seva website.