Lose Your Passport Abroad? What to Do

2018-04-28T18:02:27+00:00Categories: Tips & Tricks|


What happens if you lose your passport in another country

We all have that friend; the one that would lose their head if it weren’t screwed on tight. That friend that misplaces things and still can’t manage to learn their lesson. And sometimes that friend goes on vacation and manages to lose their wallet and travel documents while daydreaming of spending the day on the beach soaking up the rays. So what happens if you lose your passport in another country?

Since they can’t waltz into the nearest DMV and have ID replaced, there are steps a traveler needs to cover in order to have everything registered and replaced before moving on to the next location.

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Tips Before Traveling 

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – set yourself up for success and you shouldn’t have a problem. Follow these tips for before traveling preparedness and your chances of running into difficulties after a robbery are significantly lessened.

  • Always empty your wallet of non-essential items/cards before leaving. Do you really need your state/provincial health card while in Germany? No. Leave it at home.

  • Keep a few ID cards in a different place: partners wallet, hotel room safe, glove box

  • Even if distracted or overwhelmed, keep track of everything. The more you do it while calm and collected, the higher chance of it being second nature when the stress really piles on. 

  • Don’t put anything down on counters, car roofs, bathroom stalls … On your person or locked up tight.

  • Have photocopies of your passport and license number in a separate location, or even stored as a PDF onto your cloud account 

  • Make sure your traveler’s insurance covers any costs associated with replacing lost/stolen luggage and ID, as well as vacation time lost like extra nights in a hotel or buying a new flight home.

Once you have lost your wallet

  • Sometimes things just happen; whether it was lost or stolen, you need to report it to numerous agencies and have it replaced ASAP. Immediately consult your country’s consulate website. They will spell it all out if you forget these tips.

  • There is a big difference between political “to do” and reality: you can’t file a police report without ID, even if your ID is what was taken.

  • Order a Western Union transfer of funds so you have some cash until the cards arrive – do this before calling the bank. Under a certain amount, they don’t require ID to pick it up, just a verbal password that you created. If all of your cards aren’t missing, you can always move money to the card you still have. Just be sure all of this is done and collected before canceling the cards, or the transaction itself will be canceled.

  • Call your bank to have cards canceled and replaced. Many banks can expedite the replacements to your foreign hotel.

  • Go to your nearest consulate office to report the missing passport

  • They CAN cancel the passport over the phone if it is too hard to visit in person but they prefer in person to make fully sure that the documents are gone and not just misplaced under the bed or passenger seat. This greatly depends on the agent you get, some may not be aware that this is possible. It happens. Be nice. When applying for a replacement passport, you will not be using a standard passport renewal form. Your passport number has been compromised and deleted from the system in order to keep the “bad guys” from using it.  For information on how to replace a lost passport, it is important to check with your states/countries official passport website – and only their website.

  • What to do if you lose your license? Begin the online process of obtaining a replacement driving license. Some Canadian provinces have a number you can call and request a forwarding address intercept the mailing address on the card, and therefore obtaining your card before getting back home. You can request the temporary license be expedited to your hotel, or try to have one printed right there. It is not valid without a Photo ID, but this will come soon enough.

  • If you have an ID in another location, get those to you ASAP. While some agencies seriously discourage putting ID in the mail, governments mail ID all the time so what is the difference. Have the package insured and trackable. If the mailman loses it or steals it (since you need to declare the contents before insuring it), it becomes mail fraud and no ID is required for this complaint, just a tracking number.

  • Photocopies of ID will not get you a police report. They will, however, help the police flag your ID as stolen and identified at the Lost and Found office. Only official ID will be good enough for a report. Confused yet?  Photocopies can get your ID reported as stolen and prevented from being used, but they will not get you a Police Report Document for your insurance.

  • In many countries with a National ID system, it is illegal to be without ID. For example, in Portugal, you can be detained for not being able to present ID. Know your host country’s laws and take appropriate steps to keep yourself on the right side of it; Passport in your hotel, Drivers license in your wallet, Secondary Photo ID in your travel companions wallet. Work together to keep each other safe.

Lost Property in Transit

Planning to keep ID safe is all well and good until it disappears before those plans can be put into action. Lost/stolen in transit from one hotel to another can happen. 

Report it to the town that it was lost/stolen in and give a reliable phone number for them to contact you if they find it. This can be a little tricky if you aren’t staying in the town you lost it in (just passing through). Once you are at your destination and have received proper ID in order to file a report, go to the local police station for your police report and have them contact the Police station and Lost and Found centre for the town you lost it in.

If it was stolen, you will need to stay behind until the police arrive and see what you can work out in terms of filing a report.


Travel products that lessen the chance of losing your important documents

Anti-theft Backpack

This anti-theft backpack is a great day bag option. Its zippers are cleverly hidden and nearly impossible to break into without the owner realizing it. This bag also has a handy USB charger built in, making it a multi-functioning anti-theft day bag for every traveler.

Cross Body Shoulder Bag

Crossbody bags like these are also a great option for keeping your belongings safe. They are tight to your body so thieves have a harder time access your wallet and documents without you noticing. These bags also serve the added purpose of not getting in the way when registering at the hotel, using the toilet or sitting down at a restaurant; if you don’t need to remove it, there is one less opportunity for someone to nab it from you.

Fanny Pack

Call it a fanny pack, bum bag, or the newest term – waist bag – the purpose of this piece of kit hasn’t changed since the 90’s. By having your items in your “personal” area, it is less likely that someone will dare to venture there. And even if they do, you are sure to notice someone THAT close to you.

Anti-RFID wallet

If the world wasn’t scary enough, thieves have come up with a way to steal your money without ever touching you. All they need to do is get close to you, so all of this physical protection could be for not if you happen to come across one of the “smart” ones. These anti-RFID card holder will keep electronic information safe from hackers. Products range from wallets, card holders, accordion card holders and ladies clutch.

Travel Insurance

All of this sounds like a lot of work, and a lot of money, to replace lost/stolen documents. This is why is it vital that you purchase proper travel insurance. The right coverage will help cover the cost of hotel stays, any vacation cancellation fees, and document replacement fees.  While nothing can be done to recover time lost, you can help make the situation a little better by not taking any further costs out of pocket than need be.

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We all have that friend; the one that would lose their head if it weren't screwed on tight. That friend that misplaces things and still can't manage to learn their lesson. And sometimes that friend goes on vacation and manages to lose their wallet and travel documents while daydreaming of spending the day on the beach soaking up the rays. So what happens if you lose your passport in another country?

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