This summer, when Mrs. and I were in Germany, we met a couple whose bag was stolen. But more than the currency and other items, they were super worried because it had their passports. The entire experience of being in a foreign land and losing your most important identification can be anxiety inducing. While they had lost most of their cash, a couple of credit cards and a camera as well, the only question they had was, “I lost my passport, what should I do?”.
Fortunately the couple had taken scans of their passport in their mobile phone with other id proofs as well. We drove them to the nearest police station to report a loss of passport and got a signed report. Next we dropped them to the Indian embassy and gave them our contact number in case of any issue. They called us the next day to thank us and told that they received their emergency passport in a couple of hours.
Quick guide for what to do if your passport is lost or stolen
- Always, and I mean always, divide your cash and credit cards at multiple places. Keep some in your wallet, some in a safe locker in your room and some in main luggage with locks.
- Keep scanned copies of your passport, visa, flight tickets and a couple of other id proofs handy in your mobile device and email as well. You can use any mobile scanning apps. I use Adobe Scan Android or iOS app to scan and store the PDF. Best part is that scans are stored on cloud, so even if you lose your device you can retrieve the scans.
- It would be helpful to carry a few passport size photographs as well.
- As soon as you notice that you have lost your passport, head to the nearest police station.
- The police officer would ask you for document proof and this is where the scanned copies will come in handy. Police officer should then provide you with a signed loss/theft report. If they can provide you with a couple of copies then great, else make some copies yourself.
- Find the contact details of nearest Consulate General of India or embassy of your country. Phone them and ask for the price and procedure for an emergency passport, since you have lost yours. Also, ask the best time to come in. Typically, earlier in the day is better and you can get the emergency passport issued the same day.
- Embassy would ask for the police report along with copies of all your documents (passport, visa, flight tickets, hotel stay etc.) and ask you a few questions. You should remain patient and answer all the questions honestly.
Most importantly, relax, don’t panic and don’t let a loss or theft ruin your travel plans. Hope you find this helpful.