A trip abroad sounds fancy, but before you decide to visit a country abroad, there are a few things you must keep in mind. Getting a travel visa sounds like the most challenging part of the plan, but things can get grey if you get to the country and lose the most important part of documents, your Passport!
Losing a passport can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience. It isn't simply a loss of just another personal document. Passport theft is considered a significant case of identity theft. A stolen passport is often manipulated with someone else's photograph and used for illegal cross-border activities. All the offenses will be recorded under the name of the original owner of the Passport.
This can be difficult if you lost your Passport while traveling in another country where you are unknown with the legal procedures and held back in the country. The documents required for a lost Indian passport are extensive, and getting these together in an unfamiliar land can be troublesome.
If you find out that you have lost your Passport and have tried looking for it in all possible places, take action before there is enough time for your Passport to be misused.
Follow these steps if your Passport is lost or stolen abroad.
Step 1- Keep All documents ready
THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR A LOST INDIAN PASSPORT ARE AS FOLLOWS -
Filled application (or the receipt if you filled it online)
Birth certificate or any other proof of birth
An affidavit about the details of how and where you lost it.
Original FIR report
Xerox copy of the first and last two pages of your old Passport (If possible)
Step 2 - File a Fir Immediately to the nearest Police station
You must register an official police complaint as soon as possible. Then, again, mention the details of where and when you lost it. When you lose your Passport while traveling abroad, the embassy usually carries out the recovery process, and the official police complaint is an essential document for the proceedings.
Without waiting for someone to return your Passport or looking for more places, file an FIR with immediate effect. Visit your nearest police station with a photocopy of your Passport (or a photograph on your mobile phone) and one valid identity proof.
If you think that a particular person steals your Passport, file an FIR against them. If you do not know who stole it, file an FIR against the unidentified title. If it is not stolen, but you think you misplaced it, register a complaint along with the details of the place where you feel you lost it.
If you do not have a copy of your FIR, visit the passport office and request a copy of your Passport. You will be required to submit identity proofs like birth certificate, Aadhar card, address proof, etc.
Filing an FIR is crucial to avoid any legal complications if your Passport is misused.
Step 3 - Reschedule your journey
The process of filing an FIR with the police and reporting to the embassy can be time-consuming. To avoid the further hassle, you can check with the authority about the expected time for completion of the entire process and reschedule your flight accordingly.
Step 3 - Get help from the nearest Indian Embassy
Once you have registered your FIR, head straight to the nearest Indian Embassy with a copy of your FIR and a copy of your lost passport (if available).
Step 4 - Apply for Passport replacement
Once the FIR is filed, apply for another passport online. Visit the official passport Seva web page, register, and fill in the application form for a new passport. Once the application form is filled, verify the Information and submit it. Usually, if all the conditions are fulfilled, a new passport is issued within 30 working days. Although, if you happen to be in a hurry and need a new passport immediately, you can apply for a tatkal passport, where your Passport will generally be much faster, within 14 working days. It usually only takes 1-3 days to issue a new passport through the tatkal application; however, the charges are higher this way.
It is recommended that you make an appointment in advance and inform them about your case beforehand. Ensure that you have all your identity proofs like Nationality proof and address proof; if you do not have any of these (or if they were lost along with the Passport), call anyone back in India and request them to send you a scanned copy of these documents.
Step 5 - Apply for Emergency Certificate
If the passport application is taking unexpectedly longer, you can apply for an Emergency Certificate from the Indian Embassy and fly back to India. The application for a new passport can be made from India.
Step 6 - Apply for reissue of visa
Along with your passport application, make sure you reapply for the visa too. You can visit the Indian Embassy with a copy of your FIR and the lost visa and the embassy will reissue the visa for you.
Step 7 - File Travel Insurance Claim
Various countries have mandated taking travel insurance before visiting the country. It is for instances like these where travel insurance can come to your rescue. The expense incurred while retrieving a lost passport can be claimed by insurance. Make sure you keep a record of all the payments made to the embassy, get a copy of the travel certificate, and a copy of your old passport or a government-issued id.
Precaution to take to keep your Passport safe
Apply for travel insurance
Store Important details (Document Number, Important Contact number) on Cloud or email.
Have a few extra physical copies of your documents.
Documents required for a lost Indian Passport -
- Xerox copy of the front and back pages of the lost Passport
- Photocopy of the police report mentions if the Passport was stolen or lost.
- Passport size photos (4 to 6)
- Photocopy of the air tickets that you traveled in and your visa
- A written application clarifies your status as a visitor in the country, and you need to return.
What is the first thing to do if my Passport is lost in a foreign country?
You are advised to gather whatever documents you can and file an FIR in the nearest police station and report to the Indian Embassy.
What happens to a visa if the Passport is lost Abroad?
You can visit the Indian Embassy with a copy of your FIR and the lost visa and the embassy will reissue the visa for you.
Can I know my passport number online?
Unfortunately, you cannot find your passport number online. It is always advised to have a digital copy or physical copy of your passport handy.
Can I still travel if I have lost my Passport? / Can I go back to India without a passport?
No, you cannot travel or leave the country until you receive an Emergency Certificate or a news passport. You should consider rescheduling your flight after checking with the issuing authority.
This whole experience can be even more daunting if the Passport is lost while traveling abroad. Like we mentioned earlier, the legal procedures change with every country, and it can take up quite some time if you do not know exactly how to go about it.
Having said that, if you lose your Passport in another country other than India, you do not have to wait till the new Passport is reissued in order to come back to India. Once you contact the embassy and they process your complaint and verify your documents, you will be issued an emergency certificate that can be used as a one-time passport for the trip back.
According to the procedure mentioned, once you get back to India, apply for your Passport's reissue. Make sure to keep a record of all the copies and receipts generated during this process, including your tickets.
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Author: Gouri Menon