3 things you must do if you lose your passport while abroad

November 14, 2014

Whether you’ve been robbed or simply misplaced your passport, it's crucial to stay calm. Here are three things you must do to get a new one, if ever you lose your passport while abroad.

3 things you must do if you lose your passport while abroad

Before you leave

Before you travel, make photocopies of your passport.

  • Keep a hard copy in your suitcase and email a version to yourself and also a friend.

Also, photocopy the other documents you may need for a replacement passport. That includes:

  • Proof of citizenship.
  • Documents to support your identity such as a driver’s licence, provincial health card and military ID.

If you want to be extra cautious, bring two additional passport photos that have been notarized or signed by a guarantor. That will make the re-application process much easier if your passport goes missing.

While you're on vacation

Your passport has vanished! Even though you took all the precautions, somehow your passport has disappeared. What should you do now?

1. Avoid panicking
Frankly, you’re going to panic. It's only natural. Give yourself five minutes and then pull yourself together. You may have a flight to catch, people to meet or just really need to get home, but you can’t do any of those things without a clear head.

  • If you are positive that the passport is gone forever, you need to report it missing to local authorities. Once that’s done, it renders the lost passport invalid for travel so no one else can use it.

2. Contact the Canadian embassy or consulate
If you are in a large city, getting to a Canadian embassy or consulate should be pretty easy. In more remote areas, it’ll be more difficult.

  • If you can’t go in person, try calling. A full list of Canadian embassies and consulates can be found here: http://travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies.
  • The consulate or embassy can tell you if a police report needs to be filed, if the local authorities already haven't. If the passport was stolen, an investigation may need to happen.
  • How fast your passport can be replaced depends on where you are and how it went missing. If the situation is urgent, a new passport can usually be obtained within a few days.

3. Apply for a new passport and double-check you've done everything right
In order to get a new passport, you will need to:

  • Complete an “Adult Abroad” passport application that can be downloaded through the official Government of Canada (http://www.canada.ca/en/index.html) website.
  • Obtain two identical passport photos, one of which is signed by the guarantor.
  • Show an accepted proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or proof of naturalization.
  • Provide a document to support your identity that has your photo on it, like a driver’s licence.
  • Pay the required fee.
  • Make a complete declaration concerning a lost, stolen, inaccessible, damaged or found Canadian travel document.

After you've applied for a new passport

Now that you’ve done everything you can to get a new passport, try to make the best of your trip knowing you'll soon be on your way home.

  • Remember to get in touch with anyone who might be expecting to pick you up at the airport to let them know you might be delayed, especially if you have to push back your departure date until you receive your new passport.
  • Similarly, if you think you could be late getting back to the office, an email clearly explaining the situation will usually suffice.
  • The same applies for any other arrangements you may have made for the duration of your absence, such as the friendly neighbour who offered to pick up any sales flyers from your mailbox.
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