Yikes! Your tummy’s all a twirl. This is it! The end of the world!. But deep breath – there is no need to panic. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be up and travelling again in a jiffy
1. Check, check and check again
Sounds silly, because of course you’ve checked. Take a deep breath and check again. It’s amazing how often you’ll find that pesky blue document slipped into a different part of your bag or sitting somewhere in plain sight, under the bed.
2. Report it lost or stolen
It all depends where you are. If you’re in Australia you can report the incident online or call the Australian Information Service on 131 232. It helps if you have a copy or scan of your passport showing the number, place of issue and key details.
Outside Australia? You can also report the issue online or visit your nearest Australian embassy or consulate to report the loss.
You’re out in the boon docks. Never fear. Give the closest embassy a call. All have after hour duty officers who can help Australian citizens in an emergency abroad.
3. File a police report
As the saying goes do not pass go – or at least file the report within 24 hours. And keep a copy of the police report (and any reference numbers) for your insurance and/or new passport application form.
4. Apply for an emergency passport
If you need to travel soon then you can be issued with an emergency passport. It will be valid for 12 months and while its use may be restricted in some countries generally it will get you home or to your next destination where a full passport can be delivered. An emergency passport currently costs $A178.00.
5. Bring alone other necessary materials
When you go to the embassy bring along at least one passport photo (Tip: always travel with extra passport photos, it saves having to scout around for a photo booth in a strange place). Also bring some other identification like a driver’s licence, as well as the Police Report and your travel itinerary. And if you can, make an appointment beforehand. It saves waiting around for hours and losing valuable sightseeing time.
6. Get a new regular passport
Once you’re back home apply for a new passport in readiness of your next adventure.
So, the message is: be prepared. Have your passport details separate form your passport so you will always be able to access them and take back up documents to prove who you are. Always keep some backup cash for a replacement and know where your nearest consulate or embassy is. Its Murphy’s law – being prepared ensures it won’t happen!
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