Yeah. I know what exactly you are thinking.
Say what!! What kind of person can lose a passport twice? Is it for real?
Well yes, it is. It is very real, I assure you. That’s why if you ever join the club for lost Indian passports, you would surely find my name in the membership guide.
I lost my passport twice in the time span of a year, once in Colombia and once in Italy. Got an India Emergency Passport the second time and a new passport the first time.
Table of Contents
What If I Lost my Passport in a Foreign Country?
While it might sound like the worst thing that can happen to you, the passport after all is a document. Albeit a very important document since you are not in your own country.
Depending on where you are, there are several things that can happen.
1. Get on Facebook. You might Get Your Passport back.
Yeah, just because I didn’t get back mine doesn’t mean that you won’t.
There is a big chance that if someone wants to give it back would try to find you on social media. Facebook most probably.
So make sure your name on Facebook is the same on her passport. So when people type in her name there it’s easy to find you.
Accept all friend requests temporarily and check those message requests that don’t show up in your regular messages.
2. Apply for a New Passport
Ok, you didn’t get the passport. So you would need to apply for a new one.
Don’t assume that there would be an embassy of your country everywhere. There is no Indian embassy in Ecuador for example. So had I lost mine in Ecuador, I would have had to rely on courier services, and things would surely be much slower.
We will talk about the application process in a bit.
3. What about Getting an Indian Emergency Passport?
Well, you don’t really need an emergency passport if you have enough time to get a new passport. But if you can’t get a new one for some reason, the Indian emergency certificate is the way to go.
Traveling on Emergency Certificate to India is not all that complicated.India emergency certificate = Indian emergency passport.
I got that as well. The second time.
4. Get a Duplicate Entry Stamp & Transfer the Visa
You might or might not get an entry stamp depending on where you are. You might not even need to transfer the visa to your new passport, especially if it is an electronic visa like a Colombia visitor’s visa.
You would need some kind of proof for this.
This proof could be
- An arrival card
- Entry stamp
- Flight/bus/train ticket
If you don’t have any of these or you can’t prove it, you might have to pay the overstaying penalty during check-in at the airport. In case you do not have any document tell them the date that you entered if you remember.
For example, if you lose your passport while traveling in Peru, you’ll need to get a duplicate entry stamp in your new passport. This can also be done at the immigration control office in Breña, at a cost of S/ 8.75 (about $3).
Lost India Passport in Colombia: The First Time
I was traveling in a bus at night in the famous coffee district of Colombia and I lost the purse containing the passport. I noticed it only the next morning. Maybe I left it somewhere. Maybe someone took off with it.
I think this is where I mention that my flight from Colombia to India was barely 3 weeks away when I lost it. And the passport contained my Colombian visa, and entry stamp, to say the obvious.
So what exactly did I do? What should anyone do when this happens?
1. File a Police ReportWhen you lose your passport before you read anything else I would like to say don’t panic. There is nothing that can’t be taken care of.
If you have lost your passport in a foreign land, like I lost mine in Colombia, the first thing to do is to file an FIR with the nearest police station.
Do it the moment you realize you have lost your passport. Even if you think you lost it 5 days back or at a different location, it’s not important. Just get the police report done.
After you have this, your best friend will be the Indian Embassy. Open the website of the Indian Embassy. Most of the information I am going to give you is already available on the website, but here we go…
Go to the Embassy and tell them about your problem. If it is not possible for you to travel to the embassy, call them!!
In fact, there is a lot they can do to help your situation so no matter what problem you have try to have a detailed discussion with someone in the embassy.
In my case, I called the Indian embassy in Bogota since I was quite far away. But maybe you lost Indian passport in USA. Or maybe you lost Indian passport in UK. Or in Australia.
File the police report and reach out to the embassy.
2. Documents Required for Lost Indian Passport
I contacted my embassy and they asked me to send all my documents by post. These documents for lost passport were:
1. Mark sheet
A copy of your high school mark sheet to establish your age. Yes, I know there are other documents to do that, but that’s what they asked me.
Along with this, you might have to provide a copy of your PAN card or Voter Identity card or driver’s license or any other certificate that can validate the applicant’s birth date.
2. Old Passport Copy
A copy of your old passport with all the information. And a copy of the page that has your entry stamp to Colombia or the country where you lost your Indian passport. If you have this on you your life would be way easy.
If you do not have this it makes it difficult for the embassy to prove that you have not overstayed and makes the whole procedure much more complicated.
At this point, I am hoping you have these soft copies on you. If you don’t have this, don’t panic and talk to your Embassy. It is an honest mistake after all!! Talk to the embassy in case you don’t have any of the other documents as well.
3. Passport Application Form
Next, you need the completed, printed, and signed Passport Application
form: http://www.passport.gov.in/nri/ or http://www.passport.gov.in/nri/Online.do This is also available on the Indian Embassy Website.
Also, make sure the address you put in this form is the same as the one on your identity cards.
4. Proof of Legal Stay
A proof of work permit/stay permit/visa/copy of identity card showing legal status of the applicant in the country of residence.
In my case, it was my Colombian cedula.
5. Indian Address Proof
Recent proof of residency in India(your Aadhar card to be specific).
If you for some reason do not have the Aadhar card, you might be able to give any other document which has your address most preferably your driving license but really it helps them a lot if you have a soft copy of your Aadhar card.
6. A Detailed Letter
A letter containing detailed reasons why you are applying for a new passport including contact information (email, home address, mobile number). Write that you have lost your passport, what you have been doing in the country, and when you entered!!
7. Passport Photo Size for Indian Passport
Three (3) photographs 5cm x 5cm (make sure these photos fulfill the passport requirements)
8. Lost Passport Police Report
A copy of the police report for the lost Indian passport.
9. Proof of Legal Residency
Proof of your residency in the country where you lost the passport. This can vary a little depending on where you are. For Colombia, a copy of any public service bill would do it.
If you do not have this proof, talk to the embassy and they will excuse this.
The guys at the embassy took all this information and processed a new passport for me. All passports are processed in New Delhi and sent to the Embassy by post.
Enquire with the embassy about how much time the process would take and let them know if there is an emergency! Once this is done you have to go to the Embassy to collect your passport.
3. Entering India on New Passport
This new passport would not have your entry stamp to the country where you lost it. So ask your Embassy for a letter attesting that you have not overstayed in the country and were legal if there is no way to get a new entry stamp.
This is to deal with the airport and immigration authorities. On top of that, I also had a copy of my entry to Colombia to prove that I have not overstayed.
Now, in case you don’t have the money or the time to process a new passport. In case you are flying back to India too soon, you can request your Embassy for an emergency travel document to India.
I will be telling you all about it in a bit.
Your embassy can arrange for you to fly back to India without a passport in case of emergencies. So do not panic if it is not possible for you to process another passport.
Lost Indian Passport in Italy: The Second Time
Talk about bad luck, huh!
The worst part was that when I lost the passport in Italy, I also lost everything else including all the money I had on me.
So this is what happened.
I went to the bus counter in Trento, Italy, and ordered a ticket to Guistino, a sleepy village on the mountain that surrounded Trento. When I reached for my purse I realized it wasn’t there anymore.
Within a matter of seconds, my heroic adventure had become a horrible mistake with voices in my head coaxing me in how I could lose my purse. It had all my money, my phone charger, and my passport. Thankfully my phone was in my pocket.
I had taken a bus from Venice to Trento, from where I wanted to catch the bus to Guistino, but now I didn’t have the money to buy a bus ticket. I didn’t have a place to stay and I needed to get back my passport somehow so I could return to India.
I walked around to find a tourist office. I told them about my situation and asked for help. We tried to contact the bus company (Flixbus) but it was all in vain. Flixbus has the cheapest fares across Europe but their customer service is bad to the point of exasperation.
Step 1 : Filing an FIR
I realized that my passport was lost beyond recovery.
To complicate matters I had lost all my money and charger and not too many people speak English in a small town in Italy. I knew that the first thing I had to do if I lost my passport or any important document is to file an FIR.
Also, there was the senior administrator in the tourist office who spoke English. She told me I could dump my rucksack at the office and offered to give me a ride to the Carabinieri office. This was sort of a police officer.
It had a few officers and the lady with me spoke to the police officer on my behalf.
The guy was unwilling to file an FIR. He said that it was no use for me since it would be in Italian and not in English. I was able to convince him at that point by telling him that an FIR was the basic requirement that I needed for anything if I had lost my passport.
The Visa Project tips:
It is mandatory to record the passport number on the police report. Police reports filed outside Italy will not be accepted for the issue of the India Emergency Certificate.
I ended up needing it more than I thought I would. It’s also important that you aim to get the FIR the same day you lose the passport. For some reason, it makes a stronger case for you.
Step 2 : Making a Phone Call to Embassy
I borrowed a charger from a junior police officer and sat there for some time to charge my phone. In the meanwhile, I talked to the people at the Carabinieri.
I requested to make a phone call as I needed to contact my embassy and that I had lost all my important possessions.
The office informed me that the office phone was only for internal purposes and that I couldn’t call my embassy from it. I was not able to use someone’s cell phone either.
So I decided to walk towards the tourist office to find my rucksack. I wanted to reach here before it shut down.
Most of the local people did not speak any English. I was trying to think of ways to contact the Indian Embassy. It’s important to stay calm in such a situation as the calmer you are the better you can act.
After I had my rucksack I found a bench and looked around. After a while, I saw some police officers walking around. I approached them and explained my situation. I requested them to let me use their phone.
The officers gladly took me to their office and a female officer called my embassy for me. On the website of the Indian Embassy, there is an emergency contact which you can dial 24/7.
The officials in the Indian embassy requested me to reach Milan. They wanted to help me but said they were powerless unless I could get to the Embassy of India in Milan or the consulate in Rome.
This was a problem as Milan is a few hours from Trento and I did not have any money to buy a bus ticket. The police officers told me, that they were closing the office and that I needed to leave.
Step 3 : Getting to Indian Embassy
I decided to go to the main police station which would be open for a longer time. My other alternative was to hitch a ride to Milan from the nearest petrol pump. That’s where you can find people set out for a long ride.
I had exchanged my WhatsApp contact with some people at the Indian Embassy and they made my case a priority.
The Embassy of India in Italy contacted me after a while and told me about a Punjabi family that lived nearby. They had arranged with someone there to pick me up.
I waited a few hours after which Aman picked me up.
Aman took me to his home and I had a lovely time with his family. They invited me for dinner, my first bite of food that day.
The next morning a family who was driving through Trento to Milan picked me up and dropped me at the Indian Embassy. This was also arranged by the Indian Embassy.
How to Get India Emergency Certificate?
The Indian emergency certificate passport is a document that can be used only once. Once I got to the Indian embassy, everything was almost sorted. The officials at the embassy processed an emergency certificate for me with which I flew out to India.
And note that an India Emergency Passport is not the same as Indian Emergency Visa. An emergency visa is needed for a foreigner who wants to enter India due to an emergency.
You can check the requirements here on the Indian consulate’s website.The emergency certificate of India is valid for about a month.
India Emergency Passport Fees
Indian emergency passport costs around 20 Euros but since I didn’t have any money they asked me to write a letter requesting to waive the fee.
Once you exit the country back to your home country with an emergency certificate they might ask you about your passport at the airport. You don’t get an exit stamp on this.
India Emergency Certificate Processing Time
The emergency certificate was processed for me in the time of 1-2 days roughly. It might vary a bit depending on where you are and if there are any holidays and all, but I doubt it would take too long.
Getting Some Cash
I used the phone at the embassy to contact my banks. I had two travel cards. One from HDFC Bank and one other from SBI Bank. They can send you emergency cash through a western union if such a thing happens.
You just have to answer the security questions that you put. Only most of the phone numbers on the internet as well as the ones on your card don’t work!
I tried the customer care number of visa and MasterCard services for all the countries and finally could reach a customer care agent in the USA. She was able to take down my card details and send me the emergency cash.
They can also take care of accommodation for you if you would need it. Also, the Indian Embassy reserves emergency money for such cases.
If you are taking a bus to a different country in the European Union (other than your home country) the concerned person might request to see your FIR from the carabinieri. I took a bus from Milan to Budapest and had to show my FIR.
Using Indian Emergency Certificate in Immigration
Traveling on an Emergency Certificate to India is not very different from traveling with an Indian passport.
You might meet flight attendants, ground staff, or other officers along this process who are not very aware of the same and might refuse to accept the EC as a valid ID.
Just show them the validity or ask to speak with a superior officer! And be confident, the EC is valid till the date mentioned on it!
After I entered India I reported that I had lost my passport and had an emergency certificate. This meant that I had to meet a different immigration officer. Some authorities escorted mentioned an office where the immigration officer checked my documents and FIR.
This is a check to make sure that the information provided by you is authentic. After they checked my documents they stamped my entry on the emergency certificate.
Now if someone asks me, hey, have you returned to India on emergency certificate, I would say: hell, yeah!!
Apply for a New Passport
Once you make it to India, just make sure you apply for a fresh passport ASAP.
The EC has a short life. Once you have applied for the new passport, the official at the Passport Seva Kendra will cancel your EC.
So, this is how it went. If anything so bad happens to you in a different country just remember that the Indian Embassy is your best friend.