Imagine you plan a nice two week trip to Cover Best of Europe and you lose your passports on 3rd day of your trip in Europe. Quite scary right. Suruchi and her husband were in same situation. Thanks to her for sharing their experience with us, so that we all know how to handle such situations.
Background – Our Situation in Europe – Italy : We landed in Italy and spent 3 days around Florence and were about to take train to Austria. On our way, we were grabbing a bite in McDonald, had two travel bags and two small backpacks, which had all our valuables. My husband’s backpack had passport and all our rail tickets. We lost our backpack in McDonald in Florence. Beware of thieves, we had it next to us and were looking, in fraction of second when we looked away to grab something on next table, it got robbed. We looked at CCTV, etc. but no luck finding. We had our train to Austria in 10 min and we had to take a decision on if we should go or not. We took decision not to take the train. The only good thing was that, I still had my back pack and we had the credit cards and cash.
What to do when you lose your Indian Passport in Europe ? File FIR at Police Station
The first thing we did was asked around and got directions to go to the nearest police station in that locality. You need to explain the situation on what happened, write a letter describing the situation and write a complaint letter to the police officer. You will be asked to fill few forms with all your details. Luckily, we had soft copies of the documents on phone, so we managed to put in all the old numbers of passport and details of the same in the complaint. Once you do the process at police station, you will be given an FIR letter copy, which will act as your proof, if someone asks you during the trip. It is very important to have this FIR document safe as it is your only legal document that tells your status and your situation.
Travel in Europe with FIR Copy, Emergency Certificate (Passport) to return to India
We called the Indian Embassy in Switzerland and shared our situation and asked them to advise on our trip and if we can continue. They suggested that we can continue to the trip and need not cancel. They suggested to show the FIR letter copy given by the Police, when anyone asks and it will be valid across all of Europe. Now that we know that it was going to be taken care, we used the FIR copy given in Italy at the borders of few countries, when they asked for the same. Usually, you would not be asked most of the places, but at the borders of the countries, when you move around in Europe, sometimes, you get asked. Anyway, we were able to do our trip comfortably with the FIR copy and when we were in Switzerland, which was our last country, we went to Indian embassy and submitted the application form, FIR copy and passport photos and paid a little fee and got our Emergency Certificate / Passport on the same day. It basically looks like same passport, but it is in White Color ( see top image on the post) and has Diplomatic privileges. Below is the checklist of the documents you would need to submit to the embassy.
Document Checklist for Emergency Passport / Certificate for Indian Nationals.
- Fill out Application form that the Indian embassy provides
- Attach 4 Passport size photos.
- Lost Passport Copy.( It is important to have a scan copy in your email for situations like this)
- Copy of the Schengen Visa ( optional)
- Affidavit regarding the lost passport to be signed in front of the consular officer.
- Copy of the FIR Report from the police station.
- Written explanation letter written by the applicant explaining your situation.
- Copy of confirmed ticket to go to India.
- Application fee ( 36 CHF Swiss Franc )
That’s about it folks, you use the new emergency certificate/passport and FIR letter copy at the exit immigration process from Europe to India. Once you arrive in India, you apply for a new passport, stating the reason of lost passport by creating application online. It is same process as standard Renewal of Indian Passport. You show all the documents like FIR Copy, your Emergency passport copy and past passport copy at the passport office and you get your passport like normal in 10 days or less.
While, we all try to be careful and do everything right, at times, mistakes happen and we end up in difficult situations. We were in panic mode for couple of days, but after that once we knew we were going to be fine, it was ok, we took it easy and enjoyed rest of our trip. Hope it gives you some insights on what to do in such scenarios. Always have an electronic copy of your documents, tickets, and also as backup have cash/cards in different bags.
Did you lose your passport in India or outside of India ? What did you do ? Any insights to share ?