Saturday, 1 December 2012

What to do if your passport is stolen abroad

Had your UK passport stolen abroad? 

Awful isn´t it?

We went through a stressful and long process to recover after we were robbed in Bolivia. We had no idea what to do and spent days and days calling, emailing and visiting people, embassies and immigration offices. A nightmare! So we decided to write down some important and valuable information for anyone who was unfortunate as us to have their ´key-to-travel´ taken from them.

All the information here was accurate for December 2012 and for the conditions set for Bolivia (where we were robbed). The prices, times and requirements may have changed since writing this.

Useful website to look over (Bolivia)

Key steps to take

  1. Report the theft to the police immediately and get an official statement (you will need this a lot!)
  2. Report the theft (or loss) to your nearest embassy or consulate and fill in the LS01 form
  3. Visit your nearest embassy or consulate and apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD)

Emergency Travel Document (ETD)
The ETD is your temporary replacement passport. It allows you to travel internationally for 9 months but is more restrictive than a regular passport. It only allowed 5 transit countries to ´final destination´, which basically means, you are only allowed to visit 5 countries before you reach your destination and then the ETD is no longer valid for further travel and you must apply for a regular passport once in that country.

You should check the requirements for all transit countries as visas may be required to entre with an ETD. As British nationals, we required a tourist visa to entre Argentina which was not a requirement with a regular passport.

When flying, also note that some countries (e.g. United Arab Emirates) do not permit entry with ETD and you will have to remain air side (i.e. remain in arrives and departures) until your next flight. Again, make sure you check the requirements for individual countries you will be visiting.

You will need
  • £95 (or equivalent in local currency)
  • A copy of the police report for the theft
  • A standard passport photo (view the requirements here 
  • A copy of your flight itinerary to your final destination
  • A copy of your old passport (if possible) or another form of ID
You will need to allow 3-4 working days to allow processing time.

Once you have your ETD, you must then go to the immigration office and get another entry stamp so you can exit the country.

You will need
·         A copy of your ETD
·         A copy of your police report
·         Proof of the date you entered the country (e.g. a bus ticket)

Applying for a visa with an ETD

Individual countries may vary, the information here was directed towards a visa for Argentina.
To obtain some visas, there may be a price. In the case for Argentina, with an ETD, it was US$50. Whichever country you need a visa for, you must go to that countries embassy and provide the following:

You will need
  • Your ETD   (they hold onto this during the processing time)
  • A copy of your ETD
  • Visa fee in dollars (or the equivalent in local currency)
  • A recent bank statement   (to prove you have at least US$100)
  • An out-going ticket  (flight itinerary or bus ticket, to prove you will not over stay your 30-day stay)
  • A reservation of accommodation in that country
  • An entry (bus/plane) ticket into that country
  • A copy of the police report for the theft
In Bolivia, there were 3 places where you could obtain a visa for Argentina: the Argentinean Embassy in La Paz or the Argentinean Consulate in either Tupiza or Villazon. The processing time depends on where you apply; we were told it could take up to a week in La Paz but only a day or two in Villazon (it actually only took a few hours!). Because we applied in Villazon (the Bolivia-Argentina border town) There was no need to show an entry ticket into ArgentinaThe visa was valid for 30-days.

Useful websites  

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