What to do when you lose your passport

It’s the worst possible thing that could happen. You are on holiday somewhere beautiful and far, far away. You have just returned from a night filled with adventure, good food and even better company. You head to your room only to discover that your passport no longer resides in your back pocket. Panic sets in. You begin to imagine being arrested and sent to the dingiest prison cell your mind can conceive.  Flashbacks from horror movies race across your mind as you desperately search your hotel room. Nothing. It’s gone. So, what do you do when you lose your passport?

Firstly, you need to sit down and think. Take a deep breath. Then follow our handy guide to solving the not-so-pleasant problem of losing your passport:

1.Contact the authorities

You will need to file a police report immediately, which you will need when you apply for a replacement passport. 

2. Contact the South African Embassy or Consulate

Send an email, make a call, and get yourself to the consulate as soon as you can.

3. Apply for an Emergency Travel Certificate

Emergency passports are no longer issued so you will only be able to apply for an Emergency Travel Certificate, which is valid for a maximum period of nine months but only for a single trip. This is for those who need to travel urgently and there is insufficient time to process a passport application which will take longer than a week.

4. You’ll need to create an application which includes the following:

a) A completed passport application form DHA-73.

b) Proof of your South African citizenship with either a South African identity book, driver’s license, birth certificate or old passport copy.

c) If under 18 years parental consent

d) Written motivation for the issuing of the Emergency Travel Certificate, along with any proof of the urgency of the trip.

e) A schedule of your travel arrangements.

f) Two colour photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications: 35mm x 45mm.

g) Payment of the prescribed fee (currently R140).

As different embassies and consulates may differ when it comes to issuing of emergency travel certificates, you should ask for a time frame and ensure that friends and family are aware of it. Don’t forget to check out the Samsonite Accessories Page for a range of accessories to keep your passport safe.