LOSING a passport is one of the most stressful things that could happen to a traveler, especially when abroad. In fact, it is also one of my biggest fears (gasp!) — I can imagine the headache and the hassle you have to go through, as well as the change of plans and expenses you will incur. Losing a passport is not very fun.
Even if you haven’t lost your passport, some preparedness and knowledge will come in handy in case the event arises (we hope it won’t!). This will help diminish stress levels. Read on if you want to know what to do in the case that you, or a loved one, lose a Philippine passport.
First, how NOT to lose your passport
First of all, let’s talk about deterrents — how NOT to lose your passport.
Your passport should be the first and last thing you check when leaving or arriving at all times.
Most hotels have safe boxes — use them. Leave your valuables and passport when not needed. You’re less likely to lose your passport if you kept it safely locked in your hotel room than bring it with you everywhere. I don’t carry my passport unless I have reason to.
Granted, there are countries that do require mandatory identification checks. If you do choose to carry it around when touring, just make sure you’re wary of your valuables and keep your handbag close to you at all times.
Also, carrying a passport when clubbing is a bad idea.
Finally, always bring a photocopy of your passport when traveling. Leave a copy to trusted family and friends too, or even keep a digital version of your passport so you can easily print it when the need arises.
Losing your Philippine Passport at home
If you already lost all hope and resign to the fact that you have indeed lost your passport, you need to file an Affidavit of Loss and a Police Report. Get the Affidavit of Loss from a lawyer, where you will have to state all the details on how you lost your passport: when, where, how, etc. This document must be notarized.
For the Police Report, go to the nearest police station that covers the area where you lost your passport. Even if you lost your passport by sheer carelessness and not through criminal activity like theft or arson (hey, it can happen), you still need to file a police report.
Apart from these two requisites, you need the usual documents to passport application: your NSO birth certificate, valid government-issued ID, etc.
Just go through the same process of applying for or renewing a passport, just pay an additional Lost Passport fee of P200.
Losing your passport abroad
If you lose your passport while traveling abroad, it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck there forever. However, you need to act fast. The first thing you need to do is to file a Police Report. You’ll also need the police report for travel insurance claims and declaration of lost passport. Immediate action will also prevent anyone from using your passport illegally.
The next step is to locate and contact the nearest embassy or consulate. You need to make a personal appearance, so book an appointment (as walk-ins are generally not allowed). The Philippine embassy or consulate or normally available for appointment on weekday mornings, so let’s hope you didn’t lose your passport over the weekend!
Bring your police report, passport photos, itinerary, flight details and proof of citizenship. You will need to pay some fees in cash and should be able to get your temporary passport within 24 hours. The embassy or consulate can either give you a replacement passport that will allow you to finish your trip or an emergency travel document that will get you back home ASAP.