A passport or a valid ID card is a really valuable item if you are an expat living abroad. Of course, nobody even likes to think about the possibility of losing such things, but what if it happens? Here you can find a to-do list when necessary to face such an unfortunate event.
If something happens to your passport, get ready to face a lot of bureaucracy
First of all, there’s a distinction to be made if your passport or other identification documents are lost or have been stolen.
In the first case, your fundamental step is to go straight to the foreign police station and report your loss. If instead your passport/ID document has been stolen, given that a crime has been committed, you have first to report it in a police station and fill out a standard crime report which they will stamp in return. Finally, you can go to the foreign police station and report to them as well. Be aware that interpreters are not readily available at all police stations in the Czech Republic, you could be confronted by a linguistic barrier. A good rule of thumb is to seek help in the police stations located in the city center, given that those usually are more prepared to deal with tourists and have more officers able to speak English. If you still have problems, always remember that we can help you, ask for our assistance service.
There are many police stations in each major town of the Czech Republic, a quick search can give you the address of a near one. It’s different when it comes to the foreign police station, both Prague and Brno have only one, these are the addresses:
- Prague: Olšanská 2, Prague 3; phone number 974 820 317;
- Brno: Kounicova 24, Brno-centre; phone number 974 621 829.
Once you have the report from the foreign police that must be translated (by a certified translator) to your own language. You can go to the consular department of your embassy and ask for a new passport, delivering the translated report. At this point, the procedure of getting the new passport or ID document depends on your nationality. Given that the police report is mandatory (or at least strongly recommended by any country legislation), after that first step, you will face two scenarios which differ for an EU citizen and a non-EU one.
If you fit in the first case (EU citizen), according to the Schengen agreement, there is no need for you to have a passport in order to travel and stay in a European country. The only document you need is an ID card. Keep in mind that driving licence, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as a valid travel document. If your document has been stolen just before your return trip, you can request the Emergency Travel Document, which can be released immediately and is valid only to get you on the plane (or any mean of transport you will use).
If you want to apply for the Emergency Travel Document correctly, take the following documents with you to the embassy or consulate:
- a completed passport application form;
- if possible: other identity documents or photocopies of them;
- if possible: a photocopy of the passport or identity card that was lost or stolen;
- 2 photos (1 required and 1 spare) that meet the requirements for passport photos;
- a police report stating that your passport or identity card was lost stolen;
- proof that you cannot delay your journey or proof that you are a tourist;
- tickets for your onward journey if you’re travelling by plane, train or boat.
The list above can be used as a guideline, but each embassy could have its own particular procedure: remember to always do a web search to be extra sure about it.
Facing the second scenario: what to do if you are a non-EU citizen? In this case, there’s no other choice for you but to apply for a new passport. What are the steps for that?
After filing a report in the foreign police, search for your nearest national embassy and ask an appointment, then you will need to fill the proper request document (you can find it online if available, otherwise you will fill one straight in the embassy), bring with you any other valid ID document (like your previous passport) or any document that help to validate your identity (social security number, health insurance card) in your possession (or a copy of it), and finally, two identical photos of yourself, that have to meet certain requirements like:
- uniform lighting and background;
- neutral expression;
- no glasses or other item covering the face;
You will then have to pay the required fees and present yourself at your appointment with the embassy with all those documents. After that, the application is officially lodged and sent back to the competent offices in your home country. They will check all the information you provided and, if everything is in order, authorize the release of a new passport, that you will be able to get in the embassy. The whole process can require up to 3 weeks. Keep in mind that you need an appointment because the officer that file the application must witness you signing the request.
The process to get an ID card is very similar, the only difference is that the embassy works independently: the proofs are checked right away and, if everything is considered valid, the document is released right away. Also, you don’t need to arrange an appointment.
Like we said, every country has its own process to follow and we suggest you search the internet for the most appropriate information. Anyway, to help you get a general idea, here below you can find links that contain the instructions to get a new passport for people who live in India, Australia or the U.S., plus a link that tell you some basic facts about the Schengen area and documents needed if you are a citizen of the EU.
One last thing to mention is if you lose your residence card, or if it gets stolen from you: a resident card is a document released to every foreigner who has a long-term residence permit to stay in the Czech Republic. If a resident card is lost or stolen you must announce it, within 3 days of this event occurring, to the MOI (Ministry of Interior) office based on your residence address.
If you’re being prevented from reporting to the MOI within the legally required period due to reasons outside your control, you must report these reasons within 3 working days and prove them. If this task is failed, the delay in reporting the change will be judged as a violation and a fine can be imposed.
When applying for a new residence card, you have to provide:
- a travel document/passport;
- in case of theft, also a police statement on announcing that crime.
A new card will then be made and you can pass by the MOI office to take it.
Remember to always be careful when you report to the authorities because every procedure, in order to take effect, must be done thoroughly and mistakes can easily be done. If you face any issues during any of this process you can always contact us and ask for our assistance service so we face your troubles together!
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