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5 things you should do if you lose your passport while traveling abroad

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The experience is painful and terrifying. Even African black magic may not help when you lose your international passport while traveling abroad. You don’t want to imagine a nightmare because everything can go wrong.

A passport becomes the most valuable possession you can own when traveling abroad. It opens the country’s doors to you and gives you the privilege of freedom abroad.

However, everything changes when it’s lost or stolen. If you don’t know what to do, you may make more mistakes or create immigration problems for yourself. Here are some guidelines to help you survive if you lose your passport:

1. Complain to the police

As soon as you realize that your passport has been stolen or lost, you should immediately find the nearest police station and file a lost passport complaint. Be sure to collect the police report as evidence of your lost passport. Then, with the help of the police, you can obtain an emergency travel certificate or a new passport from your country’s embassy.

2. Contact the embassy or consulate

You should visit your country’s consulate or embassy to assist you with your urgent questions.

3. Apply for emergency certificate or new passport

When you lose your passport, you have two options:

1. Obtain an emergency certificate

2. Apply for a new passport

It will take at least a week to get a new passport as you are not getting a duplicate. However, this period may last for a while depending on the availability of passports or other logistics.

Things to do before getting a new passport:

  • Complete the request form and describe the loss or damage.
  • Submit your fingerprints.
  • Proof of your Nigerian citizenship (certified copy of passport, birth certificate or national identity card number).
  • Copy of police affidavit/report
  • Two photographs (size 35 x 45 mm).
  • Proof of current address
  • Proof of date of birth
  • If yes, please provide self-certified copies of the first two pages and the last two pages of your old passport.
  • Passport number, date of issue, expiry date, place of issue of lost passport.

4. Apply for visa renewal

When you lose your international passport abroad, you will lose your current visas, including those from other countries. Therefore, you must visit the embassy of each country that issues a visa to you. However, you will need a police report and a copy of your old visa.

5. Reschedule your flight

If your passport is lost, you will not be able to catch your scheduled flight. We recommend that you reschedule your flight until the passport issue is resolved. If you have travel insurance, you should contact your travel insurance provider. Remember, if you must contact your insurance company with receipts and police reports for expenses incurred due to a lost passport.

Is there a fee to replace a stolen/lost passport?


Normal passport fees will apply when you apply for a new passport abroad. In unique situations like:

1. You are a victim of a disaster; or

2.You have been a victim of a severe crime.

If you don’t have the money to pay before continuing your trip, the embassy may waive the passport fee or provide a passport with limited validity.

You must pay when you apply for a fully valid passport after returning to your country.

If I lose my passport, what happens to any approved visas?

If you hold any visa or are registered for a visa exemption or online visa, you must replace these travel authorizations as your passport number will change when the new document is issued.

Therefore, you will lose all previously approved visas.

Tips for keeping your passport safe when traveling

  • Invest in an affordable cross-body bag to store your essentials with easy access. Store essentials such as air/bus tickets, travel insurance cards, passports, cash, etc.
  • When you arrive at your destination, keep your passport and valuables safe. For example, you could use a hotel room safe.
  • Make at least one or two copies of your passport and store them in separate luggage.
  • Leave a copy for a friend or family member back home.
  • Keep a virtual copy of your passport on Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Do not carry your passport with you, but do carry a photocopy of your passport with you.