Your Australian passport is a valuable document – not just to you but to those who might misuse it. The experience of losing your passport or it being stolen while travelling, is the stuff of nightmares. So, in order that you don’t lose your head should the worst should happen, we provide you with the steps to take if you lose your passport.
Before you go
Before you set off on your trip, take a photo or photocopy of the main page of your passport, which has your photo and details. Email this to yourself and someone you trust, preferably a family member. Consider printing off a couple of copies to keep in your luggage too. If you are overseas when your passport is lost or stolen, then a photocopy could help you out of some sticky situations.
If you are in Australia
There are two options available if your passport is lost or stolen while you are in Australia: You can either report the incident online or call the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232. By law, you are required to report the loss or theft of your passport. Reporting a lost or stolen passport online or over phone requires you to confirm your identity and then discuss the circumstances of the loss. When you report a lost or stolen passport online, you will be asked to cite your passport number, so having a photograph or photocopy handy will be helpful. Note: once your passport has been reported lost or stolen, it will be made permanently invalid, so if you happen to find it later you won’t be able to use it.
Replacing your passport in Australia
Applying for a replacement passport means you need to complete a New Passport Application form, provide details of the lost or stolen passport, attend an interview, prove your citizenship, pay the application fee and pay the appropriate lost/stolen passport fee.
If you are overseas
If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, it is important that you report it as soon as possible. You can choose to report it online or you can head to the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission. To replace your passport, you will need to complete an Overseas Passport Application form, provide details of your old passport, attend an interview, prove your citizenship, pay the application fee and pay the appropriate lost/stolen passport fee.
If you need to travel soon after you’ve lost your passport, you can be issued an emergency passport, which will help you get on a plane home or to your next destination. However, this passport is only valid for up to 12 months and its use may be restricted in some countries. If you don’t need to travel soon, a standard passport can be hastily produced in Australia and transferred to you.
If you find a passport
If you find a lost Australian Passport, either in Australia or overseas, you should send it to the Passport Office in your Australian capital city, or return it to the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission.