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What to do if you lose your passport while travelling in Italy

The Local Italy
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What to do if you lose your passport while travelling in Italy
What should you do after losing your passport in Italy? Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

Losing a passport can quickly turn the dreamiest of Italian holidays into a painful experience. Here’s what you should do if you happen to be in the situation.

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A passport is by far the most important document for people travelling abroad and, as such, it should always be handled with care and stored safely when it’s not immediately needed.

But, everyone can have a rare moment of negligence every once in a while and there’s no shortage of external factors (for instance, being the victim of robbery) that can cause you to lose it.

So, if you ever happen to part ways with your passaporto as you travel through Italy, how can you get out of your bind as quickly as possible and what steps can you take to do so?

Though it might not be an earth-shattering piece of advice, the first thing you should do is to keep calm and actually ensure that you have indeed lost your passport, which may mean double-checking your bags, pockets and any drawer or safe in your accommodation. 

READ ALSO: How to renew your American passport in Italy

Once you’re sure that you no longer have your passport, you can proceed to getting in touch with your country’s nearest consulate or embassy.

You can find a full list of consulates and embassies on Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

It’s generally advisable at this stage that you contact the relevant embassy or consulate via phone rather than turning up in person, not least because some offices may refuse to see you without a proper appointment. 

Having said that, besides reporting your lost (or stolen) passport to the consular officer, it’s important that you carefully explain your circumstances, adding details as to when exactly you’re supposed to travel back to your home country. 

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That’s because, based on the planned length of your stay, you’ll be advised to either apply for a new passport or request an emergency travel document (also referred to as an emergency 'laissez-passer' in some countries).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to pay Italian traffic fines from abroad

If you’re only planning on staying in Italy for a short period of time, you’ll likely be advised to apply for the latter, as the issuance of a new passport can take weeks in some cases, whereas an emergency travel document is usually issued within one to three working days.

The exact nature of the emergency travel document you’ll be issued will be dependent on your home country’s laws and regulation on the subject. 

However, the document will generally have limited validity – in most cases, it’ll only serve the purpose of allowing you to return to your country and will expire right after you’ve made the journey back.

The range of documents that you’ll be required to produce to be issued an emergency travel document will again depend on your home country’s laws.

In most cases though, you’ll be asked to submit a photo ID (or other proof of citizenship) and proof of your travel plans (tickets or booking confirmations) – this will serve as evidence that you do not have time to get a new passport in Italy.

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Based on your home country’s requirements, you may also be asked to submit a loss or theft report (denuncia di smarrimento or denuncia di furto) issued by Italian police authorities. 

Luckily, this is generally an easy task as you’ll only need to head to the nearest local police station and fill out a quick form with your personal information. You can find the nearest police station in your area through the following search tool from Italy’s Polizia di Stato (State Police).

Please note that even though a local police report may not be required for the issuance of your emergency travel document, you may still need to get one to file insurance claims once you’re back in your home country. 

Your own consulate or embassy will advise on how and where to submit the documents required for the issuance of your travel emergency document as well as on when and where to pick the document up should the application be successful.

In some cases, some parts of the procedure may be conducted online.

The emergency document will come at a fee, which varies from country to country. For instance, the UK charges a £100 non-refundable processing fee regardless of whether your application for the document is successful or not. 

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