South Africans lose millions in rejected Schengen visa applications
Image: @confco/ X

Steps to take if you LOSE your South African passport while travelling

Whether you’re vacationing or on a business trip, losing your passport overseas can be a real set back. But it’s not the end of the world.


South Africans lose millions in rejected Schengen visa applications
Image: @confco/ X

Most travellers know that gut-wrenching feeling when you’ve left an important document behind, but nothing can be quite as worrisome as misplacing or losing a passport.

Fortunately, there are simple steps one can take to ensure you don’t get stranded in a foreign country. However, time is of the essence, writes BusinessTech.

The immediate steps to be taken when you realise you’ve lost your South African passport:

  1. Report the loss at the nearest police station.
  2. Take the police report to the closest South African embassy, consulate, or high commission

A South African diplomatic or consular mission can then issue you with an emergency travel certificate. This document will allow you to return to South Africa at the end of your trip, meaning you don’t need to abandon your travel plans entirely.

Can you continue travelling to other countries?

An important thing to note here is that the emergency travel certificate, valid for 90 days, is for a single trip to South Africa only. You will not be allowed to travel any further with this document.

If there is no South African consulate or embassy in the city you’re in, you will need to travel to the nearest location that has one.

Applying for an emergency travel document and a new passport

You can apply for a new passport whilst applying for the emergency travel certificate at a South African mission.

The catch: Passport applications submitted at South African missions abroad are sent to the Department of Home Affairs for processing, which can take several months.

The emergency travel certificate is therefore essential, and will at least get you back to South Africa.

To apply for an emergency travel document and a new passport from a South African embassy, you have to do the following:

  • According to travelstart, you first need to complete an application form, a BI-73. This is the application for a South African passport.
  • Secondly, you will need to fill in a BI-335E form. The latter is a declaration regarding the loss (or damage/theft) of a passport.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) then prescribes you:

  • Be finger-printed.
  • Produce written evidence of your South African citizenship (e.g. a birth certificate, identity document, certified copy of passport, driver’s license). Where available.
  • Provide a copy of the police report.
  • Present two photographs.
  • Pay the prescribed fee – as determined by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

What will it cost?

The current fee for a 32-page adult or child passport application is R600. This is according to the latest fee structure published by the DHA.

However, in respect of applications for a South African passport or travel document made outside of the Republic, at Missions, Embassies or Consulates, or the replacement of a lost/ damaged/ stolen South African passport, this fee is doubled (R1200).

It is also advisable to make printed and digitised copies of essential documents to keep with you on your travels, like your passport, identity document, and driver’s licence.