August 3rd, 2011
Imagine this: You've just had the holiday of your dreams. You've done everything you're meant to - mingled with the locals, almost had Delhi belly, seen all the sights and sounds and taken enough pictures and videos to fill up all the storage space of all 2000 of your Facebook friends' accounts.
You've bought everyone a present, booked in your luggage and have already editing the moments that are too embarrassing out of your stories, when you open your money-belt - safely buckled around your waste - to give the nice lady at the check-in counter your passport. Gasp and horror, it's gone! You frantically rummage through all your pockets and bags, checking them twice, take off your shoes and flight socks and shake them out, but alas... your passport is indeed GONE!
You knew that hot waiter was too good to be true. And what about the cute taxi driver? The old man that kept coming into your personal space-bubble behind you in the queue. Was he just a pervert or is he now the proud owner of your ticket home.
Sound familiar? I can't think of anything that would put a bigger black mark on an otherwise perfect holiday than losing a passport.
Getting a new passport may be a bother, especially in countries without South African embassies, and may take a bit of time, so tip number one: Budget for emergencies, and don't spend it on that last got-to-have-souvenir that will leave future generations refusing to bring potential spouses to your house.
In countries with South African embassies or consulates:
- Immediately report the stolen passport to the local police and get a case number and a copy of the report
- Take the copy to the nearest SA embassy or consulate. You will need it to apply for a temporary passport or emergency travel document
- You will also need to complete an application form
- Need to be fingerprinted
- Produce evidence that you're a South African citizen - so keep your birth certificate, identity document, driver's licence or a certified copy of your passport in a separate safe place. Also keep certified copies of the relevant visas in your passport, as well as certified copies of your travel insurance, traveller's cheques and credit card.
- Provide two id-sized photo's
- Have enough money to pay the required fee
In countries without SA embassies or consulates:
Go to the nearest foreign embassy. They would be able to put you in touch with the relevant people to start the application process for a new passport.
South African citizens travelling overseas can also register online on ROSA - Registration of South Africans Abroad. The information allows the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to assist people in the event of an emergency.
Look after your passport, a new one is a bit on the expensive side. Passports for adults and minors cost R400. It shouldn't take more than three weeks to arrive. A temporary passport is R140 and should arrive within one week, and an emergency passport should be issued within one day. It is also costs R140.
Have you lost your passport while travelling overseas - why not share you horror story below to help other travellers be more aware.