LIFESTYLE NEWS - You’re traveling abroad, having the time of your life; whilst packing up, and getting ready to return to South Africa, you realise that your passport has vanished into thin air.
It must have been stolen, or perhaps you lost it on the beach, but what are you supposed to do now?
Does this mean you’ll be stranded abroad?
The first thing to do directly after noticing that your passport is missing is to report the loss or theft immediately to the local law enforcement agency (e.g. police station).
Once you have reported the loss or theft of your passport to the local police, take a copy of the police report to the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate-General; you will use this copy of the police report to apply for an emergency travel document.
In emergency situations the South African Diplomatic or Consular Mission is in a position to issue you with an Emergency Travel Certificate, which will allow you only to travel directly back to South Africa; should either be unable or unwilling to issue this Emergency Travel Certificate to you, you will have to apply for a new passport whilst remaining abroad while you wait for it.
Passport applications are forwarded to the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa for processing and issuance of new passports. The waiting period to receive a new passport abroad can be several months.
In order to apply for a new Passport, or an Emergency Travel Certificate, you must:
•Complete an application form;
•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; and
•Pay the prescribed fee (as determined by the Department of Home Affairs).
Your South African passport remains property of the government of South Africa even after it has been issued to you; this means that selling your passport or permitting any other individual or agency to use it may lead to criminal prosecution and is considered sufficient cause to revoke the passport and refuse future passport services.
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