I understand. It is a great hassle when you lose your passport, what more if you lose it abroad – when you’re supposed to be enjoying your holiday!
You might have dropped it during your commute or your bag might have been snatched as you’re having breakfast at a local cafe, it might be carelessness that caused this but there are ways to fix the problem and you could still come back to Malaysia safely.
But first, take a deep breath, don’t panic and stop berating yourself. You’ll be fine.
What To Do If You Lose Your Malaysian Passport Abroad
1. Lodge A Report At The Nearest Police Station
Once you realise your passport is gone, immediately lodge a report at the nearest police station. Note where you think you might lose your passport – Could it have fell off your bag in the subway? – Noting the location could sometimes help the authorities to locate your passport (if nobody took it, that is).
Reporting a loss of passport can also help protect you in case your passport was used for any illegal activities.
Note: Malaysian passport is the 5th most powerful passport in the world and some unscrupulous people might take advantage of it by “cloning” your passport. So, always be alert who you hand your passport to (even hotel staffs).
2. Contact Your Insurance Agent
Most insurance companies have 24/7 assistance (online or by phone) or call your insurance agent directly for assistance on the next step after lodging a police report. Your insurance agent might be able to guide you to the Malaysia embassy as well as send over documents and details to help you out.
In case you didn’t know, most travel insurance will cover expenses incurred to obtain document replacements up to RM7500. This includes transportation, call charges, internet data and so on. Just make sure you keep the receipts to help smoothen the claiming procedure.
Note: Do read the insurance T&C or find out from your agent if the travel insurance package you purchase covers costs for “loss of passport abroad” or not.
3. Go To Malaysian Embassy (or Malaysian Mission Centre) To Report Loss Of Your Passport
Bring your police report to the Malaysian Embassy in the country you loss your passport. Or if the country you’re in does not have Malaysian Embassy, you can also search for the High Commission, Consulate, or Consulate General. Look for the location at this link.
Note: Some embassies requires you to make an appointment beforehand such as: Consulate General of Malaysia in Los Angeles and High Commission of Malaysia in Canberra, Australia.
4. Apply For An Emergency Travel Document or Emergency Certificate (EC)
At the embassy, you can apply for an emergency travel document that acts as a temporary passport. The document is a one-way pass that is valid only for 12 months and can only be used once to return to Malaysia. The document does not allow you to cross border though.
For example, if you lose your passport in Paris, France, you can apply for an emergency certificate at Malaysian Embassy in Paris, France and you would have to return to Malaysia by flying out from France using the emergency travel document. If your initial travel itinerary includes entering London, United Kingdom and returning to Malaysia from there, that is not possible. There is a high possibility the U.K. immigration will not allow you to enter the country with an emergency travel document.
- What Do You Need To Bring To Apply For An Emergency Travel Document?
- A copy and the original police report
- Fill up the Form_IM.42
- An alternate form of identification like your Malaysian identity card or driver’s license
- 2 passport photos
- Flight ticket/ ticket stubs
- Processing fees (starting from RM50) – may differ due to currency exchange
- Cover letter – some embassies such as Washington,USA and Australia might require you to submit additional documents (copy and original) so make sure you check the requirements needed at the respective embassies.
Your application might take 3 to 5 working days for it to be processed. In some cases, an expediency fee can also help speed up the process.
Note: The Emergency Travel Document (EC) is not recognised by these countries: Brunei, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Holland, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, Turkey, and U.A.E.
5. Return To Malaysia, Apply For New Passport With Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia
As I stated above, the Emergency Travel Document is a one way pass and cannot be used to cross borders. However, since the validity is for 12 months, you can use up the time to travel or visit the country you made the Emergency Travel Document at, and then return to Malaysia from that country (via flight).
Upon returning to Malaysia, make another police report at a police station near your home before making a new passport. This is needed in order to apply for a new passport. You may also bring the police report made in the country you loss your passport for reference.
Note: Starting 2nd January 2019, Malaysians who lost or damaged their passport will be fined RM400 (first time), RM700 (second time) and RM1,200 (third time). Children aged 12 and below and students aged 21 and below studying abroad will be fined RM300 (first time), RM600 (second time) and RM1,100 (third time).
What Can You Do Before Going Abroad?
It is very unfortunate for something like this to happen but, it can happen to just anyone, even if you’re the most careful person out there. In case this happens to you, make sure you have back-ups.
- Keep a copy (or two!) of your passport or other identification documents – photostat copy or save it in your handphone and back it up in your Google Drive.
- Get the information of the nearest Malaysian Embassy or Mission Centre of the country(ies) you’re going to. Jot down their address, phone numbers and working hours.
- Don’t keep your passport, cash, ATM cards or credit cards in the same place. Always have backup cash stashed somewhere for emergency. If you keep your passport in your hotel room’s safe, bring a copy of your passport wherever you go.
- Email the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your travel itinerary and they will forward it to the embassy (of said country). This is important in case of unfortunate events like disasters, riots or wars.
- Make sure you purchase a travel insurance. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to a neighbouring country or to a country on the other side of the globe. Travel insurance can help save you a lot of money if something unfortunate were to happen.