23 May What to do if you lose your passport in China?
Losing your passport. A nightmare anywhere, but even more so in China where guidelines are frequently changing and communication problems are common – possibly frustrating you in a stressful situation. Slightly comforting would be if you know what to do and where to go to solve this issue. We are here to help you out and guide you through the process.
Step 1 after discovering you don’t have your passport with you is to not panic. Firstly search every corner, bag and piece of clothing in your home and workplace. Then try to trace your steps, where have you been recently? When is the last time you saw/used your passport? If these leads to nothing, make use of your social network. Ask around in (expat) WeChat groups, Facebook groups, and at your frequently visited places.
If you are certain your passport is stolen/lost, you can start to take action. The two most important steps are applying for a valid identification replacement document / new passport and applying for a visa on this replacement identification document or new passport. This can be done by going to the nearest Public Security Bureau (公安局) to apply for a confirmation of reporting the loss of passport. You need to get the lost-passport report paper there.
Then you need to go to your country’s nearest embassy or consulate, and apply for a replacement passport in person. It takes 1 to 2 days to get the replacement passport as your embassy or consulate needs to check your real personal information and the time difference slows down this process. The replacement passport is only valid for a month, and you will also get an identification with your original passport number and information from the embassy or consulate.
Please find below the documentation you need to prepare at the Public Security Bureau (公安局):
Documents to apply for the confirmation of lost-passport report
- Original and copy of the receipt of a report from the local police station where the passport was lost or stolen.
- Two recent photographs for foreigners in the city where the travelers are living and a receipt of the photograph.
- Report form with the complete statement pertaining to the loss or theft of the passport. The travelers are required to leave the name and contact details of their contact person in the city along with this report.
- Photocopy of documents which establish the nationality of the travelers or citizenship in a foreign country. The relevant documents for this purpose can be an appropriate ID card or drivers license etc.
- Registration form of temporary residence (if studying/working in China)
- If the person is a Foreigner’s Residence Permit Holder, then he/she has to produce the photocopy of the Foreigner’s Residence Permit.
- If you have a work permit, you also need to bring your work permit and documents issued by the company
- Any other documents which may be deemed necessary and required by the public security authority
A tourist / traveler who doesn’t travel with a China travel agency needs to apply for a new Chinese travel visa in the Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration as soon as possible. When you leave China, you need the visa to pass through the Security. You can apply for the most urgent visa against a higher price and get it in one day.
Documents to apply for a replacement document or new passport
This needs to be applied for at your countries’ embassy/consulate in China. The police station / Public Security Bureau will give you a valid document with which you can travel by train/airplane/bus within China if needed.
- Lost passport report of the Public Security Bureau
- Certifications of China travel agency that services you (if tourist / traveler)
- Residency / work permit documentation (if studying / working)
- Scan copy of your original passport and visa
- Passport photos
Once the replacement document or new passport has been issued, foreigners need to apply for a new visa or residence permit at the Entry and Exit Administration Division of the Public Security Bureau. Even tourists need this visa to be able to leave the country. As the replacement document is only valid for 30 days, it’s of vital importance to start right away. Once this term has passed, you will be treated as illegally staying in China and might be punished according to the respective laws.
Tip 1! You can ask the Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration for more detail information about applying for a new travel visa. When you travel with a group visa, if you can catch up with other travelers you don’t need to apply for a new visa. However, if you can’t keep traveling with the group, you need to apply for a separation of group visa which your travel guide will help you to deal with.
Tip 2! Always have several copies of your passport, visa and other important documentation with you in case you lose your passport, so you will be able to act fast.