What To Do About A Stolen, Lost or Damaged International Passport

Regardless of how, losing your international passport can be one of the most upsetting experiences ever, especially if you have valid visas in it, and or are outside Nigeria. If this is your situation, calm down. This post is for you.

First, understand that your visas are forfeit. You cannot get them back. You will have to apply for all your visas afresh. But first, let’s focus on getting you a new passport booklet.

Step 1
Report the situation to the nearest Police station and make a statement. If you are in Nigeria, this shouldn’t take too long if you cooperate with the officer in charge. When you get the Police Report, please make photocopies.

Step 2
Go to the nearest court house and file for an Affidavit of Loss. An Affidavit of loss is a legal document declaring the physical loss of a security through theft or destruction by fire/flood. It will contain all details regarding the loss, the owner’s name and any information pertaining to the security, such as serial number or date of issue.  If you are in Nigeria, this won’t take up to 2 hours if you facilitate the process. They may ask you to support the typist or  inform you that “there’s no light”.  In my experience, if you don’t want to suffer, be friendly, placating and generous. Again, when you get the Affidavit of Loss, please make photocopies.

Step 3
Apply for a replacement passport at any Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) office. You can find the Passport Office nearest to you here.  You will be required to submit photocopies of your previous passport. If you do not have any, they will run a search. This search and processing costs about N15,000. Getting a new booklet currently takes about a month or more, depending on the availability of the 32 page booklet. If you are in a desperate hurry and or financially capable, apply for the 64 page booklet. This costs an additional N45,000 approximately. Note that these costs are estimates and is subject to variations. You may be able to apply for a replacement passport online, however I have never used this portal and can’t vouch for its functionality.

If you are outside Nigeria, go to the Nigerian Embassy nearest to you, report the situation and request for a new passport. You will be required to present a copy of the old passport data page and copies of the police statement and affidavit. I have no idea how long this process takes or how much it costs, because the Embassy needs to contact our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Immigration Service before reissuing a passport. Given our Nigerian antecedents, be prepared to wait a while.

Step 4
Make enquiries at the Embassies of countries to which you had valid visas and report your stolen passport and visa. Often, a formal letter to the Consular explaining your situation, along with photocopies of the Police Report and Affidavit of Loss will suffice.

Step 5
Like I said at the beginning of this post, your old visas are gone so you have to reapply for new ones. If there is room for additional information on your application form, state that your old passport was stolen. As usual, include copies of  the Police Report, Affidavit of Loss  and the letter to the Consular in your new application along with other relevant documents for the visa application.

Summarily, I hope this post is helpful in addressing this issue and I wish you all the best. Please remember to share this post. On the other hand, if you have not lost your international passport, do yourself a favour and make copies of your data page and valid visas if you haven’t already. Better still, scan all stated pages and upload them to a secure cloud storage. Having copies of your passport will expedite the process of renewal by validating your claim, but do try not to lose you passport.

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