What to do when your SA passport gets stolen

Being a victim of crime is never fun, and a headache that can add to an already traumatic experience is replacing a stolen passport.

While you might think they wouldn't be able to use your passport to travel with, there are many other methods pertaining to identity theft that can be done with a passport. It can also be used to get into government buildings and other tightly-controlled areas where a stolen passport from a specific country can be useful.

SEE: Passport safety 101: 6 ways to safeguard your identity during travel

But don't panic - there are mechanisms in place for replacing passports, whether it's inside South Africa or abroad, and you should have your ticket to the world back in your hands in no time.

Here's what you need to know if your passport gets stolen.

If it's stolen inside South Africa

The first thing to do is go to a police station and report your passport stolen. Get the case number and an affidavit which you need to take with you to Home Affairs when you submit your application.

You need to prove that the passport was stolen, because "applications to replace lost, stolen or damaged passports will be double the normal fee if the incident was as a result of the passport/travel document owner’s negligence".

Alongside the normal application form to renew a passportyou must also fill in the DHA-335 form for lost passports.

After that, the procedure is the same as a normal application.

Extra trip: It would be a good idea to also just notify your bank, just in case the thieves try anything sketchy at a bank branch with your passport as identification. 

SEE: How to renew your passport

If it's stolen while travelling abroad

Similar to if it was stolen in SA, report to the police first thing and get that case number.

Contact the nearest SA embassy or consulate in that country. This is what they are there for and will help with getting you new travel documents.

The consulate would need proof of your citizenship, which can be your driver's licence, ID, birth certificate or, if you're a prepared traveller, a certified copy of your stolen passport.

Emergency passports are no longer issued so you will only be able to apply for an Emergency Travel Certificate, which is valid for a maximum period of nine months but only for a single trip. This is for those who need to travel urgently and there is insufficient time to process a passport application which will take longer than a week.

The application form will be similar to renewing your passport. 

ALSO SEE: Passport Guidelines 101: Could smiling for your ID photo protect your identity?

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