When travelling, there are three things you don’t want to lose: Your luggage, your money and your passport. While the first two are frustrating, losing your passport while travelling can be very scary. Your passport is one of the most important documents you’ll ever own. It’s what enables you to leave the country, visit others and come back home. That power is why criminals will sometimes target travellers. A Canadian passport is one of the best in the world, which makes it a prime target. That said, there are also many accidental ways to lose it while travelling. It can slip out of your pocket or you can drop it somewhere inaccessible. If you’re in a situation where you have a lost Canadian passport while travelling, fret not – here’s what you need to do!

Contact the Canadian government immediately

The Canadian government has laid out some basic rules and regulations as it relates to lost or stolen passports. The first thing you need to do is report your passport as missing to the Canadian government. It’s important to do this as soon as possible! The passport needs to be marked as invalid, preventing any criminals from using it.

If you are travelling within Canada, you can call directly at 1-800-567-6868. If you find yourself with a lost Canadian passport while travelling in a different country, you need to go to the local Canadian embassy or consulate in that country. You can find a full list for each country here.

Report a theft to the local police

If the passport was stolen, the second thing you need to do is report it to the local police. They will document and investigate. While they may not recover the passport, it may help them identify thieves. If you report the theft or loss of your passport to the Canadian government first, then you don’t need to worry.

Get a new passport

When you report your passport missing, you can also begin the process of issuing a new or temporary one. It’s important to remember that your passport is no longer valid once you lose it, even if it is found or returned. This rule prevents any kind of fraudulent attempts. It’s also important to remember that Border Crossings are not responsible for any issues when using a passport that is reported lost or stolen. 

Call about a lost passport:

  • 1 800 567 6868 (Canada and the US)
  • Call 1 888 242 2100 to report lost or stolen refugee travel documents and certificates of identity

If you are outside of Canada: Report to the nearest Government of Canada office abroad. Find the list of embassy consulates here.

 You will need a list of documents completed to get the new passport issued. This usually includes:

  • A completed application signed by a guarantor
  • Two copies of a passport photo
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship
  • A declaration about the loss or theft
  • The filing fees

Additionally, you should check if you are eligible to simply renew your passport instead of applying for a new one. Use the Government of Canada’s passport renewal tool to see if you are eligible here. Renewing your passport involves both paying regular fees and a replacement fee, along with submitting an additional form.

If you must apply for a new passport, click here. If you are applying for a new passport, complete the usual application.

It’s important to note that you cannot renew a child’s passport if it is lost or stolen, and you must apply for a new one. Besides filling out the standard application, you must submit a declaration form stating what happened to the child’s original passport, along with paying fees for both a new and replacement passport. 

I found a passport…what do I do with it?

Whether it’s your own or someone else’s, there are proper steps to take when you’ve retrieved a passport. You must return it to the Government of Canada along with a letter describing how you found the passport. Once again, even if it’s yours, you cannot use a passport once it has been reported as lost or stolen for travel. 

If you are within Canada when you find the passport, you can return it in person to a passport office, RCMP office or local police station. You can also mail it along with the letter to:

  • Centralized Network – Passport Protection, 3rd Floor, Gatineau, QC K1A 1L1, Canada

If you find a passport abroad, return it to your nearest Government of Canada office.

What do I do if my passport is damaged?

If any damage has occurred to your passport, it’s important to apply for a new one. A damaged passport can result in denied entry to border crossings or flights. Border crossing agents or airlines have the authority to refuse entry or exit depending on the state of your passport. 

A damaged passport includes:

  • A passport that makes it difficult to identify the owner
  • A passport that appears falsified or changed
  • Has been denied by an airline
  • Has pages removed
  • Has unauthorized markings
  • Teared pages
  • Has been exposed to water
  • Has bite marks from a pet
  • The photo or information has been changed illegally
  • The cover and the inside pages have been separated
  • Looks generally damaged 

To be sure, visit a passport office or contact your airline before you leave to ensure your passport is in good condition. If not, refer to our instructions on how to apply for a new one. 

What do I do if my passport is inaccessible?

If you are applying for a foreign visa, for example, and need to travel, simply contact the Government of Canada and submit proof of where your passport is and why you need to travel in the meantime. There are two other ways to make your life a little bit easier with a stolen or lost Canadian passport while travelling. The first is to have a good travel insurance policy. Your policy can help with the costs associated with acquiring a new passport and returning to Canada. The second is to have photos of your important documents saved in a secure folder on a portable device. This can help with acquiring new travel documents and verifying current information.

Losing or having your passport stolen while travelling can be exceptionally stressful. If you want to avoid that stress, take great care of all your personal belongings. It is one of the most important documents that you will ever own! But, theft and accidents do occur. Fortunately, Canada has consulates and embassies in many major cities around the world that will make your life a lot easier.

For further information, visit canada.ca.

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