Losing your passport in China

A step by step guide on what to do if you lose your passport in China

If you experience the loss or theft of your passport in China, try not to panic: keep in mind that you’re not the first one, and authorities are there to help. In the following, we will show you all the established procedures on what to do in case you lose your passport in China, step by step. 

  • Obtain a “Receipt of Report” from the local police station

The first step you should take immediately after losing your passport is reporting the incident at the local police station. This will prevent any potential misuse of the passport by unscrupulous thieves.

The police will then issue a receipt reporting the incident. Once you get the Receipt of Report (报警回执, in Chinese only) you can go on with the next few steps.

Keep in mind that once you report a passport as lost or stolen, it becomes invalid, so follow the procedures anyways – even if you find your passport again. 

  • Obtain a “Confirmation of Reporting the Loss of Passport”

The next step is to obtain a Confirmation of Reporting the Loss of Passport (护照报失证明, in both Chinese and English) from the local Exit and Entry Administration Department.

The documents that you have to submit to get the confirmation are:

  • The original and a copy of the Receipt of Report from the local police station where you reported the loss or theft of the passport;
  • 2 recent passport photos, bareheaded;
  • Report form with the complete statement pertaining to the loss or theft of the passport. Travellers are also required to leave their name and contact details along with this report;
  • Photocopy of documents that can prove your nationality or citizenship: that can be an ID card, a driver’s licence etc;
  • Registration form of temporary residence;
  • If you have a Foreigner’s Residence Permit, then you have to submit a photocopy of the permit as well;
  • If you have a work permit, you also need to bring your work permit and documents issued by the company that will help confirm your identity;
  • Any other documents that may be required by the public security authority;

No fee is required here. It will generally take two business days for the authorities to process all of these documents.

  • Apply for a replacement passport or temporary passport

After receiving the receipt of the “Confirmation of Reporting the Loss of Passport”, you must quickly apply for a new passport replacing certificate at your embassy or consulate in China.

Keep in mind that the “Confirmation of Reporting the Loss of Passport” is only valid for 30 days. If you don’t apply for a new passport replacing certificate before the expiration date, you will be considered as illegal in China and face penal consequences according to Chinese law. 

If you are a US citizen, bring the following items to the consulate:

  • Original “Confirmation of Reporting the Loss of Passport”;
  • a recent passport photo;
  • Completed passport application forms (DS-11 and DS-64, can be filled in when applying);
  • Proof of individual identity (ID card, driver’s license, student ID, etc.);
  • Evidence of US citizenship (original birth certificate, expired passport, etc.);
  • Travel itinerary (flight or train tickets; booking receipt from a hotel etc.);
  • Statement about the loss of passport;
  • Passport application fee.

  • Apply for a Chinese Visa or Residence Permit at the Exit and Entry Administration Department of Public Security Bureau

You will also need to apply for a visa and for a residence permit at the Exit and Entry Administration Department of Public Security Bureau to continue your legal stay in China. The application has to be filed immediately after receiving the receipt of the new passport or the replacement certificate from the proper authorities.

After applying for the Chinese Visa or Residence Permit, it will take up to five business days to process the application upon submission of all the required documents. If you have to catch a flight or travel back home sooner, apply for an Emergency Travel Document (also called Emergency Passport). It can be issued within 24 hours, but is only valid until your trip ends, so remember to apply for a regular one after returning to your home country.

Here are the required materials to apply for the Chinese Visa:

  • Original “Confirmation of Reporting the Loss of Passport”;
  • A photocopy of the lost passport or a copy of other identification with personal photo (such as ID card, driver’s licence, work permit, etc.). An identity confirmation letter from your embassy or consulate will be needed if you can’t present any relevant proof;
  • Temporary accommodation registration record
  • One passport photo;
  • Chinese Visa application fee.

Precautions Against Loss of Passport

Other than keeping your passport safe and taking precautions against pickpocketing, a few other measures that can be taken are: 

  • Scan and photocopy the passport, and email the scan of the passport to yourself, so you always have a digital copy with you in case you need to print it in a local copy shop. 
  • Carry other forms of identification like ID cards, driver’s licence, credit cards etc. These documents can help verify your identity in case of theft or loss of your passport. Keep photocopies of those documents as well.
  • Write down the contact details of the nearest embassy from your country for every stop in the country. 

Losing your passport can be extremely stressful. Our friends from Sundried Icicles wrote another helpful article about what to do if that happens to you while traveling. 

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