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Lost your passport in China – what now?

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Category: Useful Tips

Losing your passport while in China – is this really the worst-case scenario?

You’ve been careful with your documents, keeping your passport always at hand or close to you…. Until one day it’s not there anymore. You’ve lost your passport. Accidents and unfortunate events can happen, no matter how attentive you’ve been with your belongings.
The following post is here to help you out of a real pickle – worry no more and keep reading!

Take a look at our other posts: How can foreigners invest in the Chinese stock market?

Lost your passport? Report your loss immediately

Once all attempts at finding your passport have failed, you should file a report about your loss to the police or at the Public Security Bureau. There, relevant documents will be issued, such as Proof of Record and Proof of Loss.
There, a report number will be issued to you, along with a record of your personal info and details about your loss will be kept on file. Don’t forget to ask for a report receipt!

Get a certificate for your loss

Once you’ve reported your loss, head over tot the Visa Reception Hall of the Exit and Entry Administration Bureau of the Municipal Public Security Bureau for the “Certificate of Passport Loss”. Prepare the following documents:

  • Report receipt from police/the PSB.
  • Copy of your passport or other documents that can prove your identity (e.g., social security card, driver’s license, etc.).
  • Two-inch document photos.

The “Certificate of Passport Loss” will be issued within 2 weeks and is valid for 30 days.

Head over to your embassy

Once you’ve obtained the certificate of loss, you will have to go to the embassy of your country to request for a substitute document or a new passport. Remember, the document must be issued within the 30 days of when the Certificate of Passport Loss is valid.
Once you have a relevant document, it should take about 7 working days for a visa to be reissued.

What about individuals from the Visa Waiver Program?

Foreigners, who entered China based on a Visa Waiver Program are also required to apply for a visa in case of loss of documents. This is due to no entry record existing on the newly issued passport. Foreigners, who have not applied for a visa, will have troubles upon exiting the country.

Similarly, below documents will need to be prepared:

  • Report receipt from police/the PSB.
  • Certificate of Passport Loss.
  • Temporary residence certificate.
  • Copy of passport and visa

Once the complete set of materials has been submitted, a visa can be reissued in accordance with the original visa type, entry expiration date, stay period and the number of valid entries of the original visa.

What if the country has not established diplomatic relation with China?

In cases, where the country of the foreigner has not established a diplomatic relationship with China, there are three options to deal with the matter. These can be:

  • Heading over to the foreign-run representative office or trade office.
  • Going to a consulate of another country, available in China.
  • Heading to an embassy of another country, available in China.

Checking in and staying at hotels

Note, that a hotel will refuse to accept guests if they do not present a passport due to reasons stipulated by the law. However, a valid Proof of Passport Loss and Foreign Visa certificate processing receipt can still be handled for checking in guests. Once checked in, make sure the hotel has uploaded your information to the Public Security system for managing the hotel and ask the hotel to issue a receipt that proves your stay there.
If your visa expires or the visa is exempted for more than 15 days during the issuance of the certificate, you will need to exit the country immediately upon obtaining the valid certificate and visa.

Some useful tips for emergencies

Before heading to China (or in fact, any other foreign country), make sure you have a full overview of your documents.

  • Photocopies
    • Take photocopies of your passport and keep one of the copies with you at all times. Use the actual passport only for official procedures or checking in for flights/hotels.
    • E-mail yourself a digital copy of the passport that can be accessed everywhere.
    • Besides your passport, take photocopies of your bank cards and any other cards that help with identification.
  • Embassy/Consulate
    • Get the contacts of the nearest embassy or consulate of your country, no matter where you are. When in trouble, call them – the sooner, the better.
  • Emergency contact
    • Fill in the emergency contact information on the last page of your passport in case someone picks it up.


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