When Losing Your Passport in China, Keep These in Mind!

When Losing Your Passport in China, Keep These in Mind!

We spoke with a few people recently of different nationalities across China who lost their passport. Below are the general procedures if you lose your passport in China.

It is advisable to keep a photocopy of the main page of your passport, and current visa and latest entry stamp either in your phone or online storage device. One other useful tip is to keep a copy of these documents emailed to yourself so you can access it from anywhere.

In this article we will use the term “embassy,” however, we do mean the nearest “embassy or consulate.”

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1. File a police report at the local police station nearest to where the event took place. 

The report is only in Chinese and is called 报案证明 “Receipt of a Report.” When filing the report, provide them with your passport and visa copies and they will give you a small form with a red stamp on it. Please note that it is important for you to go to the police station as soon as you lost your passport so that if someone tries to misuse it, you will have proof that it’s not you.

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2. Bring the report to your local Public Security Bureau Entry and Exit division (出入境管理局) to obtain a bilingual confirmation of the lost passport (Confirmation of reporting of the loss of passport 护照报失证明). 

This is another form detailing the report of the missing passport. Ask them in advance how long it will take to arrange a new visa. The confirmation document is only valid for 30 days from the date of issue. You will need to apply for a new passport from your embassy and file an application for a new visa or residence permit within that time frame. If the thirty days has passed, then it will be considered an overstay.

3. Use the report to inform your embassy that your passport has been lost. 

If you are holding a resident permit in China and you lost your passport, upon reporting to your embassy, you must apply for a replacement passport; however, this is where the procedures, time, and fees will vary by country. Please check with your country’s embassy for details.

– Some countries will issue replacement passports immediately or the same day and in this case, you would need to apply for a temporary visa from the Public Security Bureau Entry and Exit division (出入境管理局), usually a humanitarian visa while you update the supporting documents (such as a work permit for a work related stay) and then following the residence permit.

– Other countries will issue a temporary or emergency pass-port to be used while you wait for your replacement passport. In this case, you will need to obtain a temporary visa in that passport from the Public Security Bureau Entry and Exit division (出入境管理局), usually a humanitarian visa, and then once your replacement passport arrives you would need to update the supporting documents (such as a work permit for a work related stay) and then following the residence permit, with the replacement passport details. Depending on the processing time of your replacement passport compared to your temporary visa expiration date, you may need a temporary visa in the new passport, which would add another step in the process. While on a temporary visa, some people received a special document from the Public Security Bureau Entry and Exit division (出入境管理局) to allow international travel with that visa, providing they had a valid reason and proof of upcoming travel, while others were unable to obtain this permission.

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– Some countries do not issue temporary or emergency passports and do not issue replacement passports immediately and if this is the case, then your country will issue an “Emergency Certificate” and work with the Chinese authorities to ensure you are legal to be in China until your replacement passport arrives. If you have lost your passport while traveling in China:

– If your country issues a replacement passport immediately or issues a temporary or emergency passport, then you should follow the same procedures as already mentioned, except for the fact that you will be issued an exit visa in that passport.

– If your country does not issue emergency passports, then you won’t be able to stay in China or continue your journey to other countries. You would not be able to apply for a replacement passport in China because you do not hold a residence permit or other long term status here. You would only be able to return to your country on the basis of “Emergency Certificate”.

– For the issuance of an “Emergency Certificate”, you need to contact your country’s embassy and they would use this document to coordinate with the Chinese authorities for your exit from China, similarly to the above situation only that they would coordinate with the authorities to permit your exit from China.

4. When picking up either your temporary or replacement passport, it is important to retain the proof of when you picked it up as this may be required later to prove that you were within the given time limit. 

If there is a large gap of time between when the pass-port was issued and when you prove that you picked it up you may have to provide an extra explanation. The time limit for when the visa or residence permit must be moved is between 30 and 60 days but the exact time limit will vary by location in China, so it is best to check with the Public Security Bureau Entry and Exit division (出入境管理局). If you are updating and moving your work related residence permit, then you will first need to update the work permit.

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5. Regardless of what visa you hold you would need to get a new temporary certificate from your local police station or your hotel, after any changes to your passport or visa. 

You may need supporting documents such as the police report because there is no visa in that passport. If you hold a residence permit and lost your passport outside of China, there are specific procedures depending on if you lost your passport in your home country or if you lost your passport outside of your home country. There is likely to be some sort of temporary visa the embassy or consulate can issue you so that you can return to China because residence permits are only issued in China. As non-residence permits are issued outside of China, then the embassy should have procedures for handling this.

About the Authors:

Ikbal (known by the nickname “Ikky”) is an R&D Manager working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over 11 years.

Julian runs a company that works with individuals and organizations doing business between the US, China, and Africa. He has been based in China for a number of years.

Jatin (known by the nickname ¨Prince Jatin〃) is an AWS Cloud Engineer working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over six years and owns three Indian community WeChat groups known for “helping Indians”with their specific inquiries.

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