What Happens When You Lose Your Passport?


I have always suffered a bad case or paranoia when on holiday. I am one of those annoying people that stops to check that they have their passport every few minutes. I have moments when I am suddenly seized by panic if I can’t recall where I have put it and I have always thought that losing that treasured document would be my worst nightmare.

A Trip to France

Last year I was in France with some friends to celebrate a birthday. The trip had gone well and we were heading for home. Everything seemed fine and I could see from the huge pile in the boot of the car that we had not left anything behind. I had seen everyone’s passports and they were all in the car ready to be displayed at the border. What could possibly go wrong?


I stopped for fuel on the journey and everyone got out of the car to stretch their legs. I stopped again a few miles up the road to use the toilet. Not an adventure I ever enjoy on French motorways as I have to endure the ignominious crouch over the hole in the ground. Having endured that experience I was walking back to the car when I slipped on some ice (it was December) much to the hilarity of my friends who had again left the vehicle. I suggested that if they wanted to get home that night then they might consider being more charitable!

The Border

We eventually arrived at Calais and I joined the queue for the border checks. We had been lining up for a couple of minutes when one of my friends announced that he could not find his passport. A furious search ensued and we established that the passport had indeed disappeared. It must have been knocked out of the car on one of the stops. In all likelihood that unpleasant trip to the toilet had led to the loss. Perhaps they should have concentrated less on my predicament and more on their own movements! I hit my friend with my handbag in frustration as it was the only weapon I had to hand.

Brief Delay

My friends began asking me what we should do. As I had never lost my passport I frankly had no idea. They all looked seriously worried as I approached the booth. I explained to the officer that we had a missing passport. The customs officer turned out to be very nice and we were pulled aside to fill out some forms. Once the officer had established that my friend did indeed hold a valid passport we were sent on our way having only missed one train departure. The exercise would prove to be a costly one, however, as the lost passport was cancelled for security reasons and my friend would have to apply for a new one.

Losing a passport turned out not to be the ultimate nightmare I had always envisaged. I am sure things would have been a lot worse had we been farther afield but in France it was not a problem. My friend duly applied for a new document only for the lost passport to turn up a few days later. Some kind soul had found it lying in the snow at that wretched toilet and sent it back. At least my faith in human nature had been restored.


Article by Sally Stacey