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What happens if you land somewhere abroad and have forgotten your passport?

I am sure most of us have done this at some point Especially on short trips UK to France, years ago, when there were no checks most of the time.

However I came across this story when looking for something else
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/07/24/family-deported-united-lost-passports-paris/
which, while airline related, suggests that the outcome could be quite unpleasant.

This is surprising because there is supposed to be a process in place, established over many decades, whereby you apply to the local consulate which represents your country (or your country’s embassy) and they do some checks and issue you with temporary papers.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I had my passport stolen in Vienna and the consulate were extremely helpful, coming in specially on a Saturday morning and creating a white passport on the spot. The passport was then taken from me on arrival.

EGKB Biggin Hill

Having scans of the documents accessible online can be of great help:
I’d misplaced my passport in Paris on my way to to Eurostar (where you get checked by both french AND british on check-in). The french let me pass without any document, and I showed a scan of my (British) passport to the british (which I keep on google drive), from which they took my details, went into some other room, and 15 min later told me I was good to go.

Fortunately my Portuguese citizenship gives me an ID card in credit card format which is super convenient to travel in the EU. I then usually keep a passport (I have 3) in each bag for redundancy.

Intra-EU you don’t need a passport, the ID card will suffice which I, like most Germans, always keep in my wallet anyways.

Years ago my best friend’s papers were stolen in Prague. He went to the German embassy there and got replacement papers on the same day to get back home over the border (this was in 2004 and there were passport checks on the train at the border)

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

The issue I think I am getting at is that the police (obviously) won’t let you off the airport, so you don’t get a chance to “sort” anything out.

The embassy/consulate process is used where you are out and about and somebody steals (etc) your papers and then you get into a taxi and get yourself to the embassy/consulate. That will obviously work because the taxi driver won’t ask for your passport

One would hope that if say you land UK-LFAT then the police at LFAT will just not let you in, so you have to get back in your plane and fly back to the UK. But has anyone tested that? That American airline passenger “experience” suggests that if you lose your papers on the airliner, you might get treated pretty roughly.

Intra-EU you don’t need a passport

You do if extra-Schengen, plus various other scenarios.

Fortunately my Portuguese citizenship gives me an ID card in credit card format which is super convenient to travel in the EU. I then usually keep a passport (I have 3) in each bag for redundancy.

An excellent point and I need to get off my a—e and waste a day in London and get that Czech one

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

You do if extra-Schengen, plus various other scenarios.

I think MedEwok was saying that in the EU (including extra schengen like the UK) you can travel on an ID card instead of a passport.

The airticle is fairly poorly written, it’s unclear exactly what happened and who their main gripe is against, the airline (who didn’t seem offer any help) or the immigration people (who put them in dentention supposedly till the next flight).

Peter wrote:

An excellent point and I need to get off my a—e and waste a day in London and get that Czech one

Actually I ever take 2, 1 stays at work where I know I can get easily someone to send it via an urgent carrier anywhere if needed.

@Peter:
No you really don’t need a passport when crossing EU borders, doesn’t matter if Schengen or not. ID cards are also an EU standard. The UK doesn’t have them so there is a certain lack of experience, but the Border Force let me into the UK with ID card alone (in 2015) without further comment.

If being stranded at a foreign airport without ID or passport you do indeed have problem. On a day trip in the UK-LFAT fashion as you mentioned it shouldn’t be a big problem, what will happen is probably a) nothing or b) they don’t let you off the airport so you just fly back. If the same happens on one of your 7h flights to Greece things get more interesting. I’d still reckon one would ask the police to establish contact with a local consulate to sort things out. I don’t think American experiences are in any way comparable to what would happen in Europe.

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

MedEwok wrote:

The UK doesn’t have them so there is a certain lack of experience

Not really, a lot of the visitors here come on an ID card (which often they regret as they can’t use the e-gates), so the border force sees loads of them every day.
The format is not even standard, just have a look at an italian one, it looks like a french driving licence, a piece of non laminated paper that folds in 3! The french one is also an awkward format, a laminated document which is about the size of 2 credit cards.

I don’t think American experiences are in any way comparable to what would happen in Europe.

That did happen in Europe – at Paris!

Something similar also happened to me in the USA but it didn’t involve a missing passport.

Obviously the passengers could not have been let loose so they could jump into a taxi to the US embassy. You do need a passport to enter France, off a flight from the USA. What surprised me is that the passengers were not given the opportunity to use the embassy route but were just “arrested” and then sent back. Possibly they didn’t have enough money to take a much more expensive flight back the same day, or they kicked up a stink which would certainly result in harsh treatment by police everywhere.

Maybe this “non access to embassy” is a standard procedure in airline travel?

who their main gripe is against, the airline (who didn’t seem offer any help) or the immigration people (who put them in dentention supposedly till the next flight).

Both, it seems, although the airline behaviour is just crap, rather than being relevant to GA travel

on one of your 7h flights to Greece things get more interesting

I don’t do 7hr flights although a few have ended up that way due to headwind But yes what Greece would do is likely to be somewhere among the variation across Europe. I’ve just not heard of real missing-passport cases involving GA.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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