A temporary passport or limited validity passport is a travel document issued by the relevant authorities of your country in urgent cases.

So for example, you are abroad, and for some reason, your regular passport is just gone – you misplaced it, or it was stolen, or damaged. Or, you have to travel abroad in an emergency, you don’t have a valid passport, and you don’t have time to wait a few weeks until a regular passport is issued.

This is when the temporary passport comes in.

When Am I Eligible for a Temporary Passport?

You can get a temporary passport in one of the following cases:

  • You are abroad and your passport is stolen, lost, or damaged
  • You are abroad and your passport has expired
  • You need to travel abroad for an emergency, such as for the illness or funeral of a family member, and do not have time to renew your passport.

How to Get a Temporary Passport?

The method of application for temporary passport changes depending on whether you are applying in your country of residence or abroad. If you apply abroad, you have to approach an Embassy. If you are in your country, approach the relevant passport-issuance authorities.

Temporary Passport Application Abroad

If you are abroad, in order to apply for a temporary passport, you have to approach an Embassy or Consulate of your country within the foreign country*. For example, if you are a US citizen, and you lost your passport in France, you have to go to the Embassy of the United States in Paris.

Call the Embassy ahead of time to learn whether you need to make an appointment, and to learn what documents you need to submit.

Before applying for the temporary passport, you have to file a police report for the lost/stolen passport. You need this report to submit to the Embassy along with your application.

Documents required:

  • A passport-size picture (white background)
  • Your ID or driver’s license
  • Proof of your citizenship, such as a photocopy of the missing passport (if available) or your birth certificate
  • Your travel ticket (airplane, train, bus, etc)
  • Police report
  • Application form for a temporary passport (you will likely be able to get it at the Embassy)
  • Fee payment

If applying for a temporary passport for a minor, proof of the following will be required:

  • Proof of parentage of the minor
  • Proof of legal guardianship over the minor
  • Proof of custody, in case the parents are divorced or separated

*If your country does not have a diplomatic representation office where you are, then you have to learn which other country’s Embassy/Consulate is responsible for your country and apply there.

Temporary Passport Application in Your Country

Within your country of residence, you can apply for a temporary passport at the responsible government authorities for passport issuance (i.e. wherever you would apply for a regular passport).

Documents required:

  • A passport-size picture (white background)
  • Your ID or driver’s license
  • Proof of your citizenship, such as a photocopy of the previous passport (if available) or your birth certificate
  • Documents which prove the urgent nature of your travel
  • Application form for a temporary passport
  • A travel itinerary, if applicable
  • Fee payment

If applying for a temporary passport for a minor, proof of the following will be required:

  • Proof of parentage of the minor
  • Proof of legal guardianship over the minor
  • Proof of custody, in case the parents are divorced or separated

How Long Does It Take to Get a Temporary Passport?

In certain situations (such as a life or death emergency), a temporary passport can be issued in as little as one working day. However, there is really no pre-determined time on how long it will take for such a passport to be issued, as it depends on the Embassy/Consulate or passport authorities in your country.

It is quicker than a regular passport, sure, but don’t always count you can get it in a matter of days. A week is the safest bet.

Where Can You Go With a Temporary Passport?

A temporary passport only allows you to travel to your destination country and any countries in between where you have to transit to reach your destination.

  • If you need a temporary passport to return home, once you arrive, the immigration officers will take your passport.
  • If you need a temporary passport for an urgent trip abroad, you can only use the passport on your onward and return journey. Once home, immigration will take your temporary passport.

Note: If travelling abroad, it is your responsibility to check whether they will allow you to enter with a temporary/emergency passport.

How Long Is the Temporary Passport Valid?

A temporary passport is usually only valid for the timeframe you need it to travel. You can only use it for that one time, hence the name. Once you are safely home, you’ll have to forfeit it and apply for a regular passport for any future trips abroad.

In some cases, temporary passports are issued for a longer duration, such as six to twelve months.

How Much Does a Temporary Passport Cost?

The cost of a temporary passport differs depending on the country issuing the passport. You will likely have to pay the price for a regular passport, as well as a fee for the expedited application processing. A temporary passport is more expensive than a regular one, sometimes by a lot.

Is a Temporary Passport Accepted When Travelling?

A temporary passport is issued by the relevant authorities in your country, and for all intents and purposes, it is just like a regular passport (for emergency cases). Even so, some countries may not accept a temporary passport as a valid travel document.

It is your responsibility to learn whether your country of destination will let you enter using your emergency/temporary passport.

Can You Get a Visa on a Temporary Passport?

This will depend on the country you are visiting and how long your temporary passport is valid. When you apply for a visa (any type) you need a passport which is valid for at least another six months and has at least 1-2 blank pages.

So, if your temporary passport is not valid for 6 months or more and does not have more than 2 blank pages, you are unlikely to receive a visa on it, be it a Visa on Arrival or an Embassy visa.

Your best bet is to contact the Embassy/Consulate of the country you want to visit and ask for information.

Expedited Passport vs. Temporary Passport

The difference between an expedited passport and a temporary one is:

  • An expedited passport is a regular passport. What makes it different is that you pay more so that it is issued quicker. So, if a regular application for a passport takes 3-4 weeks, through an expedited application process, you will receive it within 1 week.
  • A temporary passport is not a regular passport. It is only issued in emergency cases. Once used/expired, you cannot extend it – you will have to apply for a regular passport.

Please note: Although we tried to be as thorough as possible, there will be some small differences in eligibility, requirements, or duration of temporary passports between different countries.

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