What Is a Temporary Passport?

A temporary passport is a travel document issued for short-term use, usually due to an emergency. Most countries issue temporary passports to their citizens abroad via diplomatic missions (embassies and consulates).

Common emergency situations that require a temporary passport include when a traveler’s passport has been lost, stolen, or damaged.

It might also be necessary if an individual’s normal passport has expired while staying in another country and they need to travel urgently.

Temporary Passport Definition

A temporary or emergency passport is a special kind of passport valid for a limited period of time. It is usually issued by an embassy or consulate.

Temporary passports are usually issued to nationals of the issuing country who are currently stranded abroad without a valid passport and need one urgently to travel.

These documents are generally issued for the purpose of one trip and therefore have a limited period of passport validity. After this, the individual will be expected to apply for a normal passport to travel again.

Why Are Temporary Passports Issued?

Temporary passports are issued because the individual needs to travel urgently.

Reasons for issuing a temporary passport to nationals traveling abroad include the following situations (in the event that there is not enough time to apply for a new standard passport):

  • The traveler’s passport has been lost, stolen, or damaged
  • The traveler’s passport has expired
  • A foreign country wishes to deport the traveler

Some countries might also issue temporary passports to nationals at home if they have an urgent reason for traveling abroad and applying for a normal passport would take too long.

Urgent reasons include:

  • Caring for a family member with an illness
  • Attending the funeral of a family member

How to Get a Temporary Passport

In most cases, temporary passports are issued to travelers abroad. They must go to an embassy or consulate belonging to their home country.

If the individual’s original passport was lost or stolen, it is usually necessary to first file a police report and bring this to the embassy or consulate.

In most cases, travelers have to fill in an application form for a temporary passport. This is usually obtained at the Embassy itself.

Those applying for a temporary passport in their home country must contact the government authorities responsible for issuing any type of passport (as when applying for a normal passport).

What documents are needed to apply for a temporary passport?

It is advisable to contact the embassy or consulate before going to make sure you have all of the necessary documents to apply for the temporary passport. These usually include the following:

  • Passport-style picture
  • ID or driver’s license
  • Proof of citizenship (e.g. photocopy of the missing passport, if possible, or birth certificate)
  • Travel ticket
  • Police report (if applicable)

There is also a fee to pay to cover the cost of the temporary passport.

What documents do you need to get a temporary passport for a child?

Parents applying for a temporary passport for a minor may have to provide the following:

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

How to get a temporary passport in your own country

Citizens applying for a temporary passport in their home country must provide the same documentation as well as the following:

  • Proof of the urgent reason for traveling
  • Travel itinerary.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Temporary Passport?

The processing time for a temporary passport varies depending on the country and the urgency of the situation.

In some cases, it can be created for the traveler on the same day as applying.

However, in most cases, it will be ready within a few days. In some cases it may take over a week.

There is no concrete rule for all nationalities. It will depend on the embassy, consulate, or government authority that has to issue the emergency passport.

How Long Is a Temporary Passport Valid For?

The validity of a temporary passport varies. It depends on the following factors:

  • The country of issue
  • The reason for traveling
  • When the individual needs to use it to travel

In the vast majority of cases, a temporary passport can only be used once — to return to their home country.

After this, the passport will no longer be valid and the individual is expected to forfeit it. They must then apply for a new normal passport to be able to go abroad in the future.

In certain circumstances, a temporary passport may be issued with a validity of several weeks or even months, depending on the reason it is needed and the country issuing it.