What Is a Temporary Passport?

Alex Tree

Also known as an emergency passport, a temporary passport is used in circumstances where the traveler must begin travel quickly and does not have a usable passport. These types of passports are available only when expedited passport processing is too slow. The application process of getting an emergency passport is similar to getting a new one, so the traveler will need documents proving citizenship and identity in addition to passport photos. Losing a passport or having it stolen are usually not grounds for getting passport fees waived; in fact, getting a temporary passport sometimes requires the traveler to pay a relatively expensive fee.

A temporary passport may be needed when a normal passport is lost or stolen.
A temporary passport may be needed when a normal passport is lost or stolen.

A temporary passport is used when it is impossible for a person to get a passport through normal methods quickly enough. This situation usually arises when a normal passport is lost, stolen, or if a person did not have a passport to begin with and now must urgently go abroad. An emergency passport is used for the same purposes a normal passport is used for, though some countries place additional restrictions on passports for temporary use. In addition to expiring quickly, for example, temporary passports can often only be used to go to a single destination country, and then it expires. These passports usually come in a booklet form similar to a regular passport and contain the same personal details.

If necessary, U.S. citizens have several options for expediting a passport application.
If necessary, U.S. citizens have several options for expediting a passport application.

Depending on the issuing country, temporary passports may be issued on a case-by-case basis. A person seeking a passport on a temporary basis might have to provide a lot of details about his or her situation and why he or she feels purchasing the passport is necessary. In some cases, such as when a passport is stolen, the citizen is required to submit a police report along with his or her application for a temporary passport. Most countries will only consider giving someone a temporary passport if he or she convinces the governing agency that urgent travel is necessary, and normal passport procedures will not suffice. Furthermore, if a lost or stolen passport has expired, it sometimes rules out the possibility of getting a temporary one.

The cost of getting an emergency passport is usually the price of a regular passport, plus the cost of the fastest passport processing method available. Due to this, these passports are often very costly. Combined with the fact that some passport services issue the documents only on a case-by-case basis, they are mostly used as a last resort.

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Discussion Comments


These governmental agencies probably handle hundreds maybe even thousands of these requests weekly and they have set rules and guidelines in handling each case individually. One thing to also consider is that these agencies have handled so many cases and have gone through so much reform over the years that their experiences make it a lot more difficult for the wrong people to obtain temporary passports.


@kentuckycat- I understand yours and Izzy78's concern towards governmental agencies issuing temporary passports to the wrong people but it is their job to make sure mistakes are not made and they have well established rules and guidelines in dealing with every request on a case by case basis.

Each and every request for a temporary passport is looked at individually and the reasons for requesting one has to be thoroughly explained. Most temporary passport requests are made in regards to having a passport stolen, which is not at all unusual and set guidelines have been set in dealing with this situation.

For other types of requests I guarantee that they are looked at by the appropriate people and heavily scrutinized. You can never be too careful nowadays with international travel but with the all the red tape that one has to go through to receive a passport in the first place it is very difficult for the wrong people to obtain a temporary passport.


@Izzy78- I agree. Today government's have to be extra careful concerning those who request a temporary passport. Although many of the requests are innocent a governmental agency cannot be too careful in issuing these passports. Even though most of these are issued due to emergencies great thought and care has to be put into issuing these passports to the right people.


I've always wondered what process someone has to go through if they were to lose their passport or have it stolen. I have to imagine though in today's times obtaining an emergency passport requires extreme background checks and anytime someone applies for an emergency passport those who issue them immediately take note of the requests and proceed with caution.

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