[0:09] So this past weekend, I was visiting Helsinki, Finland, for the first time. And I was planning on coming back this past Sunday, but when I arrived to the airport, I realized that I did not have my passport. And I got very worried and very panicky. I was like, "Oh my gosh, how did I lose my passport?" or whatnot. Thankfully, it was just at my friend's place and it was there. However I did miss my flight and everything, and that whole experience kind of prompted this idea for the episode, of essentially: What do you do if you lose your passport? And we're gonna talk about what you do if you lose your passport in Berlin. So keep in mind that the research that I gathered up is somewhat specific to US citizens. The steps or requirements might be different depending on where you're from but I think the journey is more or less the same. So the number one legal requirement that you must do is report your lost or stolen passport. Why? Well, essentially, if you don't, there's potential consequences such as potential identity death and also difficulties obtaining a new passport.
[1:25] You can go on the official travel.state.gov website to also report your lost/stolen passport, or you can contact the embassy. So there are two embassies in Germany. There's the US Embassy in Berlin, and the US Consulate General at Frankfurt. Okay, essentially there's one embassy, but those are the nearest US diplomatic missions in Germany, I think, for Berlin people. So what the embassy or consulate's role is, is essentially just to provide assistance and support to US citizens who are in distress while traveling or living abroad. And it's a very important resource for US citizens, especially if they've had their passport stolen, they need help obtaining new ones, as well as other issues or emergencies that also might arise. They can help issue temporary travel documents if you need to travel urgently and you don't have time to obtain a new passport. They can provide notary services, including certifying documents and administrating oaths. They can also offer assistance in emergencies, such as natural disasters, civil unrest or medical emergencies, and then also provide local resources such as hospitals, lawyers and interpreters. So now the specific process that you would essentially go to, is you would contact the nearest embassy. You can do this by phone, email, or in person and they will essentially provide you with guidance on how to proceed.
[2:59] The steps that I found, goes like, you'll complete a required form, which is called the DS-11 application for a US passport, and then a DS-64 statement regarding a lost or stolen passport. Both of these can be obtained directly on the US Department of State website or obtained at the embassy or consulate. You'll also need to provide identification, such as a driver's license or other government-issued ID. If you don't have that identification, then that's when the embassy or consulate can actually help you obtain alternative forms of identification. You'll need to also provide evidence of your citizenship. This might be in the form of a birth certificate or previous US passport. You also need to pay a fee for your new passport, and then the fee will also vary depending on the type of passport you use and how quickly you want to receive it. And then, the last step is you have to just wait for your new passport to be processed. It really does depend on the time of the year, but once again, the embassy or consulate can actually help provide that advice.
[4:11] Now, another thing that you might have to consider when losing or getting your passport stolen, is your visa standards, your visa requirements.
[4:23] Essentially, you'll need to apply for a new visa. If you lost your passport and it contains the actual visa, you'll need to then apply for a new visa with your replacement passport. And then you can generally do this the same place you apply for any visa at the "Oslandebahuda..." Ausländerbehörde: I'm still butchering it! I literally try, like I Google-translated to try to pronounce it, this is the best we can do! So give me ... give me some compassion! Now going back to the visa thing, if your visa is expired, you might actually face a little bit of penalties, such as fines, deportation, or difficulty obtaining a new visa. So once again, it is very important to contact the Ausländerbehörde as soon as possible to explain the situation and apply for an extension or change of status. And then, last but not least, if you're overstaying your visa, you might face even more fines and deportation. And like I say, it is really important to contact the Ausländerbehörde - however you pronounce it! - because if you don't, then you can get into a lot of serious trouble.
[5:40] Let's say that you are here on your Schengen visa and you only have like 90 days, and you lost your passport on the 89th day.It's very important that they know that: Hey, I lost my passport and I can't really leave, or having trouble leaving, or whatnot, and this is my situation. And maybe they can allow you to stay in Germany till you get your visa or till you get your new passport or whatnot. I don't know, but I think it'll be very important just to talk to them. We all know how Germany's bureaucracy is, and they really like to follow their rules. So I would not risk anything of yeah, any temptation or whatnot, of just not having things work out the way that you want them to. The embassy might also be able to provide you some assistance and anything in regards to your visa, especially when it comes to maybe recommending you immigration lawyers in Berlin. They can also, like I said, provide you emergency travel documents or providing proof of citizenship. But that might be really, really, really important, especially if you're trying to navigate the legal process in Germany, having an immigration lawyer could, I think, really be a big benefit to that.
[6:53] Now, the also important thing is some prevention tips.
[7:00] Obviously, the way that I lost or forgot my passport was I was repacking and I had taken it out, and then I think I must just misplaced it and forgot to put it back into my bag. But also always ensuring that your passport is secure. They have like those travel wallets or patches that can be worn around the neck or waist and under hidden clothing. And this can keep your passport safe, other important documents secure, and also reduce the risk of death.
[7:30] This is a common one, but be aware of your surroundings. Keep your passport and other important documents secure and within reach, especially in public areas, especially if you're at an airport, especially if you're at a tram, especially if you're waiting at the bus stop or whatnot. If you look like a tourist, most likely you'll be targeted as a tourist. And even if you don't look like a tourist, It's just really important, I think, just to rather be on the safe than sorry side of things. Another thing that I actually started doing was also making digital copies of my passports in other important documents. You can store this on a secure cloud-based server, such as iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox. But this also allows you to quickly at least pull it up if you need to get the information out to certain authorities or whatnot. they can at least show that you have something.
[8:23] I also like to keep a copy of my passport at home. Or basically if I'm walking around Berlin, I won't actually carry my passport with me when I have my visa, but also what I'll do, I have a copy of my passport that I will carry around with me. So if anyone needs to see any sort of ID or whatnot, they have that. Also, you can give a copy of your passport to a friend or something like that, just so once again, there is some secure ... your documents are secure someplace. Another thing that I don't think I've actually done and I probably need to do this, is registering with your embassy or consulate. So essentially when you move to Berlin, go register yourself at the US consulate if you're a US citizen, or whatever the consulate is for your country. And this can make it easier for them to contact you in case of an emergency and also provide assistance if you do lose your passport.
[9:25] Secure your accommodation when staying in a hotel or hostel, use the safe that's provided to you to store your passport and other important documents. It's not safe, necessarily, just to include it in your luggage without it being secure. So if there is no safe, get one of those luggage locks or something that can keep yourself secure. They also, like on Amazon, I've seen those travel safes that you can buy too. So what might be even the best secure thing to do is if your place has a safe, get one of the travel safes and put that safe inside of the safe, or put that travel safe inside of your suitcase and then lock that suitcase. But once again, I'm really big on this "rather be safe than sorry" type of mindset.
[10:12] And also, last but not least, be careful with personal information, be careful who you're sharing personal information with, be careful also how you are accessing your personal information, especially on public wifi, especially in airports or areas that are very, very, very public and have a lot of people. It's always good to use a VPN just to secure that your internet is safe as well, and also password managers such as 1Password are really good as well. The VPN that I use is Surfshark. Once again, they're not sponsored.
[10:47] And the password manager that I use: I use a mix of iCloud, Keychain, and then also 1Password as well. Not sponsored, but definitely really helpful in those senses. So this was a very quick episode. Of course, you can get most of your information if you Google it or do some research. And this information might change, it might be different depending on the time that you're listening to this, but this is the most recent information I could get whenever I did the looking it up.
[11:21] So, yep, I hope this was helpful. Please reach out to us if you guys have any questions. Once again, we do have a Discord available. So if you guys are interested in joining our community and speaking with other people who are moving to Berlin, live in Berlin, or who are just fans of Berlin, please join us there as well. Hope you guys have an amazing week and talk to you guys soon.