Emergency Travel Document

If you’re travelling abroad on holiday or business, and you suddenly realise you don’t have your passport, it’s a tough spot to be in but there’s no need to panic. There’s a way around this but you should act on it as soon as possible. You will have to follow the same procedure for a new passport and meet the consular officer at the Indian Mission in the foreign country you are in.


An Emergency Travel Document is issued for the following reasons:

  • Damaged Passport
  • Stolen Passport
  • Lost or misplaced Passport
  • Burnt Passport

An Emergency Travel Document can be issued to an Indian on vacation, sightseeing or residing in a foreign country. The document is given in situations where a new passport cannot be issued without approval from India.


When you realize you do not have a passport to enter India again, you need to visit the Indian Mission of the country you are in presently. You can also the website of the Indian Embassy in the country you are in.

  • The application form might be available online which you can fill and submit. Follow the instructions and select the correct form.
  • Ensure you read all the instructions on the form carefully and follow the procedure as mentioned to avoid any delays and hassles in your application.
  • A personal interview with the consular officer is required in order to approve the Emergency Travel Document.
  • The application cannot be mailed.
  • You will be required to provide some form of identification to prove that you are Indian. Keep all necessary documents ready.
  • Approach the consular wing to get your interviewa with the consular officer. The consular officer will make a decision which will be final.
  • The ETD issued will have a validity of 1 month and you will have to travel back to India before its expiry.

Signature Requirements

  • Your signature should be clear, legible and within the box.
  • In case the applicant cannot provide a signature or is less than 5 years old, they can give a thumb impression. Right thumb impression is required for females and left thumb impression is required for males.

Photograph Requirements

Photograph requirements must be met down to the T. Failure to meet these requirements will result in your application being rejected or being put on hold. You will need to provide a professional grade photo. Photos that are printed on a personal printer will be rejected. Usually, when you go to a professional studio, they will know how to take the photograph required for the passport, so you shouldn’t have any issues there. Listed below is the passport photo requirements:

  • The photograph should be 2 inches x 2 inches or 51mm x 51mm.
  • You need a white background without anyone else or anything else in the photo but you.
  • You should wear a single colored outfit such as blue. Your outfit shouldn’t be patterned or textured. Any facial ornaments and headdresses should not obscure your face.
  • The passport office doesn’t like red eyes so make sure there aren’t any.
  • There shouldn’t be any overexposure or underexposure. The skin tone should be natural.
  • There should be adequate brightness and contrast. You need uniform lighting without any shadows on the face or in the background.
  • Your face should be clear without any obstructions such as hair or head coverings.
  • The image should be straight and centered with the person looking straight with neutral expression, which means no quirky smiles and no tilting your head.
  • The focus on the face should be sharp and clear with no ink marks, creases or lines.
  • Your face, from your forehead to your chin, should be 70 to 80% of the photo or one inch height. It should show a close up of the head and a little bit of the shoulders.
  • The eyes must be open and no hair obscuring the face.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, the lenses should be clear with a thin frame. The glasses should not obscure your eyes.
  • There shouldn’t be any lines or scratches on the photo.

Documents required

The documents required will be clearly stated in the application form. Follow the instructions carefully. The list given below are the general documents you require for an Emergency Travel Document.

  • If your passport is lost or stolen, you need to file a complaint with the police. The detailed police report will have to be submitted.
  • You need to write an Incident Report which is a letter on plain paper explaining your circumstances and address it to the Consulate General of India.
  • You might need a notarized affidavit.
  • Keep additional photographs handy, sometimes you can require up to 10 photographs for the whole procedure.
  • You can submit copies of your old passport, the first five pages and the last two pages. If you do not have your old passport, you can submit the following:
    • Any Indian Photo Identification that includes your PAN card, Voter ID, Ration Card, Driver’s Licence and so on.
    • Certificate from your school in India.
    • Indian birth certificate.
    • For students, you can submit a letter from your college or university, or your school or college ID.
  • You will have to provide proof of your stay in the foreign country and address proof of your residence in India.


The fees charged for the Emergency Travel Document is usually US$5. In addition to this, you might have to pay fees for the surrender certificate and reference to other authorities.


For cases of deportation, the application for Emergency Travel Document will have to be submitted to the Deportation Officer. The document will be delivered to the agency concerned.

There’s always a roundabout to tough circumstances. In case you need an Emergency Travel Document, you can approach the embassy or consulate in the foreign country and get all the information you require. Procedures might differ slightly between countries. Finding out the exact procedure and requirements will minimize the processing time and will give you a better shot at immediate approval.

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