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My girlfriend and I are supposed to travel from Paris to London on Friday and come back a few days later. My girlfriend lost her passport in August and declared it to the French police.

She found it later and is now in possession of both her old passport and the declaration of loss.

Someone at the town hall told her that since she did not start the procedure to get a new passport, the old one should still be valid. But reading French laws, it seems to me that the passport must not be used anymore and I fear that the declaration of loss may not be enough to travel to the UK.

We are going on EasyJet from Paris to London and Vueling from London to Paris. Should I be worried about the travel and will French or English immigration or one of the airline refuse to let us pass?

The worst case scenario would be if the French police let us pass and EasyJet take us to the UK but the UK border officials send us back. I think the return flight would be at our expense.

  • Not sure it makes much of a difference, but what nationality is she? If she's from an EU country that issues ID cards, does she have one? The passport should have been added to a database of lost or stolen passports, and that database should be used and shared, and use of a passport in that database should lead to problems. Not quite sure what the reality is nowadays in that respect (whether the database actually exists, is actually updated with individual declarations of loss, is actually shared and with whom, and is actually checked). – jcaron Dec 12 '18 at 23:34
  • Also, a 4 months-old declaration of loss will probably not be useful at all. – jcaron Dec 12 '18 at 23:35
  • @jcaron She's French – schagin Dec 12 '18 at 23:38
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    and she doesn't have an ID card (carte d'identité)? That would be the simplest and safest option. – jcaron Dec 12 '18 at 23:41
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    Of course, she must have seen the big red box at the top of the form which says "Toute déclaration de perte ou de vol rend votre titre définitivement invalide. Si vous le retrouvez, vous devrez le remettre à l’autorité de délivrance et en aucun cas en faire usage."? – jcaron Dec 12 '18 at 23:50
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Edited: added details about the Interpol SLTD database and what they say about using a passport declared lost, and about emergency passports.

The form used to declare the loss of an identity card or passport (Cerfa 14011*02) has this big red box at the top:

enter image description here

Translation:

Any declaration of loss or theft renders the ID definitively invalid. If you find it, you have to bring it to the authority which delivered it and not make use of it in any case.

(emphasis mine)

The official government website service-public.fr also states:

Une carte d'identité ou un passeport déclaré perdu sera invalidé et ne pourra plus être utilisé

Translation:

An ID card or a passport declared lost will be invalidated and will no longer be usable.

(emphasis mine)

In theory, a passport or ID card declared lost should have been entered into a database of lost or stolen IDs, which should be available to the authorities and possibly to foreign authorities via Interpol's SLTD. If you use such an ID and they find out, not only will the ID be invalid, but you might get into quite some trouble to prove that you are the person represented in that ID, and not someone who stole it.

Interpol says:

Advice for travellers

Do not attempt to travel with a document that you have reported as lost or stolen.

Once you have declared your travel document as lost or stolen to your national authorities, it is cancelled and considered invalid. The details of the document are passed on to INTERPOL and entered into the SLTD database. Border officials in INTERPOL's member countries can screen passenger information directly against the SLTD database. Selected airlines can submit the document details through I-Checkit for screening.

If you try to travel with an invalid document, entry or boarding is denied. The travel document is seized to prevent its future use and you cannot travel.

Whether that actually happens (i.e. whether the passport was entered into the database, whether the french border police (PAF) actually have access to it and check it, and whether the UK border police have access to it and check it) is anyone's guess, but you should probably not try it. The PAF often just have a quick cursory glance at french IDs and could thus miss the fact that it's reported lost, but the UK border police will nearly certainly check. If they have access to the information, you will be in trouble.

Best case, she could go back to the place where she filed the form (the police) and ask them if they did indeed file the information into the database (or if the form just went to "vertical filing" aka the trash can). Maybe she was lucky and they just didn't do anything with it. But I pretty much doubt it. IIRC at some point only large-scale thefts of blank IDs were recorded, but that has probably changed by now.

Note that even if there was a procedure to revert the declaration (officially there isn't), it would probably take a long time to take effect everywhere, if at all.

The form also states:

Cette déclaration ne vaut pas document d’identité.

Translation:

This form is not an ID document

So you cannot use it instead of a valid ID document, only use it to get new ID. And even if you could use it as a temporary replacement in an emergency, it would most definitely be useless 4 months later, no police force will seriously consider it.

  • If your girlfriend has a national ID card (carte d'identité, CNI), then she should use that.

  • Otherwise, she should apply for a new passport and/or ID card and you should postpone your trip.

Note that she could apply for a temporary emergency passport (same-day delivery), but the rules to get one are quite strict (medical or family emergency, work emergency...). "I forgot to ask for a new passport to go to London for the week-end" does not quite qualify, but YMMV...

Good luck!

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