Lectrice Lesson/TAPIF Tip: What to do When Your Papers are Stolen

If you ever find yourself in the similar situation of having your visa/passport stolen as a lecteur or assistant, I created a possible step-by-step process for replacing them, since I couldn’t find any other resources online.

Immediately Following the Theft (Day 1):

1. File a Police Report, or a “Déclaration de Dépossession de Passeport.” Be sure to do this in the city at the local police station where the crime was committed. You will need this official document when you are filing to replace papers, documents, passports, visas, insurance claims, etc. You will not be able to replace any papers without this. This should be the first thing you do, and absolutely DO NOT leave the city until you have filed and received an official copy of the police report.

2. Call your banks or go online and cancel your credit cards immediately. Block any potential charges or cash withdrawals.

3. Report your passport stolen to the US Embassy in your current country. For me, I reported it stolen in Brussels by phone, and then in Paris online, since that’s the embassy where I needed to replace the passport (and inquire about my visa.

4. If you have any spare credit cards, figure out if someone can wire you money.

5. Organize yourself, and get home safely. Breathe. Give yourself a break.

Day 2

5. Schedule an appointment at the US Embassy online for a new passport. You can only do this online, and it costs 14,50€ to talk to anyone at the embassy via phone. Make sure you follow the instructions completely and bring ALL necessary paperwork (Printed appointment ticket, current passport (if damaged or mutilated), or police report, Form DS-11, Form DS-67, one current U.S. standard size passport photograph for biometric passports with white background, Social Security number and/or card, payment by cash or card or either $135 or 108€, any form of photo ID that you still have, and one self-addressed Chronopost envelope for the return of passport.) I also brought copies of every document I own, just in case.

6. If you are a lecteur, contact your university secretaries, and let them know what’s going on. For me this worked to my advantage because the secretary knows someone who works at the Sous Prefecture and was able to speed up my visa replacement process. If you are an American TAPIF assistant, contact Carolyn Collins in DC, as well as your school(s).

In the meantime…

7. Order replacement credit cards at your banks

8. File an insurance claim to see if you can get any of the documents reimbursed (for me, this was through my French bank and covered my passport, French credit card, and visa.) This is where having travel insurance comes in handy.

9. Replace any other possible documents (for me, this included a Duplicata Carte Jeune, a duplicate of my American Driver’s License (which was sent to my parents’, who then mailed it to me), and an ISIC Youth Identity Card.

After Receiving (or While Waiting for) Your New Passport:

10. Contact OFII by phone email, or both. For me, I had much more success via email. Chances are, if your situation is like mine, you will have to come in for your doctor’s appointment, and then instead of receiving a vignette you will receive an official form from OFII stating you completed your doctor’s appointment to give to the Prefecture or Sous-Prefecture.

11. Contact the Prefecture or Sous-Prefecture of your region or town (in my town, this is strictly done by email.) Explain that you need a new Titre de Sejour. They should get back to you within a week with an attached list of documents (4 passport photos, passport and copies of identity pages, visas, and entrance stamp, official police report and a copy of the police report, two self-addressed return envelopes weighing at least 25 grams, quittance de loyer or proof of living situation, OFII documents, and the prefectures’s attached forms) as well as an appointment date (for me this was at the end of November!)

12. Get all the necessary forms together, go to your appointment and drop off your dossier, and wait. Eventually, the Prefecture will then contact you to come back, sign an official form, have your finger prints taken, and give you a recépissé, which serves as your carte de séjour until your real carte arrives, about one or two months later. With your recépissé, you should be fine to travel again.

I still tell myself this, but don’t worry so much, you’ll be fine. For a play-by-play of my experience, check out my post here.



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