They Have Stolen My Personal Documents! What Should I Do?


Visiting a foreign city is on many people’s bucket list, and it is not only fun and exciting but also educational.

Having your personal documents stolen in your own country can be quite a hassle, but having them stolen in another country could be a dramatic experience. It may feel like the worst holiday of your life.

Barcelona is basically a safe city, but as in any big city, there are also thieves, especially in the city centre and in specific tourist areas. So today, this article by ShBarcelona will focus on what to do when your personal documents have been stolen in Barcelona.

Related article: What Not to Do in Barcelona

Steps to take when documents have been stolen

four credit cards in back pocket of jeans

Photo via Pixabay

Everyone runs the risk of having his or her wallet, purse or back pack stolen, and if it only contained money, then it this is still not a happy event, but if you have also lost all your personal documents, then it can turn into a real drama, because depending on where you are, procedures can be quite unknown and time consuming.

File an official theft report

In case they have stolen your identity card, passport or driving licence, you must file a report. The report can be made in person at any police station or online.

Just remember that if you will file your report online, you will have to pick a printed version up at the police station and sign it in order for it to be a valid police report. (This might be necessary for the insurance.)

Cancel your bank cards

If you had any bank cards with you at the time of the theft – or if you have lost them – you should notify your bank immediately. The bank will then cancel the cards, and this will prevent anyone else from using them.

Your bank will also be able to tell you what other steps to take.

Theft of passport

Of course the procedure for visitors from outside of the country is different than for Spanish residents. If your passport is lost or stolen, you should contact your embassy or consulate (whichever is closest) for specific information.

Most of the time you need to file a police report and you might need to order an emergency passport.

Your embassy or consulate will be able to tell you exactly what is the case in your situation, and whether you even need a passport before returning home from your holiday. In some situations you can arrange for a new passport at your own city council after having travelled back home.

Related article: Hospitals in Barcelona

Theft of driving licence

black wallet on table with 200 euro notes

Photo via Pixabay

If you have lost your licence while on holiday in Spain, please check if you need a police report. This website will give you general information if you live in Europe and have travelled to Spain.

If you are from the U.S. or from Australia (or another country), always check with the embassy or consulate form your home country.

Spanish residents or foreigners with a Spanish driving licence need to file a report at the Mossos d’Esquadra. This will prevent any responsibility if someone abuses your licence.

You can get a copy of your driving licence at any of the offices of the jefaturas provinciales de trafico. If you had lost it and you find the original after receiving your copy, you need to return it again to the same office.

NIE lost or stolen

If you are living in Barcelona as a foreigner and your NIE (Numero de Identidad de Extranjero) is stolen, then you should get a copy of your NIE at the oficinas de extranjeros as soon as possible.

General advice

When travelling abroad, don’t carry all your money with you at the same time. Put smaller amounts in different places. Use the ATM’s of official banks, and if you need to exchange money, use official offices to avoid money scams.

When leaving your accommodation, make sure you have several copies of your personal documents and leave the originals in the hotel safe or another safe place.

If you will be travelling in Spain by car (rental car or private vehicle), then make sure you leave nothing valuable in the car. Anything that is visible from the outside of the vehicle will be an invitation to break the window and search the car for other valuable items.

Have your documents ever been stolen?