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Emergency travel document (ETD)

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Emergency travel document (ETD)

While travelling, a citizen of the European Union (EU) may lose his/her passport or have it destroyed or stolen. Consequently, this decision establishes a standard model for an emergency travel document (ETD) to be issued by EU countries for the purpose of a single journey back to the applicant’s EU country of origin or of permanent residence.


Decision 96/409/CSFP of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 25 June 1996 on the establishment of an emergency travel document.


This decision establishes a standard model for an emergency travel document (ETD), as described in Annex I. ETDs are issued to European Union (EU) citizens for a single journey back to the EU country of which they are a national, to their country of permanent residence or, in exceptional cases, to another destination (inside or outside the Union). The decision does not apply to expired national passports; it is specifically confined to cases where travel documents have been lost, stolen or destroyed or are temporarily unavailable.

Obtaining an emergency travel document

Embassies and consulates of EU countries issue emergency travel documents in the following circumstances:

  • the applicant must be an EU national whose passport or travel document has been lost, stolen or destroyed or is temporarily unavailable;
  • the applicant must be in a country in which the EU country of which s/he is a national has no accessible diplomatic or consular representation able to issue a travel document or in which the EU country in question is not otherwise represented;
  • clearance from the authorities of the person’s country of origin has been obtained.

The applicant for an ETD must send an application form together with certified photocopies of any available proof of identity and nationality to the authority designated by his/her country of origin.

The EU country issuing the ETD collects from the applicant charges and fees equivalent to those it normally levies for issuing an emergency passport. An applicant who is unable to cover other local related expenditure will receive, where appropriate, the necessary funds as instructed by his/her country of origin, pursuant to the relevant provisions of Decision 95/553/EC.

To ensure that citizens are able to return to a given place, the validity period of an ETD should be slightly longer than the minimum time needed to complete the journey for which it is issued. In calculating this period, the need for overnight stops and for making travel connections should be taken into consideration.

Annex III deals with the security measures relating to the ETD.

Should an EU citizen be refused an ETD allowing them to return to the EU, they may contact the Secretariat-General of the European Commission.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 96/409/CSFP



OJ L 168 of 6.7.1996


Annexes 1 and 3

Decision 2006/881/CFSP (Official Journal L 363 of 20.12.2006).


Council Regulation (EU) No 517/2013 of 13 May 2013 adapting certain regulations and decisions in the fields of free movement of goods, freedom of movement for persons, company law, competition policy, agriculture, food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy, transport policy, energy, taxation, statistics, trans-European networks, judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security, environment, customs union, external relations, foreign, security and defence policy and institutions, by reason of the accession of the Republic of Croatia (Official Journal L 158 of 10.6.2013).

Last updated: 18.06.2014