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Document 41996D0409

Emergency travel document (ETD)

Emergency travel document (ETD)



Decision 96/409/CSFP on the drawing up of an emergency travel document


  • It establishes a standard model for an emergency travel document (ETD) that can be issued in the event of the loss, destruction, theft or other temporary unavailability of an EU citizen’s passport.
  • It allows for the issuing of ETDs to EU citizens for a single journey back to their EU country of origin, their country of permanent residence, or, in exceptional cases, to another destination (inside or outside the EU).



The decision does not apply to passports that have expired; it is specifically confined to cases where travel documents have been lost, stolen or destroyed, or are temporarily unavailable.

Obtaining an ETD

Embassies and consulates of EU countries issue ETDs in the following circumstances:

  • the applicant is an EU national whose passport or travel document has been lost, stolen or destroyed or is temporarily unavailable;
  • the applicant is in a country in which their EU country of origin has no accessible embassy or consulate able to issue a travel document, or is not otherwise represented;
  • clearance has been obtained from the authorities of the applicant’s country of origin.

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 their country of origin.

Charges and fees

The EU country issuing the ETD collects from the applicant the same charges and fees as those it normally charges 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the necessary funds as instructed by his/her country of origin, in accordance with Decision 95/553/EC (which will be repealed by Directive (EU) 2015/637 as of 1 May 2018).

Validity period

To ensure that citizens are able to return to a given place, the ETD should be valid for 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.

Security measures

Annex III of the decision deals with the security measures relating to the ETD. These include aspects such as the type of paper and the numbering system to be used, as well as how the seal of the issuing authority is affixed.


For more information, see:


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 (OJ L 168, 6.7.1996, pp. 4–11)

Successive amendments to Decision 96/409/CSFP have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Decision 95/553/EC of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 19 December 1995 regarding protection for citizens of the European Union by diplomatic and consular representations (OJ L 314, 28.12.1995, pp. 73–76)

Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 of 20 April 2015 on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries and repealing Decision 95/553/EC (OJ L 106, 24.4.2015, pp. 1–13)

last update 23.08.2016