A Hawke's Bay woman is fighting to leave India, her holiday plans with her husband shattered and her travel bills rising, after a courier company lost her passport.

In December, Hastings man Jas Singh sent his and his wife Navneet Kaur's Indian passports to Canadian immigration for a holiday visa stamp.

They both planned to visit family and holiday there in February, after Kaur visited her ill mother in hospital in India over New Year.

The couple's passports were sent to VFS Global, Auckland, which then sent them across to Sydney for visa labels for Canadian Immigration.

Advertisement

The passports were then returned to Auckland and sent back to Singh via Courier Post.

But when Singh's package arrived just days before Kaur had planned to leave for India, they realised her passport was missing.

"We tried to track it down for a few days and then we were told by the courier that it had been misplaced," Singh said.

"I said well if you've lost it you need to let us know so we can get a new one.

"That was on December 18 and my wife was going to India on December 26, so we needed to act quickly."

However, Courier Post told Singh they could not declare the passport lost for 15 days.

He and his wife visited the Napier and Hastings branches to see if they could find out what had happened.

"I spoke to a couple of courier drivers and they knew nothing about it."

Singh's wife managed to get an emergency passport and is still in Punjab, India. She has spent hours at the passport office in the past week trying to obtain a new one, but the system is a strict and cumbersome one. Singh has had to send documents from New Zealand to help the process.

Singh has no idea how long the new passport will take and the couple did not take out travel insurance for his wife's trip.

"We booked a return ticket originally for her return in January and now we've had to pay another $600 to change the date so she has a bit more time. She's supposed to be coming home in February.

"The courier company has told us they'll replace the passport cost, but not our ticket cost."

Once Singh's wife gets a new passport, she will have to send it to New Zealand immigration for her residency visa.

"Then, when she gets back home, she'll have to send it to Canadian Immigration again. So it's just ruined our entire holiday. I just hope she gets the passport before her ticket, otherwise we will have to pay more."

A New Zealand Post media spokesperson said " regrettably from time to time losses can occur".

"In these situations, we have processes in place to locate the item, and where this is not possible, to provide for compensation as appropriate, and in accordance with our terms of service.

"Our teams were well aware how important this was for the receiver and are disappointed we could not locate the item. We are now working through the claims process to as efficiently as possible to get this matter resolved for them.

"We are sincerely apologetic for the inconvenience this has caused."

Southern Cross Travel Insurance chief executive Chris White said the unexpected can and did happen before leaving the country.

"In terms of deadlines for booking travel insurance, it has to be before you leave the country. You can apply online right up to the day you leave, however.

Given the situation, Southern Cross couldn't guarantee insurance cover for a situation like Singh and Kaur's but said it did have variety of policies that could have assisted them.

"You never know what unforeseen event might disrupt your plans. Whether it's a natural disaster at your destination or a serious illness, it pays to be prepared."