What To Do When You Lose Your Passport

Your passport is like your ticket to new worlds, different lands, exotic destinations and ancient ruins. There’s no doubt that losing your passport may feel as terrible as losing your wallet.

Bet instead of losing your mind if you do happen to lose your passport, it’s important to collect yourself and follow some very simple steps. The steps to take depend on whether you have lost your passport at home or abroad. We’ll lay out both scenarios for you just in case.

If You Lose Your Passport in the United States

If your passport has been lost or stolen while you are in the United States, take the following steps immediately:

Step #1 – Complete Form DS-64. Fill out as much of the form as you can, even if the information is difficult to recall. Answering the passport information questions in detail and sign your name at the bottom.

If you do not intend to apply for a replacement passport when you report yours missing, then you must submit Form DS-64 to the specified address.

If you don’t have access to a printer or computer so that you can print the form from home, pick up a hard copy at an Acceptance Facility (many post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township, and municipal government offices that are designated to accept passport applications) or Passport Agency.

Step #2 – If you would like to not only report your passport as missing but also apply for a new one, then you must fill out a new passport form, Form DS-11, the Application for Passport, as if applying for a new U.S.A. passport.

Once the form is completed, bring it along with the DS-64 to the closest Passport Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency. Form DS-11 may not be submitted in the mail. You will also need two 2×2 passport photos, Proof of US Citizenship, and the applicable fees.

If you need your new passport in less than two weeks for international travel or within four weeks to get an international visa, you can expedite the issuance process. If this is the case, you need to make an appointment through the National Passport Information Center to be seen at a Regional Passport Agency.

You can find the closest location online, or call 1-877-487-2778. Keep in mind that in addition to the $165 fee you will incur to obtain a new passport, expedited service will cost at least an additional $60.

If You Lose Your Passport Abroad

So what happens if you are overseas and you happen to lose your passport or it is stolen? The answer is not as clear cut, as the protocols and procedures vary from country to country.

However, first things first, you must immediately contact the closest US Embassy or Consulate to report the lost passport.  Then, you must visit the Embassy or Consulate in person and apply for a new passport.

You can search online to find a list of all US Embassy and Consulate websites.  On each country’s website you will be able to find addresses and phone numbers of the embassy or consulate, as well as what to do (depending on the particular country) if your passport has been lost or stolen.

Whether you are at home in the United States or abroad, one small detail that is worth mentioning is how helpful a photocopy of your passport would be. No, it is not going to get you on a plane, but it will contain the pertinent information you need when filling out the above forms. Plus, a copy of your passport can help you prove that you are who you say you are.

So, save yourself some time and always keep a copy of your passport handy either at home or in your suitcase if you’re traveling.

Published or Updated: March 20, 2013
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Great article and overview! Yes, so many people have no clue what to do when they lose their passport, especially when overseas. The photo copy idea is what my wife and I do, and after talking with a few of our friends that have unfortunately lost theirs while traveling abroad, it has proved to be an invaluable action. Always, always, always carry a photo copy of your passport, and it might actually be a good idea to keep a scanned copy with somoene else that you can trust. That way, if you can get to a computer or email access, they could send it to you, or you could just retrieve it “from the cloud” if you have it saved on some server space. Keep up the awesome posts!

    • DR says:

      Dr. Lawler, nice tip on scanning the passport!

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