Our new website is optimized for the most current web browsing technology. If you are using an older web browser, part of our website may not function properly as designed. Please consider upgrading your browser for an error free experience.
If you have travelled abroad, you may have found yourself experiencing some pre-travel jitters. Maybe you considered some worst-case scenarios – such as losing your passport while traveling. While it is prudent to consider various possibilities, the last thing you want is to spoil your travels with unnecessary worry.
But what do you do if the worst does happen, and you find yourself abroad with a lost or stolen passport?
No one likes to be caught unawares. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help prepare you for this type of incident. You can cut out so much worry while traveling by planning and preparing prior to your trip.
Steps to Take Before You Travel
Pack a copy of your passport. I would encourage both a paper copy and a digital photo.
Research and obtain the address and contact information for the US Embassy/Consulate in each country you are visiting. Keep this with you as you travel, either on paper or digital. This information can be found at travel.state.gov under the country specific information part of their website.
Pack a full travel itinerary that shows all flights and travel dates; paper &/or digital.
Make sure to have your driver’s license or a valid ID (something other than your passport) while traveling.
If you like to be over-prepared you could obtain Passport Photos ahead of time and bring them with you.
Steps to Take While Abroad
The first thing you want to do, is ensure that your passport is indeed lost or stolen. Once you report it lost or stolen, it will no longer be valid even if it turns up later.
Next step is to actually report it as lost or stolen. This will ensure that it cannot be misused in any manner by third parties. You can report it by calling the following number: toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793) or by submitting Form DS-64 online. *You can file a local police report for a stolen passport, which could help prevent the misuse of your passport. However, this could delay the process of obtaining your replacement, so bear that in mind.
You will then need to contact the closest US Embassy or Consulate (remember that handy list you prepared ahead of time). Application for a new passport must be done in person. You will need to bring a completed Form DS-64 and Form DS-11, a valid form of ID, and passport photos. *Bringing copies of your lost/stolen passport can be helpful, however, you will still need to present a valid form of ID such as a Driver’s License.
You will also want to have your travel itinerary on hand, this will ensure you receive the necessary documents in time for your departure date. If your itinerary is tight you might receive a temporary card/passport to get you home.
Once you have summited your application you will be given further instructions on receiving your replacement. You can now get back to enjoying the rest of your stay.
While losing your passport might be a scary and daunting thought; being familiar with the system in place and knowing what steps to take can help ease many of your fears. Now you can move forward with your travels a little more prepared and a lot less worried.