How to Keep Your Passport Safe and What To Do If You Lose It

October 25, 2016

 Do you know where your passport is right now?  Are you certain?  Go ahead and check….you know you want to

It’s just where it should be? Good! But…what if it isn’t?  What if it were stolen or lost either while you’re at home in the U.S. or, worse when you are traveling in a foreign country?  What would you do?

Here is some valuable information that we hope will help you to be reunited with your current passport or will help you to apply for a replacement passport.

Steps to Take to Report a Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport
  • Immediately report that your passport has been lost or stolen.  By doing this you are protecting yourself from having your identity stolen by people who will use it to benefit themselves to your detriment.
  • Once your passport is reported as lost or stolen, it immediately becomes invalid and can no longer be used for international travel.  So it’s best to be absolutely certain that you didn’t merely ‘misplace’ your passport before you report it as MIA!
  • Who ya gonna call to report your passport lost or stolen?  You have 3 options:

1.  Online: Go to the U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Passports & International Travel page which provides you with the steps to take to make your report online.

2.  By Phone: To report a lost or stolen passport

From the U.S. & Canada 1-888-407-4747
From Overseas +1 202-501-4444

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Save the contact details of the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate on your phone

3.  By Mail: Submit Form DS-64 which you have completed in full, including your signature. You will find all of the required forms and mailing address on this page.

Steps to Take to Replace a Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport Abroad

If you are outside the U.S. when your passport is lost or stolen, you will have to replace it before you can re-enter the U.S.  Here is what you’ll need to do:

Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance.

For the contact information of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the specific country you are visiting, do a search on this webpage and take the information with you.

The embassy or consulate will require documentation from you in order to replace your lost or stolen U.S. passport.  This documentation will include:

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship – birth certificate, copy of your passport
  • ID – driver’s license
  • Airline/Cruise line/Railway/ tickets – to prove where you traveled from and where you will be returning to
  • Passport photo – if possible, get this done before going to the embassy to expedite the replacement process
  • Police report – if you filed a report with the local police regarding your stolen passport, take a copy of the report with you to the embassy. If you have been the victim of a serious crime, make the U.S. embassy aware of it so they can provide assistance to you
  • Form DS-64 – this is the Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport which you will need to complete.  You can do this in person at the embassy
  • Form DS-11 – this is the Application for Passport.  You will be able to complete this form at the embassy

If you are unable to provide all of this documentation, the embassy staff still will do whatever they can to assist you in replacing your passport in a timely manner.

Be aware that most U.S. embassies and consulates cannot issue passports on weekends or national holidays when the embassy/consulate typically is closed.

In the event of a crisis, there are officers available 24-7 for life or death emergencies for any U.S. citizen traveling abroad.  You can contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance at any time if you have been attacked or are the victim of another serious crime, or if you have to travel sooner than scheduled due to a serious emergency situation.

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There are officers available 24-7 for life or death emergencies

Steps to Take to Replace a Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport in the U.S.

The following information is cited directly from U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Passports & International Travel page.

To replace a lost or stolen passport, you must submit Form DS-11 in person.

IF... THEN...
You are in the United States and are traveling in 2 weeks or less Make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center to replace your passport. (Based on need, some restrictions apply.)
You are in the United States and are not traveling within 2 weeks Make an appointment (if required) to apply at an authorized passport acceptance facility to replace your passport.
Steps to Take to Prevent Your Passport Getting Lost or Stolen

Your passport is a valuable and extremely important document!  Do whatever you can to ensure that it stays safe when you are traveling.

  • Carry your passport in a hidden neck-stash that you can secure around your neck and under your clothing
  • Alternatively, carry your passport in a hidden money belt which can be worn under your clothing
  • Secure your passport (and credit cards) from identification theft by storing it in an RFID-blocking cover.  This will prevent the information on it being ‘skimmed’ from your passport (and your credit cards).

Important Passport Info:

  • Apply for a passport well in advance of your travel date, or renew your current passport if necessary.
  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you are scheduled to return home.
  • Check the expiry dates of the passports for all family members traveling, as children’s passports expire sooner (valid for 5 years) than do passports for adults (valid for 10 years).
  • Confirm if you require a visa to enter the country you plan to visit.  This document is in addition to your passport.

Travel Tips:

  • Sign your passport, and complete the emergency contact information.  If your passport is lost, this will assist greatly with getting it returned to its rightful owner….you.
  • Carry a copy of your current passport with you (separate from the actual passport). This will expedite the replacement process.  Or, leave a copy with a friend or family member who can email or courier the copy to you if necessary.
  • Carry with you the contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate, in English AND in the local language.

Written by Katie Anton