What to do if your US passport gets lost or stolen

It’s the traveler's worst nightmare; you pack your bags with enthusiasm and reach the airport just in time to realize your passport is missing. Even worse, can you imagine what it’d be like to stay stranded in a foreign country with only a few bucks remaining and without a possibility to come back home?

What to do if your passport is stolen

In case you’ve experienced these situations already, you know just how stressful they can be. However, there are a few steps you can take in order to resume your journey in the quickest way possible. Let’s look at all the possibilities.

Double check everything

Try to keep documents with you at all times, and double check when you leave the house or a hotel. Sometimes, these things can get misplaced, so before you start to panic, calmly go through your luggage once again. Passports rarely get stolen, so if you don’t drop it along the way, chances are you won’t have to go through this grueling ordeal.

Certain bags, such as the Standard’s Carry-on backpack, have a special compartment suitable for carrying documents, so this might be your best option for that additional peace of mind.

Report your passport is missing

So, you’ve double checked everything and passport is nowhere to be found? Bummer. Still, there’s no point to cry over spilt milk, so take one of these three actions in order to get things back on track.

  1. Phone calls - Dial 1-877-487-2778 toll-free and report that your passport is stolen or lost. Follow the instructions carefully and you’ll be good to go.
  2. Online - If Internet is your preferred medium, or you simply don’t have access to landlines or a mobile, don’t worry, there’s an alternative here as well. US Department of State has you covered, as they created a special online form which you can use to report that your documents are missing. What you need to do is visit their website and click on the "Report Lost or Stolen" tab.
  3. Mail - Just in case you aren’t in such a rush, there’s also a possibility to use mail for these services. All you need to do is fill out a Form DS-64 and mail it to the specified address.

What are the costs?

Naturally, this little adventure won’t only derail your traveling arrangements, it’ll also set you back a couple bucks. Just how much? You’ll need to pay $170 to US Department of State as well as an additional $25 in regards to Passport Acceptance Agent fees. Need any more reasons to be extra careful next time?

How long will I have to wait?

You’d be surprised to hear that it usually takes up to 8 weeks until your new passport arrives in the mail. In case you cannot wait that long, there’s expedited service as well, which will speed up the process to about 2-3 weeks for a government fee of $60. Sounds like too steep of a price to pay?

What happens if I lose a passport while abroad?

Once again, we come back to this nightmare scenario. In order to cross the foreign border and return to the United States, you’ll need to have a passport. So, in case you lose it, these are the steps you need to take.

First of all, locate a U.S. consulate or embassy, which will assist you along the way. Upon arriving, you’ll need to find Consular Section to report your passport has been lost. There are also a couple of documents you’ll need in order to replace your passport in a foreign country, and those include:

  • A passport photo
  • A document confirming your identification
  • Provide proof that you’re a U.S. citizen
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Possible police report, in case your documents have been stolen
  • DS-11 Application for Passport, and DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport (both of which can be completed on the spot)

In case your money has also been stolen, you can also borrow money from the State Department which will fund your trip back. By doing this, you’ll receive a limited-validity passport, which you can later replace when you return home safely.

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