Help! What Do I Do About a Lost Passport?
42% of Americans hold passports. That gives them ample chances to lose them. This can ruin an entire vacation, or at least make it extremely stressful. It can also make it so you can’t travel out of the United States. For some, that may not be a worry. But if you’ve got a trip planned abroad, it might be a huge drama.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, what do you do?
In this article, we’ll discuss what you can do in the event of a lost passport and how to replace it.
Report Your Passport Lost or Stolen
The first thing you’ll need to do is report your passport as lost or stolen. Passports are the property of the United States government, meaning that no one can unlawfully keep them.
You can use this link to report your stolen or lost passport online.
Alternately, you can print out and mail the DS-64 form. The form itself will have an address when you can mail it.
You can also call 1-877-487-2778 to report your lost or stolen passport. You will need to fill out the DS-64 form, however, if you want your passport replaced. You will send this form in with form DS-11 to get a new passport.
Reporting a Lost Passport Abroad
If you’re abroad and you’ve lost your passport, this can be a little bit trickier. But all is not lost.
Find your nearest US Embassy or consulate. They will be able to issue you an emergency passport to use to get you either back to the United States, your home country or to use on the rest of your vacation.
Many times, these passports are labeled “emergency” and are only valid for a short time. They can be valid for up to a year and will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
What to Do If You’ve Lost Your Passport in the US But Have a Trip Abroad Soon
You’ll need to apply in person at your nearest passport agency or center. They will be able to help you get your passport as quickly as possible. Before you go, you will need to make an appointment.
If You’re Not Leaving the Country Within the Next Three Weeks
If you’re not leaving the country within the next three weeks, you can apply to have your passport replaced at your nearest passport acceptance center. You may or may not need an appointment. This will depend on the agency and their restrictions.
Replacing a Passport
When you apply for a passport originally, you will need to fill out form DS-11. This can typically be sent via US mail. But since you do not have your previous passport, they cannot readily verify your identity. As such, you’ll need to fill out form DS-11 in person at an agency. This can also be done at US consulates.
Verifying Your Identity
You will also need to verify your identity before the government issues you with you with a new passport. Your identity can be verified at the passport agency center. You should go to your nearest one for the most convenient processing.
Passport agents may work at your local post office or courthouse. They will verify your identity. You must bring a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization papers to prove you are a United States citizen.
Additionally, you will need to provide a state or other ID, such as a passport card, that has been issued to you at least six months ago. This is to prove your identity against your other documents.
The passport agent will witness you signing the documents and then will seal them for you. They will give them to you to process either with an agency or to send yourself.
Other Documents You Will Need
If you are traveling within the next few weeks, you will need to bring proof of travel. This can include an itinerary or tickets for your travel location.
You will also need two 2″ x 2″ photos of yourself that comply with the United States passport photo policy. These photos will be placed on your new passport, which will be valid for the next 10 years. If you are under the age of 16, your passport will only be valid for the next 5 years.
How Much Does It Cost?
When replacing a lost or stolen passport, your application will be treated as though it is a new one. This means you’ll send in your documents and must pay the same $110 fee that everyone who is applying for a passport for the first time pays. If you are under the age of 16, you will pay a fee of $80.
This is payable at the time you make the application.
You can opt for expedited service that is $60. This will allow your new passport to be with you much more quickly.
A Lost or Stolen Passport Isn’t the End of the World
While having a lost passport can be stressful, it shouldn’t color your entire experience, especially if you’ve lost it abroad. American embassies and consulates are used to your fellow countrymen coming to them in a panic about lost or stolen passports. They will know exactly how to handle it and can help you immediately.
For more information about everything related to US passports, visit our site. It’s chock full of information related to renewals, passport guidelines and everything you’ll need for getting your passport without a headache.