What would you do?

If You Lose Your Passport Abroad, Would You Know What To Do?

These Six Steps will Save you Time and Energy…


I recently read an article about a woman who lost her passport while she was traveling overseas.  She was frantic, and didn’t know what to do besides go to the closet U.S. Embassy to get a new passport.  When she got there they asked her if she had a list of things that they need to get the process started for a new passport but she didn’t.  She spent several hours acquiring the things on the list before she went back to the embassy.  Once everything was submitted to the embassy, it still took time to get the passport prolonging her trip. 


Even though most of us think that a scenario like this won’t happen to us, the truth is we need to prepared when it does.  So for your next trip abroad, even to Canada, here is what you need to do if your passport was lost or stolen. 


Step 1.  Get another passport photo taken right away.  You will need a passport photo for the embassy to issue you a replacement passport so get that first. 


Step 2. You are going to need identification, evidence of proof of U.S. Citizenship, and your travel itinerary.  The best way to have all of this is to make COLOR copies of all these things before you travel abroad, and place copies in your suitcases or other bags that you are taking with you.  An easy way to have an electronic version would be to scan in your passport and email it to yourself.  Having copies of these will really be handy.  If you don’t have copies, make sure that someone you trust from home can get access to them to fax them to the appropriate embassy. 


Step 3.  Try to access a passport application (DS-11 Application for Passport), and the statement form for Lost or Stolen Passports (DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport ).  Having these printed out and already filled in will help you get through the process faster. 


Step 4. If you have filed a police report with the local authorities, make sure to bring a copy of the police report with you.


Step 5.  Head to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate that can help you get your replacement passport issued.  If you aren’t sure where it is, someone within the U.S. can call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C, at 1-888-407-4747, and they will be able to locate the nearest one for you. 


Step 6.  Pay the fees associated with getting a replacement passport, however, applicants who are unable to pay the fee will be asked to provide names of persons they feel would be able to assist them financially if there is sufficient time.


Once you have been issued a replacement passport the passport is valid for 10 years for adults and 5 years for children.  If you were issued a limited-validity, emergency passport due to urgent travel plans to allow you to return to the U.S. or continue on your trip, once you return home, you can turn in your emergency passport and receive a full-validity passport.  Most embassies and consulates do not issue passports on weekends or holiday that they are closed.  If it is a life or death emergency they do have after hours duty officers available to assist you in any way that they can. 


For your next vacation abroad, make sure to make color copies of all of your identification and give copies to friends and/or family here in the U.S. that you trust.  If you have a travel agent who is available, please give them the information also.  I always advise my client’s to send me a color copy of their passport so I can easily email and/or fax it out quickly. 

Safe Travels!

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