Losing your passport when you’re traveling abroad can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s not the end of the world and you won’t be stuck in another country for the rest of your life either. However, it can be a process, one that you won’t want to deal with on your vacation. My first suggestions are precautionary.
There’s an old travel tip that says you should never keep all of your money in one place while you’re traveling. That way if you lose your wallet or it’s stolen you won’t be completely penniless. The same thing goes for your passport. Don’t keep your passport, your driver’s license, and your document copies all in one place, that kind of defeats the purpose. Next, if you lose your passport or it’s stolen you want to have some sort of I.D.. Before you board your flight, make colored copies of your passport, driver’s license, and your birth certificate, just in case. This will also make things easier if you do happen to lose your passport.
Your First Step
Before you do anything, locate and contact the closest embassy or consulate. Do this first because at some point you’ll have to travel there and you don’t want to realize on your way to the airport that the embassy is actually hours away. Contact your embassy and let them know that your passport was lost or stolen and they will assist you in the process of replacing your passport before returning home. If your passport was stolen, which it can happen, file a police report and make sure to notify the embassy about the crime. You want there to be a record somewhere that your passport wasn’t just lost. It’s important to begin this process as soon as you can, especially if you are leaving the country soon. You’ll need to get a replacement passport before you can leave the country.
What You’ll Need
The Bureau of Consular reports that you’ll have to replace your passport before leaving, which means that you’ll have to bring a variety of documents with you to the embassy. Don’t panic if you can’t provide all of these documents, but the more documents that you bring with you the faster the process will be. Before you go to the embassy, get a passport photo, this will also help speed things up. Documents that will be helpful when replacing your passport are: some sort of I.D. (driver’s license or an expired passport), evidence of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate or photocopy of your missing passport), travel itinerary (plane/ train tickets), police report (if stolen), DS-11 Application for Passport, and DS-64 Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport.
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Details You Should Know
If you’re leaving the country shortly, you could be issued a limited-validity or emergency passport that should be turned in for a full-validity passport when you return home. If you lose your passport, the regular $140 fee will likely apply. If your passport was stolen you may be able to get around this fee. Also, if you need a replacement passport, take into consideration that embassies and consulates are closed on holidays and they won’t be able to issue you a passport if they’re closed.
Losing a passport is probably not a part of your travel plans but the problem does occasionally apply. The important thing is not to panic, you won’t be trapped in a foreign country. It’s always important to plan for an issue such as this, though. Making photocopies and taking pictures of your documents are just as important as bringing your actual passport to another country. Happy traveling!