I Lost My Passport While Traveling – Now What?

Guide to replace your stolen or lost passport in abroad?

Losing your passport overseas… It’s one of those catastrophes every traveler dreads, up there with getting food poisoning or missing an important connecting flight. There are steps you can take to avoid having your passport lost or stolen while you are traveling, like keeping your passport in a traveler’s neck wallet under your clothes rather than in your pocket or backpack. But what do you do if the unfortunate happens, and you find yourself in a foreign country without your passport? Read on for our complete guide to replacing a lost US passport overseas.

Step 1: Contact the Embassy or Consulate

If your US passport is lost or stolen while you are traveling internationally, the first thing you should do is call the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. Ask to speak to the Consular Section, and they will make arrangements for you to come to the consulate to have your passport replaced. Passports are issued at the consulates during weekday business hours, but you can call on evenings or weekends and talk to a duty officer if you have an emergency situation.

Step 2: Gather the Required Documents

You will need to take the following items with you to the US Embassy or Consulate:

  • One passport-style photo. You will need to get this before you go to the consulate; the consulate staff can advise you if you need help finding a photo shop to get your passport photo.
  • Proof of US Citizenship. If you happen to have your original birth certificate with you, great! If not, you can provide a photocopy of your lost or stolen passport. We recommend that all travelers bring a photocopy of their passport when traveling, and also leave one at home with a trusted friend or relative who could email or fax it to you.
  • Identification, such as a driver’s license. If all of your identification was stolen along with your passport, tell the Consular Officer when you call.
  • Travel itinerary showing your planned departure from the country.
  • Passport Forms DS-11 and DS-64. You can either fill these out ahead of time or complete them at the consulate. Do not sign them before instructed to by the consular officer.
  • Police Report, if available. You are not required to file a police report to have your passport replaced, but it can help support your case, particularly if your other identification was also stolen.

Step 3: Your New Passport is Issued

Normal US government passport fees will be charged, and if you were able to provide sufficient proof of your identity and US citizenship, your new passport should be issued with a full ten years validity (5 years for children age 15 or younger). However, if you don’t have all of the documents listed above, you may be issued a limited-validity passport to allow you to travel back to the United States.

Step 4: Replace your Limited-Validity Passport

If you were issued a limited-validity passport, you will need to file for a Passport Re-Application soon after you return to the US. Please see our article for full instructions on how to apply for this service.


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