No traveler plans to lose important documents on a trip, and, certainly, no one wants to be a thief's victim. In spite of best-laid plans, you may someday discover that you have lost your passport or that someone has stolen it from you.
Prepare for Your Trip
There are several steps you can take to speed up the passport replacement process, and you should take these steps every time you travel out of the country.
Photocopy Your Passport and Carry One Copy
Make two copies of your passport, preferably in color, and carry one copy with you, stored separately from your passport, on your trip. Leave the second copy at home with a family member or trusted friend.
Register Your Trip
Register your trip with the State Department before you leave home, using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Safeguard Your Passport
Always keep your passport safe. Wear a passport pouch and keep your passport inside it so that pickpockets won't be able to steal it. Use your hotel's safe to secure your passport if you are going to the beach or some other place where you can't wear a pouch.
If Your Passport Is Stolen or Lost:
Step One: Report Your Lost or Stolen Passport Immediately
You should report your loss right away, so the State Department can declare your passport invalid and stop anyone else from using it for travel.
It may be helpful to obtain a police report, particularly if you are overseas, if your passport has been stolen.
If you are in the United States, you can report the loss or theft by calling 1-877-487-2778 (TTY users can call 1-888-874-7793). State Department employees are available to assist you by telephone Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, except for Federal holidays.
You can also report the theft or loss by mail. You will need to download and complete form DS-64, Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport. Mail your completed form to:
U. S. Department of State
Consular Lost / Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC, 20046
If you are outside the US, contact your nearest United States Consulate or Embassy to report the theft or loss and start the replacement process.
Once you have declared that your passport was lost or stolen, it becomes invalid, and neither you nor anyone else will be able to use it. Should you happen to find the passport later, mail it to the address above; the State Department will formally cancel it. You can ask that the canceled passport be sent back to you, if you wish.
Step Two: Replace Your Passport
Passport holders within the United States need to go in person to a Passport Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency to obtain a replacement passport. If you have not filed form DS-64, you will need to do so when you apply for your new passport. You will also need to fill out form DS-11, Application for a United States Passport, provide a passport photo and show acceptable proof of identity, just as you did when you applied for your first passport. The fee for your replacement passport will be $135 and the passport will be valid for 10 years.
If your passport disappears while you are outside the United States, you must apply for an emergency passport at your nearest consulate or embassy. Bring personal identification, your passport number if you have it, your police report, money to pay the fee and, especially if your other identification was lost or stolen, someone to vouch for your identity. If you are traveling alone, the consular official handling your case may telephone some of your family members or friends in the US to establish your identity. It will take a day or two, possibly longer if your loss occurs over a weekend, for your replacement passport to be prepared. The fee is $135. If you can't obtain the money to pay your passport fee before your scheduled departure time, you may receive a no-fee limited passport instead; this passport will enable you to return home, but will be valid for only three months.