How to replace a lost passport
Have you ever lost your passport? If so, then you’ll know how difficult it is to replace this essential travel document before setting off on your next journey. Even though getting a new passport is hard, it’s definitely not impossible. Before you start panicking at the terminal, check out our tips on how to replace a lost passport.
If you’ve ever had a meltdown about a missing passport, then you’re not alone. In fact, the U.S. Department of State reported that over 300,000 Americans make the same mistake every single year. Sound familiar? Step number one: report a lost passport. In order to avoid identity theft, you have to report your lost passport immediately. When in doubt, phone the nearest passport agency. Although it’s challenging to find a same-day appointment for a new passport, the travel agent will work with you to find the nearest date available.
For those with urgent travel plans, there are several companies that provide expedited passport services. In spite of the fact that websites like RushMyPassport.com can easily ship you a new passport within one day, expect to pay some serious U.S. passport fees. For example, a 24-hour turnaround for your travel papers will set you back almost $400. If that’s too steep, then you can get away with paying about $120 to receive your passport within 10 business days. If that doesn’t work, then try CIBTvisas, where you can get a 9-1-1 passport for $240.
Wondering what to do next? Step number two: replace a lost passport. Once you finally make it to a passport agency, then you’ll have to provide a few things first. For this process, you’ll need a color photo, valid identification, and a travel itinerary. Plus, this procedure requires a DS-64 form to officially report your lost passport and a DS-11 form to apply for a new one. To prepare, just print and copy the necessary documents before you arrive.
When all else fails, there’s no harm in stopping by your nearest passport agency for help. According to Traveler contributor Laura Dannen Redman, “this last one isn’t the official recommendation from the U.S. State Department, but it’s basically what we did—and what worked in the end.” Since Laura’s husband misplaced his passport a few hours before their flight, she knew firsthand that the most vital thing to do was to keep calm.
What happened next is an absolute miracle. Laura revealed that “we brought all the required documents, credit cards and a checkbook (just in case), and went straight to the New York Passport Agency on Hudson Street in Manhattan. They asked if we had an appointment.” After the Redmans made it upstairs with the proper paperwork, they were told to wait for three hours. However, their names were called after only waiting for an hour-and-a-half.
Once Laura and her spouse made it to the travel agent’s desk, she shared that “we handed in the application, forked over $205 (a brand-new, non-emergency adult passport is $110), and were told to come back to pick up the passport before they closed at 6 p.m.” With mere hours to spare, Laura divulged that “we had the little blue book in hand—and I had one very relieved husband—by 5 p.m. From initial panic to passport, it took less than 12 hours.”
You might be wondering: what should I do if I actually lose my passport abroad? Even though getting a new passport while you’re out of the country is inconvenient, the process is basically the same as if you were at home. Before you report your missing travel permit, make sure that you search all of the contents of your bag first. That’s because your passport is immediately voided as soon as you contact the U.S. Embassy.
Once you’re absolutely sure that your passport is nowhere to be found, then you need to get in touch with the closest U.S. embassy if you’re abroad. The best part? You can report a lost passport to the U.S. embassy at any time of the day via phone, email, or snail mail. Granted that U.S. consulates can’t actually deliver a new passport over the weekend or the holidays, they do have 24-hour representatives on call that can help you.
Although you don’t necessarily have to file a report with the police, it’s definitely a recommended course of action to take if your passport is stolen. That’s why you’ll want to make copies of your passport before your trip in case someone snatches your travel document. Despite the fact that a passport copy isn’t good enough to get you home, it comes in handy if your passport is looted. As stated by U.S. State Department director Michelle Bernier-Toth, “if you lose your U.S. passport while traveling overseas, even in an airport, you will need to replace it before returning home.”
When you’re applying for a new passport in a foreign land, the process is essentially the same as it is at home except for passport fees. For instance, if you experience a natural disaster or a crime while abroad, then your passport fee could potentially be cleared. On top of that, you could receive a “limited-validity” passport as well. Once you apply for a “full-validity” passport in America, you’ll have to pay the standard passport fee of $110. Happy travels!