FAQ : I’ve Lost my Passport Abroad, Now What do I do?
You’re supposed to be on the foreign vacation of a lifetime. You’re enjoying yourself and making the most of your travels, until suddenly you realize you’ve lost your passport. Everything stops. You’re panicked and scared. You’re now abroad and without a passport, which is your ticket home. Now what do you do?
First of all, try to remain calm. Thousands of Americans lose their passports abroad every year, and they’re able to make it home safe and sound. They might even be able to enjoy the rest of their vacation despite the major setback. Your time doesn’t have to be ruined. In order to prevent this from happening to you and deal with it if it does, here’s what you need to know.
Prepare and Prevent
Don’t find yourself unprepared for the loss of your passport. While you can never truly be ready, there are some things you can do before your trip that could make things easier in the event it happens to you. First, bring along some extra forms of photo ID and keep them in a different place than your passport. Second, also bring extra copies of your passport photos.
Third, purchase travel insurance. This will protect you from the costs associated with losing your passport, in addition to other safety nets for travelling. Finally, prevent the loss of your passport by always keeping it on your person. It’s a good idea to purchase a money belt to keep it secure rather than lose in your pocket or backpack.
If you’ve taken all the necessary steps to protect yourself and still end up losing your passport, you should react as quickly as possible. You should first find a local police station and file a police report, especially if you suspect your passport was stolen. This documentation will help you in the future, and you may need it to collect from your traveler’s insurance.
The next thing to do is visit the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This is where backup ID can really help in making things much easier for you. The Embassy will help you perform all the necessary steps for getting a replacement or temporary passport that will allow you to make it through customs and return home. It’s a good idea to identify the address of the nearest Embassy to your travel destination before you depart. You can find it by visiting USEmbassy.gov. The Embassy will be your lifeline.
When you’re back home in the United States, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Hopefully you still had an amazing vacation, and your traveler’s insurance will reimburse you for the related costs and replacement fees. To get a replacement passport when you return, you’ll need to fill out Forms DS-11 and DS-64, which can be found on the Travel.State.gov website. Take them to your closest Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility, and you should be good to go for your next trip abroad!
And by the way – if you do end up locating the passport you thought was lost, remember that once you’ve reported it stolen it’s invalid and cannot be used, so you’ll still need a replacement. Happy travels!