- Make two copies of your passport ID page – that’s the page with your picture, your date of birth, etc. This can be an image scan or hard copy.
- Give one copy to someone you trust – a friend, family member, or assistant – in case you need to contact them while on your trip.
- Keep the other copy with you. If it’s printed, put it in your carry-on (not your checked luggage – that could go missing). If it’s an electronic copy, make sure you have access to it when you leave the U.S. (on your mobile device, or in your e-mail, for example).
With these steps complete, if your passport is lost or stolen, you have the information (or the contact) you need to make a good police report and get a replacement.
Did you know?
You may not always need a passport when traveling outside the country. In fact, for travel to and from some areas, a passport card is adequate for returning to the U.S. See how a passport card is different from a passport.
What to do your passport is lost or stolen
If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, it’s important to immediately contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Ask to speak with the Consular Section to report your passport lost or stolen. If you have been the victim of a serious crime, you should explain that too so the consular officer can provide assistance.
Passports that are reported missing are immediately deactivated, so someone else can’t use your passport to illegally enter the U.S. under your identification. The problem, however, is that leaves you without the ability to get back into your home country.
Can you get a last-minute replacement passport?
You will need to get photographs for your replacement passport and you’ll need those photos before the consular can help you obtain a replacement. Usually, the consular officer can tell where to get a last-minute passport photo. Here’s what you’ll need to get a replacement:
- Passport photo
- Identification (driver’s license, expired passport, etc.)
- Evidence of US citizenship (birth certificate, copy of your missing passport)
- Travel itinerary (airline or train tickets)
- Police report if the victim of a crime
- DS-11 Application for Passport (may be completed at time of application)
- DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport (may be completed at time of application)
Hint: now you see why we recommend saving a copy or two of your passport ID page.
What to do if you’re abroad
If you’re abroad with a ticket to return home, you could have to get the passport replaced quickly. If you have less than 72 hours or three days to the end of your trip, you may be able to make an appointment at a passport agency. Typically, those appointments are limited.
Replacing a lost passport in a hurry can be expensive too – expediting a replacement passport is an extra charge. Normally, the processing time for getting a replacement passport can be as long as 18 weeks.
If you’re inside the U.S. and your passport is lost or stolen, you’ll need to fill out some forms and take them to the closest passport agency or acceptance facility. You can also fill out the required DS-64 form online.
If you find a lost U.S. passport
If you find a lost passport, you are requested to return it the U.S. Department of State at this address.
U.S. Department of State
Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Check out these related topics
- National Passport Day, where the U.S. passport offices are open on Saturdays and accept applications without an appointment, is a great way to get your U.S. passport.
- If you’re traveling between the U.S.A. and Canada, do you need a passport?
- If you’re an American citizen, do you need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico?
- Is it possible to insure your passport for theft or loss while you are traveling?