What To Do If You Lose Your U.S. Passport In Another Country

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Losing a passport is not a situation anyone wants, no matter where they are in the world. However, if you lose your passport in a foreign country, it is much more troublesome than losing it at home. Many travelers panic on the way to the airport because they wonder if they remember their passport.

Fortunately, it’s usually safe in a pocket or backpack, and the panic goes away quickly. But what if it’s nowhere to be found? Worse, what if you’re abroad and trying to get home? Don’t panic. You can still go home, but it will be a little more complicated than originally planned.

American flag waving in the wind in front of the US embassy in London, UK

First steps to take if your passport is lost abroad

If your passport is lost abroad and you are sure you have checked everywhere, you need to act fast, Especially if you are going home soon. Whether it’s lost or stolen, there’s one step you need to take as soon as possible.

Report your passport lost or stolen as soon as possible. In case of falling into the wrong hands, You could be a victim of identity theft. Once you determine that your passport is lost, be sure to report it as lost or stolen on the State Department Portal immediately. Remember that once reported lost or stolen, You won’t be able to use it for travel! So make sure you’re 100% sure it won’t reappear after you report it missing.

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Wallets and passports sit on the ground as travelers leave them

Victim of theft?

After reporting your passport as stolen, it is a good idea to file a police report with local authorities, especially if more than just your passport has been stolen. This helps with claims against travel insurance companies, as many will pay for replacement passports and stolen items.

In addition, the State Department recommends that a police report should be filed with local police regardless of whether it is lost or stolen, as doing so can help confirm loss or theft. However, they also point out that if you’re going to be traveling abroad soon, it’s best not to take the extra time to call the police.

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Man pickpocketed passport from a female tourist as she walked away and pulled it out of her backpack

Can I go back to the US without a passport?

In short, no. In rare cases, travelers can use an enhanced driver’s license to enter the United States by land or sea. However, in most cases, you will not be able to return to the United States without a valid passport. All U.S. citizens must present a valid passport when flying to or from the United States.

Frustrated passenger checking lost documents at airport kiosk as check attendant

Lost or Stolen Passport: What to Do ASAP

After reporting your passport as lost or stolen and possibly filing a police report, you will need to take several steps as soon as possible to ensure that you can return to the United States on your original travel date.

  1. Collect files: You will need to contact the US embassy or consulate, but before doing so, you should gather supporting documents to get the process going as quickly as possible. You will need the following:
  • passport photo
  • ID: such as driver’s license
  • Proof of US Citizenship: Copy of birth certificate, lost passport
  • journey
  • Police report: if applicable
  • Form DS-11: passport application
  • Form DS-64: Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passports
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US Embassy in London, UK
  1. Go to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and ask to speak to the consular section: If you are the victim of a crime, it is important to notify the consulate for quick assistance. If you are leaving the country soon, be sure to share your travel details so they can help you arrange travel dates. (Note: Most embassies and consulates cannot issue passports during holidays or weekends)
  2. Get a new passport: Processing times may vary, depending on the type of passport you receive at the time of your travel plans. If your travel plans are urgent, you may be issued an emergency passport with limited validity, allowing you to return to the United States, where you must obtain a full replacement passport. If you’re able to get a full replacement abroad, a new passport is valid for 10 years and costs $130 (at the time of writing).
Traveler holding american passport case, international travel concept

things to remember

Losing your passport in another country can certainly be stressful. But please note that you are not the first person to encounter this situation, and the embassy or consulate will provide assistance within its ability. Accidents happen, and while it may seem like the end of the world, you’ll be home safe and sound before you know it. However, the best case scenario is never to be in this situation in the first place. Here are some tips to make sure this never happens to you, and a few more to keep in mind just in case:

  • lock it: Upon arrival at the hotel, lock the passport in the hotel safe.
  • Copy: It’s a good idea to keep copies of important documents like passports, birth certificates, and driver’s licenses with you. Electronic copies are also helpful.
  • There is a designated pocket: It’s easy to misplace things in the chaos of walking through an airport. Be sure to choose a designated location for your passport so you will always know if you have it with you.
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traveler alert: Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance for your next trip!

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