If you lose or have your passport stolen while abroad, have no fear! We can fix that with a few simple (well not simple, but doable) steps. I’ll also give you some info on how to make things a bit smoother in case this happens again.
Note: This is written with US citizens in mind. If you do not hold a US passport the same procedure will likely apply, just substitute the US embassy with whatever embassy you need.
Get In Contact With The Nearest US Embassy Or Consulate:
Your embassy or consulate needs to know that you no longer have your passport as soon as possible. This will help prevent identity theft. While speaking with the embassy or consulate you should inform them if your passport has been stolen. You should also inform them of how soon you were planning on leaving the country. They may need to expedite the process of issuing you a temporary passport if you are planning on leaving very soon. You can find the nearest embassy or consulate here.
Contact The Police:
Depending on the country you are in the police may care, and they may not. If you believe you know where your passport was lost or stolen they may be able to help you. If you are planning on leaving the country very soon the process of filing a police report may just slow you down. It is your decision.
If you are victim of a violent crime that resulted in your passport being stolen you should always report it!
Get A New Passport Photo:
This, unfortunately, is not always as easy as it sounds. Different countries have different sizes when it comes to passport photos. When I was in Germany and needed to get a new US passport it was a bit of a struggle to find a place that could provide me with the right size photo. If you run into this problem and are located near the embassy of your country of origin they usually have a passport photo booth. You can most likely check online or contact the embassy directly.
Fill Out The Forms:
You can get a copy of the application form here. If you do not have easy access to a printer ask the hotel you are staying at. They will likely be accommodating in your dire situation. If not, you can find a print shop and print the form that way. You will also need to fill out a form stating if your passport was lost or stolen here. These forms can now be completed and submitted online here, but if you need your passport soon it is best to go to the embassy.
Go To The Consulate or Embassy:
You will most likely need an appointment to go to the consulate or embassy. You can not just walk in and expect to be helped. It is usually possible to call to make an appointment or you may make an appointment online from your consulate or embassy’s website. Alo, depending on what country you are in you may have to travel a little ways to get to the nearest embassy or consulate.
You will need to bring a few documents with you.
1. Your new passport picture
2. Your filled in application form
3. Your travel itinerary
4. Some proof of ID (driver’s license is good)
5. Evidence of citizenship. This can be difficult if you do not have a copy of your passport. A copy of your birth certificate will also work. You may have to have someone from home email or fax you a copy.
6. A passport fee. This changes every few years, but currently, it is $140.
Pick Up Your New Passport:
If you are leaving the country soon you will likely be issued an emergency passport within 24 hours. This emergency passport can not be used for further travel. It can only be used to get you back to the US.
Otherwise, it can take a few days to a few weeks to get a new passport. This all really depends on your location. When I needed a new passport in Germany it came within two weeks.
Things To Note:
-If you fly back to the US with an emergency passport you will need to turn the emergency passport in in order to get a new regular passport once back on US soil.
-The US embassy and consulate do not issue temporary passports on weekends and national holidays. If you are in a life or death emergency they will likely be willing to make an exception.
-Once your passport is reported lost or stolen it can no longer be used if found.
-Always keep a photocopy of your passport. You can even take a picture of it and store it on your phone. If your passport is lost or stolen again this can speed up the process of getting a temporary passport or you may even be able to use your photocopy if you have other forms of id with you.
– Carry a few extra passport photos with you. It may sound bit excessive, but after struggling to find a place to get a passport photo taken in Germany I now get my picture taken in the US if I know I will be abroad for awhile. This means I have one less step to go through if I lose my passport while abroad.
-Always register with STEP when you are traveling or living abroad. If you are the victim of a violent crime this will allow the US embassy to easily get in contact with you family back home.
– There are some things you can do to keep your passport more secure in the future. I know it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen. People can always get ahold of your passport if they really want, but here are a few products I’ve come across that are great ways to hide your passport. Also, read my tips for staying safe abroad here. You may be able to apply some of these in your life to keep yourself a little safer.
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