Every traveler knows all too well the horror of losing a passport. For one, you wouldn’t be able to get a visa without a valid passport. If you lose it before a trip abroad, you might not be allowed to board the flight. If you lose it while abroad, you would definitely have some problems with immigration.
As an avid traveler, I have also wondered what I should do in case I lost my passport. Will I be able to replace it right away? If you’re also wondering, let me share some information with you.
If you lose your passport, the first thing you have to do is report the lost to your country’s consular or foreign affairs department. In the US, you can do so by calling 1-877-487-2778, by submitting an online report, or by emailing the DS-64 form.
Upon the filing of a lost passport report, your country's consular or foreign affairs department will cancel your passport. This means that the finder can no longer use your passport. Canceling a lost passport is an effective way of preventing identity theft.
Note that once your passport is canceled, you can no longer use it even if you find it again. You would have to apply for a new passport. If you use a canceled passport to go abroad or cross borders, you can either be imprisoned or fined.
If you lost your passport in your home country and you are not traveling within two weeks, all you have to do is apply for a new passport. In certain cases, you might be required to make an appointment to apply at an authorized passport acceptance facility.
In general, the process of applying for a replacement passport is the same as applying for a passport for the first time. The same identification and documentation are needed. You would also have to pay the same fees.
However, if you lost your passport in your home country and you are traveling within two weeks or less, you might be able to avail of priority processing. To do this, make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center. You might be asked to submit additional documents or certifications.
You may also have to pay additional fees when availing of priority processing. Depending on your particular circumstances, certain restrictions may also be imposed on your replacement passport.
Losing your passport abroad is trickier, especially if you are in a country with strict immigration policies. As soon as you discover that your passport is missing, report it online or get in touch with your nearest diplomatic or consular mission.
Upon the filing of the lost report, your embassy will cancel your passport and advise you on the next steps to take.
If you have to travel soon, you would likely be issued an emergency passport. This type of passport is valid only for a short period of time and may not be accepted in countries with stringent immigration policies. However, this should be enough to get you on a flight home or to your next travel destination.
If you don’t have to travel soon, then your best recourse is to apply for a new passport with your embassy. Alternatively, you can apply online and have the new passport mailed from your home country to your present location.
You would be asked to fill out an application form, attend an interview at the embassy or consulate, provide recent photos, submit proof of identity and other relevant documents, and pay the processing fee.
Chances are you would be asked to submit your birth and citizenship certificates when applying for a replacement passport. You might also be asked to submit utility bills or IDs which can prove your permanent residence. If you don’t have those documents, you can have them mailed to you.
Alternatively, you can also ask a family member to present the original copies to a passport office in your home country. The said passport office could check the documents, scan them, and forward them to the embassy you're dealing with.
If you lost your visa along with your passport, then you have to contact the embassy of the country which issued you the visa. The embassy of your home country cannot issue you a replacement visa, but they might be able to expedite the process by giving you a recommendation.
The best way to avoid hassle is to make sure you don’t lose your travel documents. In case you do, however, all you have to do is follow the procedures listed above. That said, make sure you always know the contact number and address of your home country’s embassy.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.