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What to do if you lose your passport abroad

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    Traveling abroad to a new country can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. There's a lot to keep track of, including your most essential travel item — your passport. If you lose this or it’s been stolen, you’ll need to follow a few steps in order to return to the U.S.

    In this article, you will learn about:

    • Reporting your missing passport
    • Gathering important documentation
    • Submitting necessary forms
    • Cost to replace a passport
    • How long it takes to replace a lost passport
    • Passport safety

    Report your missing passport to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate

    As soon as you’ve realized you lost your passport, locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. You can speak with a representative there to report the missing passport. If it was stolen, you may want to file a police report and have this on hand to bring with you as part of your supporting documentation.

    Gather important documentation

    To get a new passport abroad you’ll need to acquire a few items, including:

    • Passport photo
    • ID, such as a driver’s license
    • Travel documentation (airline tickets for example)
    • Police report if necessary

    Submit necessary forms and payments

    In addition to the above items, you may need to submit a few forms which can be completed at the time of your application. These include the DS-11 (Application for Passport) and DS-64 (Statement for Lost or Stolen Passport). You may need to make a check payable to the U.S. Department of State, or purchase a money order if you don’t have a checkbook with you.

    How much does it cost to replace a passport?

    There are fees associated with replacing a passport. This includes the cost for the passport book itself, which generally costs about $130. There may be additional fees if you request expeditated services.

    However, there are specific circumstances that allow for waiving the fees. These include:

    • Victim of a world/natural disaster
    • Victim of a crime
    • Inability to obtain proper funds

    In some cases, you can receive an emergency, limited-validity passport, where the fees are waived by the passport will only work for a limited amount of time.

    How long does it take to replace a lost passport internationally?

    If you urgently need a passport to travel home, you can get an emergency replacement passport that is valid for a limited time within about 24 hours. For a fully renewed and replaced passport, however, it can take upwards of 8-11 weeks to process and receive the passport, unless you pay extra for expedited services.

    Passport safety

    As you can see, losing a passport can be a hassle. It may cost you time, stress and money, all of which are not ideal while you’re on a trip abroad. That’s why protecting your passport is essential when it comes to traveling.

    Consider keeping your passport in a zipped or locked bag that you can keep close to your body. When staying at a hotel, use a safe if there is one provided to keep your passport secure while you’re out on your adventure. You may also want to consider purchasing a tracker — such as a Bluetooth device that connects to your phone — to help you locate your passport if you have trouble finding it.

    In summary

    Your passport is an essential part of your travel experience. You need it to come/go from the U.S. to other countries. To help ensure a smooth and stress-free trip, keep your passport close to you at all times.

    In the event that you lose your passport or that it’s been stolen, you can work with the U.S. embassy to see about repurchasing a new passport, expediting one or using an emergency, limited-validity passport. Finally, remember to review your passport’s expiration date to renew it in time before your next adventure. Embassy staff are usually very helpful, but waiting in line for hours to renew your passport that has suddenly expired is probably not how you want to spend your vacation.

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