At the top of any international traveler’s must-pack list should be “Passport,” underlined and with multiple exclamation marks. But what happens if you lose that all-important document?
Before even starting your journey, make copies of your passport and any other important documents. Give a copy to a family member or friend, or keep an electronic copy where you can access it while traveling.
If you lose your passport while still in the United States, it’s an inconvenience but no reason to panic. Report it to the Department of State by phone or mail. Fill out two forms -- an application and a lost/stolen passport statement -- and take them to a passport agency to get it replaced.
If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re overseas, find the country’s U.S. Embassy (you may need to schedule an appointment). Fill out the application form and provide proof of identity to be issued a temporary emergency passport. Other documents may be required, such as a police report for a stolen passport; check the embassy website to find out. Before continuing on an extended trip, keep in mind that emergency passports have limited validity, and that not every country will accept them.
No matter where you lost your passport, be sure to read the Department of State’s recommendations to minimize your risk of identity theft.