Lost Passports

Written by Jared Vincenti
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While it is a big problem to have your wallet stolen when you're abroad, it's a bigger problem if your passport is stolen. Many travel guides recommend wearing the passport in a pouch under your shirt to guard against pickpockets, since there is a good price for passports on the black market. If your passport is lost or stolen, you should take action immediately.

What to Do If You Lose Your Passport

If you are still at home, you want to immediately contact the US State Department and fill out at declaration of lost passport (Form DS-64). This will enable the government to disable your passport and possibly recover it if it has fallen into the wrong hands. You must then replace your passport by going in person to a passport agency and applying for a new one. This procedure will be the same as applying for your first passport, except you will note on your application that this is a replacement for a missing passport.

If you lose your passport while you are abroad, contact the consulate immediately. They will help you recover or replace your passport, hopefully with minimal impact on your travels. You cannot get back into the country without proof of citizenship, and it's far easier to replace a lost passport at a consulate than at the airport. And if your travels run afoul and you don't have your passport, it will be a diplomatic nightmare. If your passport is ever lost while abroad, make sure that your next destination is the consulate.

Even if your passport is not lost, a damaged passport is not valid. Tears, water stains, and other physical damage can mask tampering, so a damaged passport will not be accepted at most borders. If your passport is damaged, you should also have it replaced as soon as possible, whether at home or abroad.


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