You’ve had a vacation of your life in Europe. You’ve traveled to London, Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin. It’s time to go and suddenly you can’t find your passport. Did you leave it on the train? Did someone steal it? What will you do? You’re supposed to go home in a matter of days! Here are the steps of what to do if you lose your passport overseas. According to the U.S. State Department, here are your next steps.
1. Contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate
Find the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate closest to your location. This website will be helpful in your search. Then, ask to speak to the Consular Section to report your passport as lost or stolen. If you’re traveling soon, the staff will make every effort to assist you quickly.
2. Gather the necessary documents to replace your passport
To replace your passport, make sure you bring the following to the embassy/consulate:
A passport photo
Identification (driver’s license, expired passport, etc.)
Evidence of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, photocopy of your missing passport, etc.)
Travel itinerary (airline tickets, train tickets, etc.)
Police report, if available
DS-11 Application for Passport
DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport
Both the DS-11 and DS-64 forms may be completed at the time of application. A police report is not required, but it can be helpful to confirm the circumstances of your loss or left. That said, the U.S. State Department doesn’t recommend going out of your way to obtain such a report if it’ll cause you to miss your flight or delay your travel.
3. Receive either a replacement or emergency passport
During your visit to the embassy or consulate, you can either receive a replacement passport or an emergency passport. Replacement passports are full-valid passports that replace what you lost. For adults, they’re valid for up to 10 years. For minors, they’re valid for up to 5 years. However, they’re not available in all situations. For example, if you have multiple lost/stolen passports or are borrowing money from the State Department.
Emergency passports are issued at limited validity for urgent travel plans. They can be produced more quickly to allow you to continue your trip or to return to the U.S. Then, once you’re back home, you’ll be able to turn in your emergency passport and receive a full-validity passport.
4. Pay the fee for your passport
When receiving a replacement passport, you will be required to pay the normal passport fees. If you’re unable to do so (e.g., your wallet was also stolen), then you will be asked to provide names of individuals you feel will be able to assist you financially.
In certain extraordinary circumstances — the applicant is the victim of a serious crime or disaster — then the fee may be waived, and a limited-validity passport will be issued for travel back to the United States.
That’s the basic process for replacing your passport while abroad if you happen to lose it or have it stolen. Keep in mind that most U.S. embassies and consulates won’t be able to help you on the weekends or holidays because they’re closed. However, if it’s a life-and-death emergency, then there are often after-hours duty officers who will be able to assist you.