The worst has happened -- either your U.S. passport is lost or has been stolen. So how do you recover? It depends on the circumstances.
If you're leaving the United States on a trip within two weeks you must make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center to replace your passport. Travelers will need to make an appointment at the center and bring their airline ticket, $110 for the passport and a $60 expedite fee. It can take up to two weeks to get the replacement passport.
If you're not traveling outside the country within two weeks, you can make an appointment (if required) to apply at an authorized passport acceptance facility (which includes public libraries and U.S. post offices) to replace your passport.
If your passport is lost or stolen outside of the U.S., go to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to have it replaced. Travelers should get a passport photo taken before going to the embassy. You will also need the following:
- Identification (driver's license or an expired passport)
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship (a birth certificate or a copy of your missing passport)
- Your airline ticket
- A police report, if available
- DS-11 Application for Passport
- DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport
The normal passport fees will have to be paid at the consulate. Most U.S. embassies and consulates cannot issue passports on weekends or holidays when the embassy/consulate is closed. But they all have after-hours duty officers that can help with life-or-death emergencies. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate after-hours duty officer for assistance if you have an emergency need to travel or have been the victim of a serious crime.
Most times a replacement passport is valid for 10 years for adults or five years for minors. However, the State Department can issue what it calls a limited-validity, emergency passport that will allow you to return to the U.S. or continue on a trip. Upon returning to the U.S., the emergency passport can be turned in and exchanged for a 10-year passport.
What are some of the steps you can take if your passport is stolen?
- When you first obtain a passport, record the passport number and date and place of issue. If your passport is stolen the authorities have all of the information possible.
- Report it immediately. If you are overseas, report the stolen passport to both the local police authorities and to your closest embassy or consulate. If the passport is stolen in your home country report it to your local police authorities, and go to your closest Passport Office to fill out forms to report it as lost or stolen.
- Get a replacement passport as soon as possible to ensure that it's not being used fraudulently.
- Periodically check in with the authorities to see if they have any further information on the status of your passport. The information may not always be disclosed, but you are more likely to find out if you remain persistent.
- Contact the credit bureau to make sure that no one is trying to fraudulently use your identity. Have a thorough search of your credit history conducted to make sure it is intact.