This could have been a lost passport story. And it almost was.
One time my entire family and I flew in the winter to Jamaica on a red eye overnight. We landed early and were exhausted. My baby (4 at that time) was in my arms half asleep and we took the shuttle to our resort. We grabbed our suitcases and I left all the passports sitting on the top shelf of the shuttle bus.
Five minutes later I realized my lost passport and the rest of the family passports vanished down the street in Jamaica. I freaked out for a minute, RIGHT before I saw the tour guide racing down the street towards me with all of our passports in hand. CLOSEST call ever and near travel nightmare!
Having a lost passport abroad seems like an emergency. But it’s easily fixed. Believe me, losing or misplacing your passport isn’t the stuff of an action/adventure Hollywood movie. It’s easily remedied if you know what to do.
Know What to Do When You Lose Your Passport
So you have a lost passport, and you’re abroad. Don’t panic! Follow these steps and get a new passport – hopefully with few problems.
First Things First
If your passport is lost or stolen, you’ll need to get it replaced before you can leave the country. First contact the nearest embassy for your country. If you are a US citizen find the U.S. embassy. Canadian? Then find the Canadian embassy, or, the consulate for assistance. And so on depending on your country of origin.
Report the lost passport to the Consular Section of the embassy. They can direct you on what’s next in securing a new passport. This direction will include all documents you may need as well as where you can go to secure a passport photo.
Lost Passport Replacement Requirements
You’ll need to bring a number of documents and items with you to the embassy or consulate. Bring as many of the required items and documents as you can. While all of them is best, if you don’t have everything on hand, the consular staff will still attempt to help you replace your lost passport quickly.
- Passport photo
- Evidence of U.S. or Canadian citizenship such as your birth certificate or photocopy of your lost passport
- Travel itinerary such as airline and train tickets
- Police report if applicable
- DS-11 Application for Passport which can be completed at the time of application
- DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost of Stolen Passport which can be complete at the time of application
Canadian Readers –
Double check all requirements here on the Canadian government web site.
Normally, the passport you acquire to replace your lost documentation will be a valid one, in the same way as your lost one. They last either five or ten years. If you need a passport for urgent travels or emergencies, you may be issued a limited-validity, emergency passport which can be obtained quickly. Turn in your emergency passport after you get home and receive a fully valid passport.
Lost Passport Fees
You’ll be charged the normal passport fees for the replacement passport.
You cannot replace a lost passport on the weekends or holidays, because the embassies and consulates are closed. The only exception to this is contacting the after-hours duty officer for assistance in obtaining a replacement if you have emergency travel needs or have been the victim of a serious crime.
Replacing a Lost Passport is No Cause for Panic
Passport mishaps are inconvenient for sure, but not always the dire emergency we sometimes think. With the help of your country’s embassy or consulate, the procedure is much the same as applying at home. So don’t freak out. Take a breath, contact the embassy or consulate, and move forward.