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The Comprehensive Guide to Replacing a Lost Passport

Lost Passport Replacement

Losing your passport can be a stressful experience, especially when you are traveling abroad or have upcoming plans for international travel. We understand the anxiety it can cause, and we're here to guide you through the process of reporting and replacing your lost passport quickly.

The most important thing to remember is that the sooner you begin the process of reporting and replacing your lost passport, the sooner you can get a new passport and travel internationally.

Take Immediate Action: Report Your Lost Passport

The moment you realize your passport is lost or stolen, report it without delay. Once a passport has been reported lost, it will be invalidated immediately.

There are 3 ways to report a lost passport:

    Report Online: Visit the U.S. State Department's Online Passport Reporting Tool to report your passport as lost or stolen. This method also allows you to start the passport replacement process quickly (more on this later).
  • Report by Phone: If you prefer speaking with a representative, call the U.S. Passport Office toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793).
  • Report by Mail: Alternatively, you can use Form DS-64, fill it out, and send it to the address indicated on the form. This option should be a last resort since it takes the longest to cancel your lost passport.

However you choose to report your lost or stolen passport, be sure you do. This step is crucial for preventing your lost passport from being used to steal your identity as well as ensuring no one can travel illegally using your travel documents.

Be aware: if you find your passport later, you will not be able to use it. Once a passport has been made invalid, you need to replace it with a new one.

I Lost My Passport While In The United States

When your passport is lost, but you are still in the US, follow these steps:


Complete Form DS-11: Application for a New U.S. Passport

Application for a New Passport Form DS-11One of the criteria that you must meet in order to apply for a passport renewal by mail is to submit your previously-issued, undamaged passport.

Applicants who have lost their travel documents are unable to submit them. They must apply in person to get a new passport using Form DS-11.

Just like reporting a passport lost or stolen, you have two options for completing the application form:

  1. Complete Form DS-11 online
  2. Complete the application for a new U.S. passport offline and then print it.

Note: If you print the application and complete it offline, be sure to use black ink and write as legibly as possible. Do not sign the application until you are asked to do so in the presence of an acceptance agent.


Gather Supporting Documents

All the documents required for a first-time passport have to be submitted together, in person, with the completed application in order to replace your passport.

The following is a list of the documents you will need:

The document submitted as evidence of citizenship (like a birth certificate) must be an original or a certified copy. It will be returned to you after the application is processed. It is recommended that you use protective packaging and a traceable delivery method, even if it means paying an additional fee.

Parents or guardians who are applying to replace the lost passport of a minor also need to submit evidence of their relationship to the child. Valid photo IDs (like a driver's license) of both parents or guardians are also required. One parent or guardian can apply if evidence of sole legal custody can be submitted.


Visit an Application Acceptance Facility

Passport Application Acceptance Facility at Post OfficeThe completed application form and supporting documents must be submitted to an authorized acceptance agent at an application acceptance facility. Passport offices are often located in post offices, county and municipal government offices, and public libraries. Some facilities offer on-site photo services. You should schedule an appointment online to be sure you can be seen. If asked to provide a reason, use "replace lost passport."

An Acceptance Agent will examine your application and supporting documents. An oath will be administered and you will be asked to sign the application. Payment for the execution fee is paid to the Acceptance Agent. Payment for the application fee is made to the U.S. Department of State and should be sent with the application and documents.

Helpful Tip! If you do not have the time, ability, or desire to complete all of these steps on your own. Consider hiring a registered passport expediting service to help. These professionals can help you get a replacement passport in-hand in days rather than the weeks or months it may take otherwise.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.

I Lost My Passport While Outside the United States

If you're not in the U.S. when you lose your passport, don't worry. Reach out to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for support in replacing your lost or stolen passport. They are well-equipped to assist you in these situations.

First and foremost, remember to stay calm. Your lost passport can be replaced. Reaching out to the U.S. embassy or consulate will ensure a smoother and less stressful experience during an already challenging situation.


Contact the Nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate

The closest U.S. embassy or consulate is your first point of contact. These offices are equipped to assist you with the passport replacement process. They will provide specific guidance tailored to your location and circumstances. While the process may seem daunting, their experienced staff is there to support you through every step of passport replacement when you're abroad.

As a best practice, be sure to ook up the location and contact information of the nearest embassy or consulate before your trip, so you're prepared in case of an emergency. If you don't have this information handy, consult this official directory to find the nearest one.


Schedule an Appointment

Call or email the embassy or consulate to schedule an appointment. Explain your situation, and they will guide you through the process, providing information on what documents to bring and how to complete the required forms.

Be sure to note the date and time of your appointment. If you miss it, you will likely have to call and reschedule, which means waiting longer to get a valid passport and regaining the ability to return to the U.S.


Gather the Supporting Documents That You Can

Just like when you're in the United States, you'll need to fill out Form DS-11 - Application for a New U.S. Passport.

You must also bring evidence of your U.S. citizenship (like a birth certificate or a previously issued passport, if available) and a recent passport photo.

If the circumstances don't allow for original documents, bring copies as they may still be accepted.

While you may have lost other documents or IDs along with your passport, make sure to keep any available identification you do have, such as a driver's license, with you at all times. Having any available copies of your lost passport, the passport number, and/or other government-issued identification can be helpful in expediting the replacement process.

That said, your safety and well-being abroad are the US government's top priorities.

Officials at the embassy will be able to help you use the documents and details you can provide to get you a replacement passports so that you can resume your travels Your safety and well-being abroad are the US government's top priorities.


Go to Your Embassy or Consulate Appointment

After you have gotten your application and supporting materials together, bring them with you to your appointment at the embassy or consulate.

Depending on the circumstances and what documents you can provide, you will be issued a passport that allows you to continue your travels or, at minimum, return to the United States.

In most cases, the embassy or consulate will issue you an emergency passport that allows you to return to the United States. While this emergency passport is typically limited in validity, it's a crucial document to get you back home.

If you do return home with an emergency passport, you will want to get it replaced with a new, fully valid passport as soon as possible. Our guide to getting a new passport can help you with that process.

Lost Passport Replacement FAQs

How long does it take to replace a lost or stolen passport?

Standard processing is estimated can take as long as 6 to 8 weeks. Expedited service can take up to 2 to 3 weeks.

Applications submitted at a regional agency are usually processed the same day, but can take up to 14 days. It depends on circumstances, time of year, staffing, and how busy a particular agency may be.

Applicants who need a replacement fast but who cannot visit the nearest agency, can authorize a registered expediting service to submit the application for them.

Note: The applicant must visit a nearby application acceptance office first to have the application adjudicated before mailing it to the expediter. It must also include two authorization letters: one inside the sealed envelope and another outside it.

How much does it cost to replace a lost passport?

The application fee for new passports is $160. The execution fee is $35. The expedited service fee is $60. You can also request 1-2 day delivery of your new passport for an additional fee of $19.53.

There are also additional costs you should plan for. Check out our guide to how much a passport really costs for more information.

Third-party passport expediters are often the fastest way to get a passport replaced. Just like with applying on your own, the cost depends on how quickly you need to get your passport replaced.

Can I still travel if I lost my passport?

A valid passport is required for all international travel by air. Therefore, you will not be allowed to board a flight abroad unless you replace your passport.

I lost my passport card. Is the process to replace it the same as it is for a passport book?

Yes, the procedure is the same as listed above. The only difference is that a new passport card costs less than a new passport book.

Can you replace a lost or stolen passport online?

No. While you can report a lost passport, complete the application for a new passport and schedule an appointment at an acceptance facility or regional agency online, you still must apply in person. There is no other way to get a new passport.

Do I need to report my lost passport if it is expired?

No, you do not. Just follow all the steps above except for completing Form DS-64.

I found my passport. Can I still use it?

Once you report a lost passport, it is invalidated and can no longer be used for international travel. The passport number is recorded and flagged as well.

This is for good reason. Government issued identification, like a passport, can leave individuals especially vulnerable to identity theft.

Reporting a passport lost or stolen means it cannot be used to travel internationally; it is no longer useful to exit or enter the country or for traveling abroad.

Can passport expeditor services help me replace a passport fast?

Absolutely! Top passport expediting services are able to help Americans at home and abroad with any number of passport-related issues. Replacing a lost passport quickly is one of the top reasons people reach out to these professional courier services.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.

Tips for Protecting Against Passport Theft or Loss Abroad

Being proactive about preventing passport loss and theft in the first place can save you a lot of potential stress and headaches while you travel. These are some of our best tips for keeping your passport and other travel documents safe when traveling internationally.

  • Secure Storage: Invest in a reliable travel wallet or passport holder. These items are specifically designed to keep your passport safe and accessible. Look for one with RFID-blocking technology to protect against electronic theft.
  • Digital Copies: Make digital copies of your passport, including the identification page and any visas you may have. Store these copies in a secure, cloud-based storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive. This way, you can access your passport details from anywhere in case of loss.

    To protect the integrity of this sensitive data, make it a point to not access these services from unsecured wi-fi or cellular devices.

  • Photocopies: In addition to digital copies, make physical photocopies of your passport and any visas. Store these copies separately from your actual passport. Having a hard copy can be a lifesaver, especially in areas with limited internet access.
  • Use Hotel Safes: When staying in hotels, use the room safe to store your passport securely. It's a convenient and trusted option to safeguard your travel documents.

    That said, if you are not confident in the security afforded by your hotel or lodging, trust your gut and opt keep your passport on your person, instead.

  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers passport loss. Some policies provide assistance with replacement costs and offer guidance in the event of a lost or stolen passport.
  • Lanyard or Neck Pouch: Invest in a passport lanyard or neck pouch. These discreet accessories allow you to keep your passport close to your body and under your clothing, reducing the risk of pickpocketing.
  • Know Your Surroundings: Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when traveling. Pay attention to your belongings in crowded areas, public transportation, and tourist spots.
  • Be Mindful at Night: If you're enjoying a night out, be extra cautious with your passport. Consider leaving it in your accommodation's safe or using a lockable pouch that can be securely attached to your belt.
  • Travel Light: Minimize the number of valuables you carry with you. Leaving unnecessary items behind can reduce the chance of losing essential documents like your passport.
  • Use a Tracking Device: Consider using tracking devices for your passport and other important items. These devices can help you locate your belongings if they go missing.

    Apple AirTags are small, inexpensive GPS tags that work worldwide. Attaching one to your passport wallet or holder can be a life-saver in a pinch!

  • Always Double-Check: Before leaving any location, whether it's a hotel, restaurant, or taxi, double-check that you have your passport with you. Create a mental checklist to ensure you haven't left it behind.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of losing your passport while traveling.

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry?
2. What exactly does a passport expediter do?
3. Are passport expediting services legitimate?
4. How can I identify a reliable passport expeditor?
5. Is expedited passport service worth it?

Get answers to these questions and more in our Ultimate U.S. Traveler's Guide to Passport Expediters.

You can also visit our library of articles about passport expediting.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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