Travel Tips: Help! My Passport was Lost or Stolen
The best thing you can bring on vacation out of the country is a healthy sense of adventure, right? Well, yes, but there’s something else that you need to have with you at all times; your passport. It’s a tiny booklet with which you have access to very big things. U.S. Passport holders are admitted entry into 170+ countries without a visa, making it one of the world’s most valuable.
The freedom to move throughout the world without hassle is obviously something some people would go to great lengths to get, that means it’s important to take extra care that it’s not lost or stolen while you’re abroad. Without your passport, you can’t get back into the United States. Not even a driver’s license or other photo ID can help you there.
What to do When your Passport is Lost or Stolen
If your passport goes missing, it’s only natural to panic, but that’s not going to help your situation at all. If retracing your steps and double checking everywhere proves fruitless, there are a few steps you need to take as soon as you can.
The first is go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate. The State Department has a list of U.S. Embassies on their website. Once there, you need to speak with the Consular Section to report your passport missing. If you were robbed or the victim of a crime, it’s important to give the embassy and local authorities as much information as possible.
If you’re scheduled to fly home soon, inform the embassy of your travel plans. Following their instructions as quickly and accurately as possible will help remedy your situation and get you back home safe and sound. You will need some way to prove you’re a U.S. citizen, so having a photocopy of your passport or picture of it on your mobile device is a very smart thing to do.
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If you’re unable to get to an embassy immediately, but are in contact with friends or family back home, they can contact the State Department on your behalf. Have them contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C, at 1-888-407-4747. You will have to visit the embassy in person to start the process of getting a replacement passport.