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Losing a passport is one of the most common nightmares travelers face while abroad. In the blink of an eye, a passport with identification and visas can be lost for good. With a simple bump, distraction, or other move, a passport can get lifted, lost, or gone entirely – with no direction on how to get it back.

No matter what happens, travelers need not panic if their passport is lost or stolen abroad.

This situation is one of the most common problems embassies around the world face on a daily basis. In most situations, consulate staff can help travelers replace their lost or stolen passport with little difficulty. Travelers who have lost their passport can have it replaced by following these steps.

Replacing a lost or stolen passport abroad
For travelers who have lost their passport while abroad, it is very important to replace those travel documents as quickly as possible. A passport not only identifies a traveler as a citizen of their native country, but is often required for visitor exit, and re-entering a home country..

Replacing a lost or stolen passport begins by contacting the United States Embassy and speaking with the Consular Section to start the process. The Consular Section can schedule travelers for an appointment to replace their passports. During the appointment, travelers will be asked to bring a number of items along, including current identification (such as a driver’s license) and your travel itinerary.

The process can be handled quicker and easier if travelers are are able to provide a photocopy of a lost or stolen passport from a travel contingency kit, alongside a police report about losing the passport.

Replacement passport are usually valid for ten years, unless in special circumstances identified by the consular officer.

While the Consular Section can help replace a physical passport, travelers may need to also replace visas as well. The consular officer can help you identify what needs to be replaced while staying in a country, or prior to exiting at the conclusion of a traveler’s stay.

Replacing a lost or stolen passport within the United States

Replacing a lost or stolen passport within the Untied States is a much simpler process, and may often be settled by a trip to the Post Office. All lost or stolen passport notices must be sent directly to the State Department for processing using two forms: the standard Passport application (Form DS-11), and a statement regarding the lost or stolen passport (Form DS-64).

In order to replace a lost or stolen passport while in the United States, both forms musts be filled out in their entirety. Form DS-64 will ask very specific questions about the means by which the passport was lost or stolen. Travelers should be prepared to detail how the documents were lost, where the loss occurred, when the loss was discovered, and if this has happened previously. Once signed and completed, this form must accompany the passport application – otherwise, the application may be denied.

Once complete, the package can be delivered through any Passport Application Acceptance Facility. All United States Post Offices are designated as Passport Application Acceptance Facilities, and can help you process the lost or stolen passport statement and application. Those who are traveling within two weeks must make an appointment at a regional Passport Center or Passport Agency to have their document replacement expedited. By appearing in person, travelers may be able to receive their travel documents in as few as eight days, but additional expediting fees will apply.

Reduce the risk with a duplicate Passport
Unbeknownst to many travelers, holding a duplicate passport is a perfectly legal safety measure for those who enjoy traveling. Although a traveler cannot leave the country with both passports, they can keep a second one on hand for processing international visas, or to simply ensure travel documents are always available.

In order to hold a second passport, travelers must prove their first passport is still valid. This can be as simple as including a photocopy of the current valid passport in an application packet. To request a second passport book, fill out the renewal application DS-82 as if you were renewing your current application. In the application packet, be sure to include a signed letter explaining the second passport request. Finally, send in the application with the $110 processing fees. Additionally, those who travel internationally often may be alternatively served through obtaining a passport card, or joining a trusted travel program.

By preparing a plan to replace a lost or stolen passport, travelers can ensure each of their trips continues as smooth as possible. Through calm, rational thought and careful planning, everyone can travel like a pro – even in the most stressful of circumstances.

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