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What To Do if You Lose Your Passport on Vacation

By Fiona Mokry
Read time: 3 minutes

Losing your passport on vacation is a stressful scenario no traveler wants to find themselves in. Fortunately, there are measures in place to help you remedy the situation and get home quickly from your trip abroad. Follow this step-by-step guide for what to do when you lose your passport on vacation. 

Don’t Panic

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Sure, it’s easier said than done, but remember that panicking will not bring your passport back. It’s important to take a deep breath, think back to where you last saw it, and retrace your steps. If your passport still doesn’t turn up, stay calm and know that, while inconvenient, there are processes in place to help you obtain a new one.

File a Police Report

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Whether you suspect your passport was stolen, lost, or misplaced, your next step should be to file a report with the local authorities. Reporting the situation is less about the police locating your passport and more about you obtaining official documentation. However, this is not a mandatory step. If circumstances prevent you from doing this or your travel itinerary doesn’t allow for it, you can still apply for a new passport without an official report. 

Contact the Nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate

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Next, contact the nearest U.S consulate or embassy and ask to speak to their consular section to report your passport lost or stolen. You will need to make an appointment to appear in person at the nearest location to apply for a new passport, and it could take some time to get there. Depending on the situation and urgency, the consular section may issue you a limited-validity emergency passport, which can usually be ready within one day and is good for up to one year. If there’s sufficient time, you may be issued a fully valid passport good for 10 years. Both passports have the standard $140 fee attached (as of 2024). 

Apply for a New Passport

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To apply for a new passport, you will need to bring the following items with you to your in-person appointment at the embassy or consulate: a passport photo, another form of valid identification (such as a driver’s license), proof of U.S. citizenship (a birth certificate or photocopy of your passport), your flight itinerary, a completed DS-11 Passport Application, and a DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport. (In the event you can’t provide all these documents, the State Department’s website notes that consular staff will do their best to assist.) 

Given these requirements for obtaining a new passport, it’s critical that you keep a virtual copy of your passport on your phone, as well as a photocopy. It’s also advisable to carry your driver’s license with you as a second form of identification. Remember to store these important documents in a separate place from your passport and avoid tucking them into the flap or pages of your passport.

Be Flexible With Your Travel Plans

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Keep in mind that embassies and consulates typically do not issue passports on weekends or holidays. If you happen to lose your passport during these periods and have an upcoming flight, you’ll likely need to reschedule. This will ensure sufficient time to obtain a new passport before your departure. (Travel insurance may be able to offset some of these costs.)

Exchange Your Passport at Home

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If you were issued a limited-validity emergency passport, this can be exchanged for a fully valid one when you get home. Complete the DS-5504 form along with another DS-11 Passport Application form and submit by mail. If you’ve already paid the $140 passport fee abroad, you won’t need to pay any additional charges, unless you opt for expedited processing, which costs an extra $60.

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