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What Happens If You Lose Your Passport Abroad?

 

Few things are more stressful when traveling than to lose crucial things, such as cash, credit cards, plane tickets, or essential ID like your passport. When this happens, panic can set in quickly and you may fear that you will be stuck in a country much longer than expected. However, there is no need to panic. The embassy in almost any country you are in can issue you with an emergency passport. The key is to familiarize yourself with the process, have the right information, follow these steps, and stay calm. 

 

  1. Go to the Embassy Immediately

Locate the embassy of your home country immediately. For this article, we will refer to the U.S. Embassy and regulations governing replacement passports. You can find the U.S. embassy on government websites. Once you arrive at the embassy, ask for the consular services and tell the officials your passport was lost or stolen and let them know when you need to leave the country so they have an idea of your required time frame. 

 

You will need to provide the embassy officials with proof of your identity, such as a driver’s license or identity card. Also, arrive at the embassy with at least two passport-sized photos so you won’t have to make an additional appointment. 

  1. Provide the Necessary Items

You will need all of the following items to get an emergency passport promptly and without complications. If you lack any of them, you still may be able to get an emergency passport, but the process may be more difficult. 

  • Passport photos
  • Identification (drivers license, identity card, expired passport)
  • Evidence of citizenship (birth certificate, expired passport, photo of current passport)
  • Travel tickets
  • Passport application
  • Declaration of Lost or Stolen Passport

 

If you believe you were a victim of a crime, it is essential to report it to the police, but a police report is not needed to get an emergency passport, nor will it necessarily expedite the process. 

 

  1. How Long are Emergency Passports Valid?

An emergency passport can be valid for ten years for an adult or five years for a child but is recommended that you get a full passport on your return home. To get a regular passport, you must return your emergency passport. 

 

If you have substantial debt or multiple lost or stolen passports on your record, you may be given a limited passport which will last only long enough to get you back home. 

 

  1. How Much Do Emergency Passports Cost?

Emergency passports cost the same fee as processing a regular passport, around $145. If you are unable to pay the fee, you must give the consulate the contact information of a relative or friend who can pay for you. Those who are proven to be victims of a crime, a natural disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances may have their fees waived. It should be noted that embassies cannot issue emergency passports on weekends or holidays except through after-hours staff who will only do so in cases of extreme emergency.

Taking Precautions

It can be easy to lose track of your things during an extended vacation, but the hassle and expense of getting an emergency passport may inspire travelers to be careful. It is a good idea to travel with expired passports and drivers licenses to provide additional identification, or at least to have a picture of your passport on your phone. Just in case you are out traveling and your phone runs out of charge, having printed out photos of your passport handy and the embassy address written down can save you time if you have lost your passport while traveling and need to get to the embassy right away.