What to do if your U.S. Passport Gets Lost or Stolen
The United States passport is a highly respected passport overseas due to the well established diplomatic and international relations, as well as the effective foreign policies that the United States has with other countries in terms of benefits, foreign aid, imports and exports. The U.S. passport offers its holders visa free travel to many countries around the world with a maximum duration of stay of about 90 days; sufficient time for holiday travel, doing business or simply visiting relatives or families overseas.
However, many US passport holders usually find themselves in the very inconvenient situation where their passport is either lost or stolen overseas. This issue can bring a wide number of drastic and severe consequences in terms of the holder’s overall identity, immigration issues at the overseas country and the inability to travel due to the lack of having a valid passport. For these reasons, all US passport holders who travel on a constant basis must be aware of the precautions that need to be taken into consideration in order to avoid the loss of theft of their passport.
Fortunately, unlike many other countries, the United States has embassies and consulates in almost all countries of the world, providing its citizens very special services and aid whenever their passport gets stolen or lost. The first step to take when either of these two scenarios occurs is to immediately report the loss or theft of the passport to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where the passport holder is located.
In order to initiate the reporting process it is necessary for the individual to go to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in person and submit the Form DS-64, which is precisely meant to report the loss or theft of a passport. If you are unable to go to the nearest embassy or consulate overseas, then it is necessary for you to contact a toll-free telephone number which is 1-877-487-2778. This toll-free telephone line is available from 8AM to 10PM, Monday to Friday and follows the eastern U.S. standard time (ET).
When you call to this toll-free telephone number you will be assisted by an operator who will take all of your information, details about the loss or theft or your passport and will send an alert to your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate about the issue so that the passport can be invalidated as soon as possible. You also have the option of mailing the Form DS-64 to the United States to this address:
US Department of State
Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
At the moment when this passport agency in Washington DC receives your form, your passport will also be invalidated and will no longer be valid for overseas travel, neither to and from other foreign countries nor to and from the United States via any form of transportation, including land, air and sea.
It is important to keep in mind that once a passport is reported as lost or stolen, it cannot be re-validated under any circumstances. Regardless of whether you recover your lost or stolen passport, you must apply and obtain a new one if you need it.
In order to replace your passport with a new one overseas, you have to follow all the same procedures as applying for a new passport with Form DS-11 and present all the requirements at the nearest U.S. embassy and consulate. The online passport system used by passport applications received from overseas will mail your new passport either to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate where you can then pick it up when it has arrived. Depending upon your location, the passport services department at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can even mail your new passport to your foreign address if applicable; however this entirely depends upon the regulations of each individual embassy or consulate.
In conclusion, do your best to always keep your important documents in a safe location and not carry them with you unless it is necessary. The inconvenience of losing a passport when you need it urgently for immigration or travel purposes can be quite a hassle, you can effectively follow these procedures in order to replace your new passport and avoid invalidating the one that you have lost in order to prevent identity theft or passport forgery.