passport stampsHaving to call someone and tell them, "I lost my passport." is not something anyone ever wants to have to do, but it does happen from time to time, especially if you travel often.

As big of an inconvenience it is, it doesn't have to completely ruin your trip or plans for a trip. You'll just have to spend a little time doing some damage control. This article goes over what to do if you are a U.S. citizen that has either lost their passport or had it stolen.

Reporting Your Stolen or Lost Passport

As soon as you notice that your passport has been lost or stolen you need to report it immediately to the proper authorities. Just informing the police about it will not be enough; you will also need to inform the U.S. Department of State. As soon as you relay that information your passport will be invalidated and will no longer be able to be used for travel (even if found). If you do find the passport after informing the State Department, you must submit it to the address below for cancellation. After cancellation it will either be returned to you (if requested at turn in) or destroyed.

• If you are outside the United States you need to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. They will be able to tell you exactly what to do.

• If you are in the U.S. there are two methods in which you can report your lost or stolen document.

1-Contact the State Department by phone by calling 1-877-487-2778. Operators are available 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., ET, Monday – Friday, excluding Federal holidays.

2-Complete, sign and submit Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport to the following address:

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services
Consular Lost / Stolen Passport Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Replacing a Lost or Stolen Passport

This should also be done as fast as possible to keep others from using your passport for travel. You are going to have to fill out and submit the two forms below to an Acceptance Facility or Passport Agency. You will have to do this in person.

• Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport, and
• Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport

Preventing Your Passport from Being Lost or Stolen

• When you finally get your passport make sure that the information is correct. If it is, sign it and fill in address and contact info.
• When you first get your passport, take a minute to record the number, date and place of issue. It would be wise to also make a photocopy of your passport, at least of all important information (numbers, eye color, stamps, etc) as you will need it if you ever have to replace the document. Keep the information in a safe place.
• When not in use keep it out of sight and after use put it away immediately.
• Try to make at least two copies of your passport and photos. Take one set with you on any trips and leave the other with a trusted friend or relative that can be contacted in case of an emergency. Online storage companies are another option if you want to be able to retrieve the information from a computer.
• Don't leave your passport in your luggage, purse, hotel room, automobile, etc. It is better to carry it in a money belt or inside a coat pocket. When you check into a hotel, you can put it into one of their safes.
• If your family travels in groups, don't let any one family member carry all of the passports. Odds of one person losing them all go up significantly.
• Never allow anyone looking at your passport to leave your sight. If they start to leave, you should request that you come with them.
• When at home you should store all important papers in a safe place.

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