A lost or stolen passport often causes alarm, especially if you have a trip abroad coming up soon. Fortunately there is a way to replace a U.S. passport quickly if you are in the United States. (If you lose your passport while traveling outside the U.S., immediately contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for guidance. They are there to assist you.)
The following are the four steps to take when you discover that your passport has been lost or stolen in the U.S.:
- Call the National Passport Information Center toll free at 877-487-2778 and report your lost passport. Do this as soon as you discover that it is missing so you can begin the replacement process immediately. Note that passports reported lost or stolen are immediately invalidated and cannot be used for international travel again. They cannot be re-validated if the passport is found or returned.
- Download and fill out the “Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport” (Form DS-64) from the U.S. Department of State website (http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms). Type in your information and print the completed form. You also can pick up a copy of the form at a local passport facility and fill it in by hand. Many libraries, post offices and court clerk offices serve as passport facilities. Call the National Passport Information Center to find the ones near you. Use black ink and print legibly on all passport forms. You will need to inform the U.S. Department of State about the circumstances surrounding the loss or theft of the passport. The information will be entered into the government’s lost/stolen passport system, so answer the questions truthfully and completely. Sign and date the form.
- Then download and fill out the “Application for a U.S. Passport” (Form DS-11). This is the same form you filled out when originally applying for a passport. It asks for personal information and travel plans. It also is online or in hard form at a passport facility. Fill out the form accurately and in its entirety, but do not sign and date it. A passport agent will instruct you to do so when you submit the forms.
- Submit the forms in person at a passport facility. If you need the passport in less than two weeks for international travel or within four weeks for a visa application, contact the National Passport Information Center. They will help you locate the nearest passport agency and schedule an appointment for you to submit the forms. If you do not need a passport within the next two weeks or month, take the two forms to a passport facility near you.
In the case that you find a passport that you reported missing, submit it to the U.S. Department of State at the following address: U.S. Department of State Passport Services Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section, 1111 19th St., NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036. If you want the passport returned to you, include a note indicating so. If not, the U.S. Department of State will destroy the old passport.
I hope the material in this article has been helpful but keep in mind it is informational only and not legal advice. Immigration Law can be complicated and mistakes can have severe consequences. If you have legal questions regarding a lost passport, please contact us. It will be my pleasure to assist you.