A Lost Passport Is Not A Cataclysmic Event

US Embassy

For the US citizen who has experienced a lost passport while traveling outside of their country, the tedious exercise of replacing it can be taken with either a positive or negative attitude. Theft and misplacement are part of life and the risk of this happening in another country is more likely since foreign passports are a desired commodity. One should handle the matter calmly since this happens frequently and the infrastructure is there to help the individual.

Contact US Embassy

The nearest US embassy or consulate should be contacted as soon as possible. A new application needs to be filled out and some proof of the individual’s US citizenship. It is recommended to have a photocopy of the document made in the event of theft for proof of identity in just such a situation.

Basic Information

The consular officer will need to know some basic information such as the number of the lost document, if possible, and the place and date where it was issued. An affidavit must also be filled out where the applicant must describe the circumstances in which their document was lost.

Passport Verification System

Once the previous document request has been located through the Passport Verification System or other means, the process to create a new document will continue. If the consular officer suspects fraud, they will want to further interview the applicant and if there is a lingering doubt, they will only issue a three month passport. If there is no doubt, another ten-year passport will be issued.


The regular fees will be charged but if the applicant lost all their money and has no way to borrow funds, they will be issued a limited validity document and no fee will be charged. When they return home they can apply for a full validity passport and pay the full fee. The limited passport provides sufficient identity clearance to re-enter the US.

When The Consular Is Closed

Generally speaking, the consular office will not process applications on weekends or holidays when the office is closed. They are not able to verify and clear the name through the Department of State during non-business hours. However, if there is a life or death situation, the after-hours officer is available for assistance.

Time It Takes

When there are no complications, the process for replacing a lost document is quite straightforward. Depending on the country and where the applicant is located geographically within that country the issuance of a new document should not take more than a few days. This also depends on local and US holidays and other factors.

Reducing the likelihood of a lost passport is easy enough. Wearing the document under one’s clothing is usually the safest place to keep it. There are special waist and shoulder pouches where a document can be safely worn under the clothing. Losing an important document is a nuisance but it can be easily remedied. Taking the steps in the replacement process in stride and learning from the experience are good attitudes to cultivate. There won’t be a next time once the lesson has been well learned. All of the above also applies if the lost passport is a child passport and an expedited child passport is required.

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