Given that your passport — proof not only of your identity but also of your citizenship — is such an important document, losing it while traveling abroad can be particularly stressful. Don’t lose your cool! Here’s how to cope with a lost passport.
1. Carry other documents
Always travel abroad (including to Canada and Mexico) with at least one photocopy of your passport’s photo/data page — even copies can serve as proof of citizenship when applying for replacements. If your destination country requires a visa, copy that, too. Stash copies separately from originals, and leave a set at home with your primary emergency contact. Email yourself and your emergency contact a scanned copy of the passport data page or your passport card. If you use cloud computer storage at home, upload a scan there, too. You can access this saved information in your email inbox or cloud storage from any computer in the world. Also, bring another government-issued photo ID — say, a driver’s license. This will help you prove your identity to consular or embassy officials. Before your trip, research where the nearest embassy or consulate is in relation to where you’re staying. Keep its contact information (address, phone and website) handy.
2. Register your trip
Before leaving home, register online in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the U.S. Embassy or consulate nearest to where you’re staying. Doing so enables you to document essential information, including your expected travel plans. Registering also acquaints you with embassy and consulate locations and services and with procedures for how to replace lost passports. You must create a user ID and password when you register, so be sure to keep this information in a safe and accessible place during your trip. Embassies are typically located in national capitals and provide U.S. citizens with the full breadth of services. Consulates are typically in major cities and provide fewer services, though many can help with lost passports. Check out the U.S. Department of State’s full list of American embassies and consulates.