A Lost Passport Is Not A Panic Situation

by garrett on September 7, 2011

Travel and document loss seem to go together. When a foreign national has had to go through the experience of filing for a lost passport, they will have to be patient. These things happen and since there is an infrastructure in place to handle such emergencies the best policy to follow is that of a positive attitude. There is no need to panic or get angry. When a local recognizes the opportunity to target a foreigner for their documents of identification, the more calmly the retrieval of a new document is done, the less stress for everyone concerned.

Contact US Embassy

The first step to take is to contact the closest US embassy or consular office. The sooner a new application for a replacement document is filled out, the better. It is always a good idea to have a photocopy of the lost document made before it gets lost. It is the quickest way to produce proof of identity.

Basic Information

The applicant will be requested to provide some essential information about the document in question. The issuance date and place and number if possible would help speed up the application. The applicant will also be required to write what happened in the form of an affidavit.

Passport Verification System

The old application for the lost document will be traced via the Passport Verification System. When the consular officer feels that the identification of the applicant has been satisfied, they will proceed with the issuance of a new document. If, however, some lingering questions remain, a three-month temporary passport will be approved.


When the applicant has suffered financial loss also, they will not be required to pay for the limited validity passport. This will provide them with the identification required to re-enter the United States. They can apply for their regular validity document once they are back at home. The limited validity document will restrict their movements while outside of the US.

When The Consular Is Closed

Applications are processed during business days. They will not be processed on weekends or holidays when the Department of State is also closed. An after hours consular officer is on call for situations where a life or death concern is taking place. Losing one’s passport is not a life or death concern even though it may almost feel like it.

Time It Takes

Replacing lost documents such as identity papers is a straightforward process if there are no extenuating circumstances. Normally a replacement document can be processed within a few days but this is dependent on where the applicant is located. Local holidays and other circumstances could influence the time frame so these must also be factored into the waiting time.

The traveler can decrease the chances of a lost passport by practicing good habits. Many travelers wear their identification documents under their outer clothing in a pouch fastened around their waist. No one wants to willingly go through the bureaucratic process of reclaiming their documents. When this has happened, it is good to learn the lessons that the experience has produced. Avoiding another loss makes for a more enjoyable stay abroad. 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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