What To Do In A Lost Or Stolen Passport Situation

by erin on June 3, 2010

The passport is the most precious
travel document and losing it can be very frustrating. These days,
travelers cannot leave the U.S. without having a passbook in hand. Since
thieves look at this document as something very valuable, it is
important to keep it secured during travel. Many people will not
hesitate to pick up a misplaced passbook and sell it to someone. Having a
lost or stolen passport also inconveniences the passbook holder because
the document will need to be replaced.

Once the holder has determined that the passbook is missing, the
incident should be immediately reported to the government. This will
prevent the document from being used by thieves to travel between
countries.. The missing passbook report may be submitted via telephone
or paper DS-64 government form. Situations that occur during foreign
travel should be reported to the nearest U.S. consulate or U.S. embassy.

When traveling, it will be more urgent, and also more complicated, to
immediately replace the passbook. To help speed the process, the holder
should make copies of this document in advance of travel and include
them in the travel paperwork. A copy will serve as temporary proof of
identity and may help in the reporting and renewal process. There are
also types of travel insurance that include additional protection and
cost to replace the document.

Those traveling abroad will need to apply for a new passport in person
by visiting a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate. The directory of these
agencies may be found online so this information should be researched,
printed, and included with the travel documents. If this is not done,
the traveler will need to get Internet access while away or ask the
staff at the hotel for the directory. It is important to get to the
appropriate agency as soon as possible to get a replacement passbook.

The passbook will be invalidated as soon as it is reported missing,
making it unable to be used for further travel. If the holder finds the
passbook, he or she should immediately submit it to the Department of
State. This office will handle the cancellation of the passbook and
return the canceled document to the holder. A canceled passbook may not
be reactivated, so to eliminate the time and expense required to get a
new one, the person should be sure that the passbook is lost before
reporting it.

Individuals who have a lost or stolen passport must reapply for a new
passbook in person. This can be done at a Passport Agency, post office,
or Passport Acceptance Facility. The steps that must be followed are the
same as those for first time applicants. The DS-64 form will need to be
supplied with the DS-11 application, supporting documents, and relevant
fee. A new passbook will be mailed to the applicant four to six weeks
after the paperwork is processed by the government.

Passports that are lost shortly before travel must be immediately
replaced in order for the travel to take place as scheduled. In this
situation, a four to six week turnaround time may not be feasible for
the passbook holder. Expedited processing is available from the
government for $60.00 and this will provide a new passport within three
weeks. For some, this may still be too long, so they will opt to use a
private company for passport services. These companies charge a large
fee for processing, but they can provide a new passbook within as little
as 24 hours.

Having a lost or stolen U.S. passports is not fun, but there are solutions in the form of expedited processing and the use of private companies for passport services. The holder must report the lost document using the DS-64 form, then begin the passbook application process. When all steps are followed correctly, the individual will have a new US passport within as little as 24 hours when a private service is used.

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