I Lost My Passport: What Should I Do?

Losing your passport can make even the most experienced travelers panic. We offer step-by-step instructions to get your passport replaced and you back on the road.
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Finding that your passport or passport card has been lost or stolen can be highly stressful, especially if you’re in a foreign country or about to leave for an important trip. Because you can’t travel internationally without a passport or even get back home if you lose yours while abroad, getting a replacement passport is a vital piece of the travel puzzle.

Before you panic about losing your passport, it’s always a good idea to look again to ensure you haven’t just misplaced it or moved it to a special place for safekeeping. If your passport is truly gone, you’ll need to report it to the proper authorities, apply for a replacement, pay the fees, and then wait for the new one to arrive.

Below is a guide to help you through every step of the replacement process so you can get back on the road in no time.

In this article
How to report a lost passport
How to replace a lost passport
What documents do I need to replace a lost passport?
How long does it take to replace a lost passport?
Bottom line

How to report a lost passport

If you’ve lost your passport and searched every filing cabinet and folder you have with no luck, it's time to start taking steps to replace it. You should first report the lost or stolen passport to the U.S. State Department so it can be canceled.

Don’t put off reporting your missing passport. You can’t get a new passport until the old one is verified as lost or stolen, and losing a U.S. passport can be a big deal. A U.S. passport is one of the most powerful travel documents in the world and contains personally identifiable information thieves can use to steal your identity. Even if you choose not to get a new passport immediately, it's still important to report the lost passport as soon as possible.

There are three ways to report your passport lost or stolen:

Online and by mail

Visit the Report My Passport Lost or Stolen portion of the U.S. Department of State website. You’ll be directed to online Form DS-64, where you’ll need to supply your personal information, such as full name, birth date, Social Security number, and the date your passport was issued, among other details. Making a color copy of your passport photo page and keeping it with your travel documents, as well as having a digital copy uploaded to the cloud, is a good idea for situations like these.

When your Form DS-64 is complete, you’ll be able to print it, and either mail it to the address provided on the form or take it with you when you apply in person, depending on how quickly you intend to travel.

If you are mailing your form, remember that the State Department processing time starts after they receive your documents, not from the date of mailing.

By phone

Call toll-free at 1-877-497-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793). Note that if you want to apply for a new passport, you’ll also have to complete and mail Form DS-64 to complete your application.

Citizens abroad

If you are abroad when you discover your passport is missing, you will have to replace it before returning to the U.S. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance and ask to speak to the Consular Section to report a lost or stolen passport.

How to replace a lost passport

Once you’ve reported your original passport lost, you can start the replacement process.

Much like when you applied for your first passport, you must fill out Form DS-11 according to the provided instructions, attach a passport photo to your application and apply in person at a designated facility.

You’ll pay a $130 application fee to the State Department and a $35 execution and acceptance fee directly to the facility where you apply. Additional fees may apply if you need to expedite your application process or to get your new passport sent in one to two days.

Where you apply depends on how soon you need to travel using the new passport.

If you are in the U.S. and your travel date is at least seven weeks out

If you are traveling more than seven to 10 weeks from the date of your application, you will need to search the State Department’s website for the nearest Passport Acceptance Facility. This might be a post office, a city or county clerk’s office, or even some public libraries. Some facilities have limited hours or require appointments, so be sure to call the specific location to verify if you need an appointment, their current hours, and the types of payment they accept.

If you are in the U.S. and travel in six weeks or less

If you travel within a shorter time frame (less than six weeks), you may need to expedite your passport application. You can follow the same procedure by searching for a Passport Acceptance Facility and confirming that the one closest to you has expedited options available. You will likely have to pay an expedited fee of $60 in addition to the application and execution/acceptance fees.

If you are in the U.S. and travel in 14 days or less

Having to replace your passport within fourteen days of your travel date is considered urgent. You will need to call 1-877-487-2778 and make an appointment at the closest Passport Agency, a State Department office that handles expedited passport applications. You cannot make appointments online, and walk-ins without an appointment will be turned away.

The passport call center will help you determine what type of appointment is needed. If your need is a life-or-death emergency — i.e., travel within 72 hours because an immediate family member is gravely ill or dying outside the U.S. — they can direct you to resources to help. 

If you need urgent travel service for regular travel within 14 days of your departure date, they can help you find an appointment and tell you what documents you’ll need to bring. There is no guarantee an appointment that meets your time frame will be available.

To prevent someone falsely claiming an appointment made for you by the call center, the phone representative will provide unique confirmation information only you will know. That way the staff at the passport agency can identify you when you arrive and know that no one is trying to impersonate you. Don’t share that information with anyone or leave it easily accessible.

If you are outside the U.S.

As mentioned above, you’ll have to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to replace your passport if you’ve lost it abroad. 

The regular and expedited passport fees apply for getting a replacement passport abroad. You’ll need to present a passport photo, driver’s license, identifying documents such as U.S. citizenship evidence, and your travel itinerary (airline or train tickets).

If you are scheduled to leave the country in a short time frame, let the consular staff know your travel details so they can help expedite the process. They may even be able to direct you to a local place where you can get a new passport photo taken, as you will need an acceptable photo before arriving at the consular office.

What documents do I need to replace a lost passport?

In addition to submitting Form DS-11, you will also need to provide one of the following in its original form or a certified, physical copy when you go in person to the passport acceptance facility or agency.

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship: You must provide an original and valid U.S. birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth, a Certificate of Naturalization, or a Certificate of Citizenship to replace your passport.
  • Valid ID: You will also need to present a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, government employee ID (city, county, state, or federal), a U.S. military or military dependent ID, a current and valid foreign passport, U.S. Permanent Resident Card (Green card), Trusted Traveler ID, or Enhanced Tribal Cards and Native American tribal photo IDs.

Note that a digital driver’s license is not acceptable for a passport application. You need to submit your physical photo ID.

  • A photocopy of your proof of U.S. Citizenship and your ID: You will also need to provide a photocopy of your proof of U.S. Citizenship and your ID. If you can’t make a photocopy or don’t want to, you can provide a second original or certified copy for the State Department to keep. Photocopies must be 8.5-by-11 inches, printed in black and white on white paper, and single-sided.

How long does it take to replace a lost passport?

Routine processing times may take between seven and 10 weeks. An application can be expedited and processed in four to six weeks, though you will have to pay an additional fee. When your new passport is ready, you can pay an additional fee to have it mailed to you in one-to-two business days.

The State Department says that processing times begin when they receive your application at a passport agency or center, not the day you mail your application or apply, so it's essential to consider that timing when replacing your passport.

You can track the progress of your application online at the travel.state.gov website.



Can I get a replacement passport faster?

You can expedite the process for a replacement passport, but you will have to pay an additional fee of $60 on top of the $130 application fee and $35 execution fee. Expedited passports still take four to six weeks to complete, and the time begins once the State Department has received your application, not when you go to apply in person.

You can pay extra to have your new passport sent in one to two business days if you are shipping to a U.S. address. Find out more about expedited services timeframes and fees on the U.S. Department of State travel site.


I found my passport. Can I still use it?

If you have already reported the passport lost or stolen, you can’t use it. Passports are invalidated when reported missing and cannot be used for travel. If you try to use an invalid passport, you’ll likely encounter delays and problems during your travels. Instead, apply for a new passport by filling out Form DS-11 and applying in person.


Can I travel if I lose my passport?

No, if you lose your passport, you cannot travel abroad until you get a replacement. Even if you lose it while in a foreign country, you’ll need to get a replacement passport before returning to the U.S. since travelers must present an original, physical version of a passport when entering or exiting the United States. Photocopies or only your passport number will not work; you must have the original.


Can a lost passport lead to identity theft?

Although a lost passport may not be the most common issue you think of when you think about identity theft, it can lead to trouble that takes effort and time to correct. 

Some criminals may try to take your appointment at a Passport Agency in order to get a physical copy of a false passport, whereas others may just try to use the passport number or photocopies of your passport to commit fraud electronically. 

If you lose your passport, be sure to report it to the State Department as soon as possible to help avoid any identity theft issues.

Bottom line

If you lose your passport, don’t panic. Instead, make sure it's lost, report it to the State Department to help prevent identity theft and apply for a new one using the steps above. 

Ensure you keep your documents secure and safe while traveling so your trip doesn’t hit the skids. Keep photocopies of essential documents with you as you travel, both in person and in the cloud. That way, even if you lose your passport, you have all the necessary information to help you replace it as quickly as possible.

Be sure to secure your online data when you travel too. Using a VPN to encrypt your internet connection is a great start, and a password manager can help you access your accounts even when you're away from home.

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Author Details
Kate Daugherty, a Denver-based professional writer with a B.A. from the University of Colorado, specializes in personal finance, digital security, and personal privacy. Inspired by her own credit theft experience, Kate is passionate about helping people stay safe online. Through her engaging articles in Finance Buzz, Success Magazine, and the Family Money Adventure blog, she shares easy-to-follow tips for boosting online security and financial well-being.