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How to Replace a Lost Passport? Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do

You’ve booked your holiday, found the perfect accommodation and made a list of fun activities for the trip but...you’ve lost your passport. This is bound to send you into a whirlwind of panic, and now you need to find out how to replace your lost passport!

What do I do now? Can I replace it? How long will it take? Will I have to cancel my trip? Are my dreams of international travel foiled? All of these questions will be racing through your head.

Well, take a deep breath and relax. You’ve found the best guide to take you step-by-step through your application for a new passport!

That trip to Bali isn’t off the cards just yet, so don’t unpack your suitcase! Beautiful serene beaches and scorching sunshine can still be yours to enjoy.

What to do if you lost your passport?

In the case of a missing passport, or a stolen passport in the United States, there are some key steps you need to take to ensure that things go smoothly.

Have a thorough look for it!

Before you do anything, check you have searched high and low. Look in every nook and cranny to make sure it's not still in your possession.

You don’t want to go through an unnecessary amount of stress, so be thorough. Imagine how silly you’ll feel if you find your passport hidden under a sock or in a bag compartment.

Report it

When you’ve made sure you definitely don’t have your passport, the next step is to report it to the relevant authorities.

Expecting to travel within the next 3 weeks? You will need to make an appointment and visit a passport agency.

If you are not planning on travelling within the next 3 weeks, you should make an appointment to visit a passport acceptance facility.

If you’re outside the U.S. and perhaps in a foreign country, you will need to visit your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

When reporting your lost passport, you have three options:

  • Report it online using the wizard to submit form DS-64
  • Report it by calling 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793)
  • Report it by mail through downloading form DS-64, filling it out and sending it off to U.S. Department of State, Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit

You can also file a police report if your passport was stolen. You should do this in the following situations:

  • Your passport was stolen as part as a violent crime
  • Your passport was stolen with other identification documents
  • Your passport was stolen along with other valuables

Don’t forget, once it’s reported as lost or stolen, it is completely invalidated and can no longer be used.

Apply for a new passport

Because you have lost your passport, you cannot apply for a passport renewal. Therefore, you are required to apply for a replacement passport in person as with first time applications.

This means you must fill in form DS-11 as well as form DS-64.

What documents do I need to replace a lost passport?

For your new passport application, you will be required to gather a few different documents. These include:

Evidence of U.S. citizenship

Proof of U.S. citizenship could be a certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate, a U.S passport card, an expired passport.

Identification documents

A driver’s license is an acceptable identification document to bring with you as proof of identity.

If you haven't got behind the wheel yet, don’t worry a provisional driving license is also acceptable.

Application documents

The required application documents are your DS-11 application form and DS-64 statement.

Passport photo

In order to acquire a passport replacement, you will also need a passport photo. There are specific requirements for this. These include:
It should be a coloured photo

  • It must not be more than 6 months old
  • You cannot wear any eyewear
  • It must be taken in front of a white background with no shadows
  • It should be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • You must not digitally edit the photo
  • It should be of a high resolution
  • You should not be wearing a head covering.You may wear a head covering for religious or medical reasons. If this is the case, you are required to bring additional documentation explaining why you wear it
  • It should not be bent, damaged or dirty

Travel itinerary

Your travel itinerary is required for proof of travel. This could be your airline tickets or train tickets.

If you’ve planned a trip to go see the ruins of Pompeii, or explore the Forbidden City in Beijing, you’re going to need to provide evidence of this.

How long does it take to replace a lost passport?

The standard processing time to replace a lost passport is around 6 weeks. However, if you haven’t got any upcoming flights or international travel this will suit you just fine.

Choosing this option also means you won't incur an additional fee. And that means more money to spend on the things you love!

How to replace a passport fast?

If the date of your flight is nearing and you're worried your new passport won’t be ready in time, you can always choose to go for an expedited passport.

This will ensure that your passport will arrive in time for your upcoming trip. So, keep calm.

To do this you will need to reach out to your regional passport agency and book an appointment.
You can do this by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. They are open 24/7, so don’t sweat it.

Regional agencies can be found in:

  • Arkansas
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Buffalo
  • Chicago
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Dallas
  • Detroit
  • El Paso
  • Honolulu
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • New Orleans
  • New York
  • Portsmouth
  • Philadelphia
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Tucson

You may apply for an expedited passport through an agency or centre because your international travel is right around the corner. It is outlined that this should take under 3 weeks. Typically you can expect it to be ready in around 8 business days.

However, if you apply for an expedited passport through a passport acceptance facility, it will take between 3-8 weeks.

You may require an emergency passport replacement of your lost passport due to a life or death emergency. If you do you can get an appointment within 72 hours (3 business days).

In order to qualify for this you will need to provide evidence. This could be:

  • A letter from a healthcare professional
  • A death certificate, or
  • Documentation from a mortuary.

Can I replace a lost passport in one day?

Your travel plans may be imminent. Like REALLY imminent. Well lucky for you, you can replace a lost passport in one day. That’s right, 24 hours!

In this case you will require immediate assistance from passport services. In order to receive this you should get in touch with your nearest passport agency and book an appointment.

Try to avoid non-governmental agencies if you don’t fancy being charged up to $500. You’ll be happy to know that government agencies won’t charge this extortionate amount.

Make sure you have all your valid documents, such as proof of your travel itinerary and a copy of your birth certificate.

Also make sure you have a passport photo with you, as there will not be facilities to take a picture at the agency. Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Be prepared.

You will then need to follow the usual steps that accompany losing a passport. Fill out form DS-11 and form DS-64

Then, all you need to do is pay for the processing fee with any additional charges for expedited services and wait a few hours.

How much does it cost to replace a passport?

If you opt for the standard processing time, you can expect a processing fee of $110, plus an acceptance agent fee of $35.

For an expediting service, you will be charged an additional $60 on top of the normal passport fees. You will also be charged the fee for overnight shipping to and from the passport office.

Final thoughts before you start your journey to a new passport

Now that you’ve had some breathing space and thinking time, you should be feeling a lot more relaxed about your predicament. Sure, it sucks you’ve lost your passport, but you’ll be on your way in no time!

The process is pretty painless, so there’s no need to lose your head when faced with this unfortunate situation.

As long as you follow our step-by-step instructions, you’ll get where you need to be.

Now you can focus on the fun things, like what snacks to pack on your journey and all the benefits you'll get from travelling.

However, if you encounter further bumps in the road, like a flight delay or cancellation you may feel your stress levels rising once again.

In this case, EC261 has got you covered, and you may be entitled to compensation! If this is the case we can help!

Simply enter your flight details into our free compensation calculator and you’ll find out where you stand in no time at all.

Thomas Busson

Thomas Busson

Thomas is a Passenger Rights and Flight Compensation expert. Frequent traveller, he loves sharing tips and news to help people make the most of travel.

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How to Replace a Lost Passport? Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do
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