Passport Replacement: How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport Fast

Passport Replacement: How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport Fast

Your passport holds the key to unlocking once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so it can be quite disheartening when it has been lost or stolen. It’s also a pivotal part of returning to the United States when traveling, and losing it can limit your ability to return to your loved ones or perform work responsibilities—adding extra stress to an already nerve-wracking situation.

In situations like these, it may be necessary to replace your passport quickly. This article will walk you through a step-by-step guide on what to do if your passport is stolen or lost, including tips on how to: 

What to do when you lose your passport

Whether you’ve simply misplaced your passport or lost it to theft, it’s important not to panic. Losing an important travel document happens to the best of us and there are steps in place to get you back to your travels swiftly. 

Fortunately, the process of reporting and replacing your lost or stolen passport is relatively simple. The following sections will outline what to do if you lose your passport, what to do if your passport is stolen, and how to replace a lost passport.  

1. Report the loss or theft to authorities

To protect your identity, your first step is to report the loss or theft of your passport to the United States Department of Homeland Security. You can complete Form DS-64 online to report the loss or theft. You may also complete and mail a paper Form DS-64, though this method may take longer to process and extend your wait time. 

Form DS-64 will require that you fill out the following identifying information:

  • First, middle, and last name
  • Date and location of birth
  • Current address and contact information
  • Social Security number
  • Passport number and expiration date

Form DS-64 also asks that you describe the circumstances under which your passport was lost or stolen to inform law enforcement if a crime has been committed. If this is the case, you may also file a report with local authorities to obtain a police report. 

Once you report your passport as lost or stolen, it is immediately invalidated, so make certain that you’ve searched every nook and cranny before you complete this step. 

2. Apply for a replacement

Once you report your passport missing, the next step is to get a new one. To receive a replacement or second passport, you must complete a passport application using Form DS 11. 

Unlike Form DS-64 which can be completed online, you must apply in person for a lost passport replacement. If you are abroad, you can visit a U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are in the U.S., simply locate your nearest acceptance facility. 

Along with completed Form DS 11, you will need to gather the following supporting documents to apply for a lost or stolen passport replacement:

  • Form DS-64 – Must be filled out completely
  • Current ID – Can include a valid driver’s license, government employee ID, U.S. Permanent Resident Card, Trusted Traveler ID card, or Enhanced Tribal Card
  • Photocopy of current ID
  • Evidence of citizenship – Can include a certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Photocopy of evidence of citizenship 
  • One photo – Provide an acceptable passport photo. If you are abroad, it may be necessary to learn how to take a passport photo at home (or at your hotel)
  • Fees – Fees can range from $50-$175

Passport Fees 

If you are asking, “How much does a passport cost?” the answer is that it can vary depending on a few factors:

  • Type of passport 
  • Age of the applicant
  • Expediting fees

The primary difference between a passport book and card is that a card can only be used for international travel by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, while the book can be used for travel by land, sea, or air to all countries.1 Due to this distinction, cards will cost less than books.

In terms of age, passports for adults will cost more than those for minors. Including both the passport application fee and execution fee, an adult passport will range from $145 to $175, while a minor passport will range from $115 to $130.2 Similarly, passport cards cost $65 for adults and $50 for minors.3

Expediting Costs 

When your passport is suddenly lost or stolen, it can be difficult to know how to get a passport fast. If you have a tight deadline and are wondering what is the fastest way to replace a lost passport, you should consider purchasing an expedited passport.

The fee for expedited service is $60 on top of the other application costs. This is a steep price to pay if your trip is planned months in advance, but may be necessary if you have urgent travel plans. 

3. Wait for the replacement

In the case of passport applications, patience is a virtue. The average processing time for passport applications is 8 to 11 weeks.4 If you opted for an expedited service, wait times can reduce to 5 to 7 weeks.4 While this timeline seems daunting, think of it as an opportunity to extend your vacation or travel planning.

Passport Management Tips

After submitting these forms and fees, and waiting weeks to receive your new passport, you probably want to avoid this situation again. The best way to make sure you don’t run into this issue on or before your next trip is to practice proper passport safety and management habits. 

Important systems to put in place include:

  • Making a backup photocopy of your passport while traveling
  • Purchasing a passport book and card for extra backup
  • Storing your passport in a safe or at the front desk while traveling 
  • Concealing your passport under clothing when in public areas
  • Being mindful about where you store your passport at home

Manage Lost or Stolen Passports Easily with GOV+

Whether you’ve lost your passport at home or have experienced theft on your vacation, this article can guide you on how to get your replacement quickly and efficiently, and avoid any additional upsets.

At GOV+ we aim to simplify your life with detailed guides and a platform to file, track, and manage your government applications from your own home. If you are curious about other passport topics, like how to renew your passport, we are here to guide you through the process and provide you with the resources and paperwork you need. 

FAQs

Is it possible to replace a lost passport online?

While you can submit Form DS-64 online, it is required that you fill out Form DS-11 in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate, or your nearest acceptance facility. 

If my passport is expired, do I need to report it lost?

If your passport has already expired, you do not need to report it lost or stolen. Simply apply for another passport to receive a new, valid travel document. 

If a passport is lost, how long does it take to replace it?

On average, it takes 8 to 11 weeks to replace your passport. If you opted for an expedited passport application, wait times can reduce to 5 to 7 weeks. 

I lost my passport card. Can I replace it the same way as the booklet? 

Yes. You must apply for your new passport card in person using Form DS-11. 

Can I travel using only my passport number?

No. You must have a valid passport book or card to travel.

What do I do if I find someone else’s passport?

Return the found passport to your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 

I think my passport is lost in the mail. What should I do?

If you think your passport is lost in the mail, please contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) by calling 877-487-2778 or 888-874-7793.

How do I cancel the passport of a deceased relative? 

Mail the passport, death certificate, and letter requesting cancellation to the U.S. Department of State Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit (CLASP).

If I lose my passport abroad, can I still travel?

No. Once you report your passport missing, it becomes invalidated. You must replace your passport before traveling again. 

I found my passport. Can I travel after I reported it lost or stolen?

No. Once you report your passport lost or stolen, it is invalidated and can no longer be used to travel. 

Sources: 

1. U.S. Department of State. Apply for a Passport Card. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/need-passport/card.html#:~:text=The%20passport%20card%20was%20designed,approved%20for%20international%20air%20travel

2. U.S. Department of State. Passport Fees. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/fees.html 

 3. U.S. Department of State. How to Get my U.S. Passport Fast. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast.html 

 4. Douglas County Colorado. Passport FAQ. https://www.douglas.co.us/recording/passports/passport-faqs/ 

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