Your passport identifies your country of citizenship. This important document allows you to return home from international trips and, in some cases, enter foreign countries, so it’s vital that you keep it safe when you’re abroad.
Still, despite your best efforts, you may misplace your passport during your trip. Knowing what to do when this occurs can help you take the necessary steps to replace your passport as soon as possible. That’s why our team at Remitly created this guide that will walk you through the steps to take when you lose your passport while traveling.
General steps for replacing a lost passport
The exact steps you’ll need to take to replace a lost passport while abroad vary depending on which country issued your travel document. However, most countries have the same basic procedure for reporting a lost or stolen passport. Here are the steps you typically need to take to request a lost passport replacement.
1. Report the lost or stolen passport
Reporting the loss or theft of your passport is typically the first step, and you should do so as soon as possible to get the replacement process underway.
Most countries require you to contact a consulate or embassy in the country where you’re traveling to begin the process. Depending on your country’s rules and regulations, you may need to do so in person, or you might be able to contact them by phone, email, or an online form.
2. Notify the authorities if theft was involved
If your passport was stolen, the embassy or consulate may ask you to notify local law enforcement about the incident. You will typically need to visit a police station to do so. The embassy or consulate official should be able to help you find the nearest police station.
3. Complete a lost passport application
After you report your lost or stolen passport to your country via the embassy and law enforcement as needed, you’ll usually be asked to fill out a form to request a passport replacement.
You may need to complete and/or sign it in the presence of an embassy or consulate official. In other cases, it may be possible to submit the form online.
4. Pay any applicable fees
You’ll often need to pay a passport replacement fee to the embassy or consulate to cover the costs of processing the application and producing the new document.
How to replace a lost passport from specific countries
To help you replace your lost passport as easily as possible, we created this step-by-step guide to the process for U.S., Canadian, UK, and Australian passport holders. Jump down to the section that applies to you for instructions on what to do about your lost or stolen passport.
If you’re a U.S. passport holder, follow these steps to request a passport replacement.
Contact the closest U.S. embassy or consulate
As soon as you realize your passport is missing, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate office closest to your current location. Use this directory published by the U.S. State Department to find the office.
Call the embassy or consulate first to let them know about your situation. They will typically ask you to come into the embassy or consulate and may ask you to file a police report before your visit if your passport was stolen.
Gather identifying documents
To replace a lost passport, you typically need to provide the following documentation to the U.S. embassy or consulate:
- A 2-inch by 2-inch passport photo
- Photo identification like a driver’s license
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or a photocopy of your passport
- Proof of travel plans, such as your train or airline tickets
- Police report, if you filed one
If you don’t have one of the above required identifying documents, the embassy or consulate official will try to help you obtain them.
Complete the required forms
To get a U.S. passport replacement, you must complete two forms:
The embassy can provide paper versions of these forms to fill out in person.
Pay the required replacement fee
Typically, you’ll need to pay the standard fees for a new passport when requesting a replacement abroad. This fee calculator tool can help you determine the costs.
If you cannot afford the fees, you can provide the name of a person in the U.S. willing to pay the costs on your behalf, and the embassy or consulate will work with them to obtain payment.
If you cannot provide the name of someone who can cover the costs of your passport replacement, the embassy or consulate may issue a free limited-validity passport that you can use only to return home. If you wish to travel internationally again in the future, you’ll need to apply for a new passport and pay the necessary fees.
The U.S. State Department will typically waive fees for U.S. passport holders who meet one of the following criteria:
- Were victims of a serious crime, such as an armed robbery
- Were involved in a natural disaster
Canadian passport holders should follow these steps if their travel document is lost or stolen while abroad.
File a report with the Passport Program
The first step to request a passport replacement is to report the loss or theft to the Canadian Passport Program. You can do so online by clicking this link.
You may also want to get in touch with the closest Canadian embassy or consulate so that they can assist you with the process. Refer to this directory for contact details.
Check the status of your passport
The next step you’ll need to take to get a Canadian passport replacement depends on whether your passport is eligible for renewal. This tool can help you check the status of your passport.
If your passport is eligible for renewal, the above tool will walk you through the steps to take to complete the process while abroad.
If your passport is ineligible for renewal, you’ll need to apply for a new one online. Click this link to get started.
Pay the necessary fees
In addition to completing the necessary paperwork, you’ll need to pay the standard passport fees outlined on this schedule. Typically, there is an additional fee for the passport replacement, which varies depending on which country you’re in and how quickly you need your replacement passport.
If you hold a UK passport, follow these steps if you lose your travel documents while abroad.
Contact your closest embassy, high commission, or consulate
To report your lost or stolen passport, get in touch with the closest embassy, high commission, or consulate to you. This directory can help you identify the nearest location.
Contact the office by phone so they can cancel your lost or stolen passport as quickly as possible. The official will typically ask you to visit the embassy, high commission, or consulate location at your earliest convenience.
Complete form LS01
The UK doesn’t reissue passports for people who are traveling abroad. Instead, the government provides a temporary travel document that you can use to reenter the UK.
To request one, complete Form LS01. You can access it online and take it with you to the embassy, high commission, or consulate office, or request one in person once you arrive.
Provide the necessary information
In order for the UK government to issue your emergency passport, the official at the embassy will need:
- A digital passport photo
- A local contact phone number, such as your cell phone or hotel phone number
- Your email address
- Your travel plan information, such as your plane or train ticket
Pay the fee
The UK government charges a £100 fee for issuing an emergency passport. You can pay the fee online or in person via your debit or credit card.
Apply for a new passport at home
Once you return to the UK, you can request a permanent passport replacement through the application process. You can take the first steps outlined on this website.
If you have an Australian passport, follow these steps to request a passport replacement.
Contact the closest consulate or embassy
Australian law requires all passport holders to report losses and thefts in a timely manner. Failure to do so can result in a fine of 100 penalty units and/or up to 10 years in prison.
When traveling abroad, the best way to file a report is to contact the nearest Australian consulate or embassy. This directory can help you locate the closest location. Call the embassy or consulate immediately to let them know about the situation.
Follow the official’s instructions
The embassy or consulate office will determine what steps you should take next. You may be asked to apply for a new passport and pay the standard passport fees.
Alternatively, the embassy or consulate may issue you a temporary emergency passport for your return trip. In this case, it will be necessary for you to apply for a new passport once you return to Australia.
Tips on how to protect your passport and travel safely abroad
To protect your passport while traveling and simplify the replacement process if the worst should happen while you’re away, follow these tips.
1. Make use of your hotel safe
Don’t carry your passport when sightseeing, dining out, and attending events abroad. Instead, lock it up in the safe in your hotel room or behind the front desk of your hotel.
2. Stay aware of your surroundings
Be vigilant when you’re in public spaces. Walk with your head up and observe those around you rather than staring at your phone.
Avoid unlit areas at night and stick to places with other people rather than venturing into isolated areas.
3. Produce copies of your passport
Before you leave for your trip, make photocopies of your passport. Keep one in your luggage and leave one with a trusted friend or family member at home.
4. Use a passport holder
A passport holder or wallet makes your passport bulkier and more difficult to lose. It will also help to protect your travel documents from wear and tear.
5. Consider travel insurance
Travel insurance can help cover unexpected costs while you’re traveling. A policy may help pay for additional days in a hotel and changes to flights and train tickets if you need to delay your trip home while you wait for a new passport.
In addition, a travel insurance policy may help to pay for passport replacement fees. Some insurers have 24/7 hotlines that can assist you if you lose your personal belongings or are the victim of theft.
6. Bring an extra passport photo with you
Sometimes, you may need to present a passport photo to obtain a new passport abroad. Bring an extra photo just in case, or keep a digital passport photo stored on your phone.
7. Designate a relative back home as your emergency contact
Before you leave for your trip, choose a trusted friend or family member to serve as an emergency contact. Provide them copies of your driver’s license or other photo ID, passport, and birth certificate. This way, you will have someone to send you the images if you need to replace a passport.
Lost passport replacement FAQs
Still have questions about your lost passport? Read on for answers to common questions about the passport replacement process.
I lost my passport at home. Do I need to report it?
Yes, you should still report your lost or stolen passport even if you’re at home and don’t need to travel in the future. Doing so can help protect you from identity theft and prevent unauthorized individuals from attempting to use your passport.
Here’s how to file a report from within:
- U.S.: Complete Form DS-64 online.
- Canada: Call 1-800-567-6868 to report the loss or theft to the Canadian government.
- UK: Report the stolen or lost passport by using this online tool.
- Australia: Call 131 232 to report the loss or theft to the Australian government.
How long does it take to replace a lost or stolen passport?
How long it takes to replace a lost or stolen passport varies from country to country. However, embassies and consulates will typically do their best to process your request as quickly as possible.
What is the fastest way to replace a lost passport?
The fastest way to replace a lost passport will depend on your home country’s rules and regulations. Let an embassy or consulate office know about your lost or stolen passport as soon as possible to expedite the process.
What if I lost my passport and I fly tomorrow?
If you lose your passport the day before your return flight, the embassy or consulate for your home country will likely do everything they can to replace your travel documents quickly. Be sure to let the official that you speak to know about the time and date of your flight.
If your emergency passport or permanent passport replacement won’t be ready in time, you may need to reschedule your flight and secure accommodations for an extended stay abroad. The embassy or consulate can typically assist with changes to travel plans in the event of delays.
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