Traveling abroad can be a great experience, especially if you’re visiting a country you’ve never gone to before or if you’re visiting somewhere with a culture completely different from your own. But sometimes mishaps occur. And in those instances, you need to be prepared – or at least know where to turn for help. One of the most common occurrences is having your passport stolen or lost. It happens a lot more than people think. So, if you’re traveling, you want to have a plan in place, just in case you are one of the unlucky ones to experience this.
First things first. If you find that your passport has been lost or stolen while abroad, find the nearest US embassy or consulate. You will have to report the incident. You can find US embassy or consulate information on the website for whatever country you are visiting. You do not need an immigration attorney, as you are trying to go back to your homeland, not seek residence in another country. Let the immigration attorney know exactly when you plan on leaving the country so you can be issued the correct passport (emergency validity or full validity). You may file a police report if your passport has been stolen, but it won’t speed up the process or being issued a new one.
Next, you want to take a new passport photo. You want to do this before you actually go to the embassy or consulate. Being prepared will help get the ball rolling quicker. You then want to fill out an application for a new passport, and give a statement regarding your reason for requesting one (old one lost or stolen). Both of these will help invalidate your old passport so no one can use it.
few documents to take with you:
- New passport photo
- Another form of identification
- Proof of travel (plane ticket)
- Proof of US citizenship (either a birth certificate or a picture of your missing passport)
- Your application for a new passport along with any other forms you’ve filled out, including your statement
Again, you do not need to seek an immigration attorney in this situation, so do not panic.
There will be a fee you will have to pay. If you cannot pay the fee for some reason (your wallet was stolen or some other mishap), you will be able to arrange payment.
Now the hard part – wait. In the United States, renewing a passport takes anywhere from four to six weeks. But abroad, especially if your passport has been lost or stolen, that time is drastically cut down. You should be able to get an emergency passport within 24 hours. You will have to get a full validity passport once you return to the United States.
Getting stuck abroad without a passport is not an immigration issue, although it is nerve-wracking. But there are steps to make sure you get back to your home country safely and legally. Next time you travel out of the country, be prepared.