What to Do If You Lose Passport in USA? [Detail Guide]

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What to Do If You Lose Passport in USA? Losing your passport while traveling in the USA can be an extremely stressful situation. Your passport is an essential travel and identification document, especially for international visitors. Not having it with you can complicate travel plans, limit your movements, and even risk deportation if you overstay without proper documentation.

While a lost passport situation may seem dire, there are steps you can take to get an emergency travel document, replace your lost passport, and continue on your trip with minimal disruptions. Here is a comprehensive guide on what you need to know and what to do.

What to Do If You Lose Passport in USA?
What to Do If You Lose Passport in USA?

Immediate Steps If You Lose Your Passport

If you realize your passport is missing, lost, or stolen, here are the first things you should do:

  • Retrace your steps: Carefully retrace everywhere you remember having your passport last. Check your hotel room, luggage pockets, wallets, purses, car glove box, etc.
  • Call venues you visited: Contact anywhere you visited in the past 1-2 days—restaurants, shops, tourist sites—to check if someone turned in a found passport.
  • File a police report: For stolen passports, file a report with the local police detailing when and where it was stolen. Get a copy of the police report.
  • Check with transportation companies: If you were traveling via airline, bus, train, rental car agency, etc. contact them to verify if a passport was found and turned in to lost and found.
  • Call the nearest embassy/consulate: Immediately call the embassy or consulate of your home country so they can be aware of your situation and provide assistance.
  • Check passport tracking apps: If you have a passport tracking/recovery app installed, use it to remotely lock your passport and trigger alerts if someone finds it.
Action Details
Retrace your steps Check where you last remember having your passport, including hotel room, bags, wallet, etc.
Contact venues Call anywhere you visited in past 48 hours to ask about lost passports handed in.
File police report For stolen passports, file a report with local police about theft details.
Call transportation companies Contact airlines, trains, rental cars, buses you traveled with to check their lost and found.
Contact your embassy/consulate Report lost/stolen passport and discuss getting emergency travel document.
Check passport tracking apps If you have a passport tracking app, use it to lock passport and track if found.
Get emergency travel document Apply for temporary emergency document from embassy to allow transport home.
Replace passport formally Whether at embassy abroad or by mail from home country, replace lost passport.
Pay expedited processing fees Most countries offer faster renewal for fees around $100-200 extra.
Adjust trip plans Be aware trips beyond emergency transport may be disrupted without a passport.

Getting an Emergency Travel Document

Since having no passport creates immediate travel issues, your first priority is to obtain some type of emergency travel documentation from your country’s embassy or consulate. Here are the main options:

Emergency Passport Replacement

Some embassies/consulates can issue an emergency replacement passport within 1-3 days, allowing you to continue your trip with minimal disruption. Requirements vary per country but generally include:

  • Passport photos
  • Police report for stolen passports
  • Proof of travel (airline tickets)
  • Temporary passport application form
  • Processing fee (ex. $200 USD for Canadians)

Limitations: Only valid for direct return trip back to home country.

Emergency Travel Document

If an emergency passport isn’t available, an emergency travel document can be issued to return home. This single-use document is valid for air travel only and allows you to re-enter your home country without a passport. Requirements can include:

  • Passport photos
  • Copy of official ID (ex. driver’s license)
  • Police report if stolen
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Onward travel booking
  • Fee

Limitations: Only valid for one direct trip back to home country.

Replacing Your Lost or Stolen Passport

While emergency documents allow you to continue traveling temporarily, you will still need to formally replace your lost/stolen passport before its original expiration date. This requires:

1. Submitting Passport Application at Embassy

Schedule an appointment at your embassy/consulate within 1-2 days to submit a complete passport application as soon as possible. Required docs:

  • Passport photos
  • Identification documents
  • Police report for stolen passport
  • Proof of travel plans
  • Temporary passport if you have one
  • Application fee + expedited processing fee

2. Flying Home to Replace In Person

If urgent, book a flight home after getting an emergency travel document to replace your passport in person. This is fastest but involves extra costs for the new flight, application fee, expedited processing fee, etc.

3. Replacing Remotely from USA

Depending on your country, you may be able to renew your passport remotely by mailing in the application. This avoids going home early but can take longer than applying in person. Contact your embassy for instructions.

Expediting Fees

Most countries offer faster passport renewal/replacement for an added expedited processing fee (ex. Canada charges an extra $110 USD). This speeds up getting your new passport from weeks to just a few days in urgent situations.

Traveling Without Passport – Things to Know

Even after getting emergency documents, not having your actual passport can impact parts of your trip. Be aware of the following limitations:

Domestic flights – Most countries still allow passport-free flights within the country or to adjacent countries that have open borders agreements. Always check entry rules though.

International flights – Emergency documents are accepted for flights back to your home country only. For other international flights, you risk being denied boarding without a passport.

Trains/buses – Require passport checks for any routes crossing international borders. Have emergency documents plus secondary ID available for verification.

Hotels – Difficult checking in to hotels without a passport for ID verification. Contact hotels upfront to inform them if booking post-loss.

Renting vehicles – Likely won’t be allowed to rent cars or other vehicles without showing a valid drivers license and passport as per rental agreements.

Accessing healthcare – No access to public healthcare without verification documents like a passport. Have travel medical insurance when traveling.

Bank account/cards – Get emergency contact from your bank to ensure no issues accessing accounts/ATMs if your bank card was lost alongside your passport.

FAQ – What to Do If You Lose Passport in USA?

How much does it cost to replace a lost passport?

Replacing a lost or stolen passport in the USA will cost the regular application fee + any expedited processing fees your embassy charges. For example, a normal Canadian passport is $120 USD but is $230 expedited.

What if I lost my Green Card instead of passport?

Report your lost or stolen Green Card to USCIS and apply for a replacement within 90 days. Form I-90 costs $455 USD to file. If awaiting replacement, carry I-94 form and old Green Card photocopy.

Can I still fly domestic without passport?

U.S. citizens can still fly domestically without any identification documents due to the REAL ID Act delay until May 2023. International visitors still need some form of ID like emergency passport/travel document.

What if my visa was in my lost passport?

Contact the nearest embassy immidiately to report your visa loss and apply for a replacement. New visas can typically be issued quite quickly by providing remaining validity evidence of the lost visa.

How do I pay for stuff without my passport as ID?

You can still pay with credit/debit cards as usual. Inform your bank you lost your passport in case secondary ID is required for large purchases. Have alternate ID like a drivers license available too. Carry only necessary cash.

Can I travel by cruise ship without passport?

No, cruise ships will deny boarding without a passport as it is considered “closed-loop” travel and so still requires customs/immigration checks at ports. Reschedule or cancel your cruise until your passport is replaced if it cannot be expedited.

Conclusion

Losing your passport while visiting the USA causes significant disruptions, especially for those who need it to return home or continue international trip plans. But by acting quickly to get emergency documents, formally replacing your passport, and adjusting plans around your limitations, you can minimize complications. Being prepared also helps ease the stress until you have your new passport in hand.

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