Help! My US Passport Was Stolen Abroad
30 September 2016 | Mri Grout - A Lifelong Vagabond
Losing your passport abroad is easily one of the most irritating hassles for a traveler, especially since some countries (like the UK *cough cough*) won't allow people to enter on emergency passports. Luckily however, getting a new US passport is relatively easy and the whole process only takes 1-2 weeks (in comparison, getting a new UK passport abroad takes 2-3 MONTHS...)
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1. Report the theft to your government
This is extremely important as it helps to stop any identity theft against you. It's also required by the USA before they can issue a new passport. You can do this quickly online when you book your appointment for a new one.
2. Report the theft to the local police
This is only really important if you're in a country that requires you to carry ID on you at all times (for a good spook, check out Almost Arrested for Not Having a Passport in Spain). However even if you are allowed outside without any form of ID, some US embassies might demand proof of passport theft before you can apply for a new one (though the embassy in Paris did not) and you'll definitely need a police report to claim on any insurance, so it would still be advisable to get one.
3. Gather your originals for ID
To get a new US passport abroad you will need one form of picture ID and another of proof of US citizenship in original form if possible. If you cannot gather these for whatever reason, then according to the US Consulate in Barcelona, you will have to prove your identity in an in-person interview. If you're getting original ID documents shipped from home, have them sent in an envelope on their own. This will save cost on both shipping and import fees and it will have a better chance of making it through customs without further hassle.
4. Book an appointment online
*You do not need an appointment for an emergency passport (ie: one that will allow you to travel back to the US within a few days). If you're applying for one, skip to step 5. If not, continue reading below.* The soonest available slot is normally within a week's time, so try to book as soon as possible. If, however, you book an appointment, but then realize that you cannot make it for whatever reason, DO NOT FORGET TO CANCEL SAID APPOINTMENT. The consequences of failing to do so can be ridiculously severe like being forced to wait another 6 weeks before you can schedule another one. Though the home page of the US Embassies and Consulates abroad might be in a foreign language, having the website translated into English will most likely always be an option. The people who answer the phones and emails will also communicate in English, so if you haven't learned enough of the foreign language, don't sweat it. Tip: if you're in the Schengen area of Europe, you can book an appointment in France even though you got robbed in Spain.
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5. Print and fill out the required forms
Even though the website may say with all certainty that you need to print off and complete forms DS-11 and DS-64, there is a good chance that you will be required to do it all over again at the actual embassy or consulate in a computer, rendering such print-offs ignored. Such was the case in Paris; they didn't even look at the forms I brought. However, it is still advisable to fill out and print the required forms to get a new US passport for two reasons:
- You will have all of the information you need written down. This is especially important because phone usage is not allowed inside and there are guards. Everywhere.
- The US Embassy or Consulate you go to might actually require them like their website says. Better to play it safe than have to wait another week before you can try again.
6. Go to your appointment
7. Pick up your new passport
Uh derr. Lols. The time it took for the Paris US Consulate to create my passport once it got processed was four days. However, they estimate it will take anywhere between 7-10.
If you enjoyed Help! My US Passport Was Stolen Abroad, then why not check out some of our other travel tips:
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