How to Replace a Lost Passport
There are few things more stressful than discovering you’ve lost your passport when you have a trip planned in the near future. Before you panic, take a deep breath and relax. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a firm understanding of how to replace a lost passport and be well on your way to applying for a new one!
Step 1: Report Your Passport Lost or Stolen
The first thing you need to do prior to doing anything else is to report your passport lost or stolen. You can report your passport as lost to the U.S. Department of State by filling out form DS-64 alongside your required passport documents, or by calling 1-877-487-2778. If your passport has been stolen, you’ll also want to file a police report.
While it is recommended to report your passport to the appropriate authorities as lost or stolen to protect your identity and prevent identity theft, it is particularly important to note that once you report your passport as lost or stolen, your passport will immediately become invalid for international travel.
If you’ve simply misplaced your passport, then looking around in places you may have overlooked might be a good idea, before reporting it lost and beginning to plan how to get a new passport.
Step 2: Decide How Quickly You Need Your New Passport
Aside from reporting your passport lost or stolen, the first step towards replacing a lost United States passport is understanding how soon you’re traveling and how quickly you’ll need your passport to ensure its delivery prior to your trip. If you’re planning to leave the country sooner than later, you’ll likely need some type of expedited passport service, though there are options.
Standard Passport Service at the Post Office (USPS)
If you have international travel planned, and you’ve lost your U.S. Passport but aren’t traveling in the near future, you may be able to apply for standard passport services at a United States Post Office, or another Passport Acceptance Facility such as a library or a county clerk office.
When requesting standard or regular passport services, expect to wait up to 9 weeks for your passport to arrive. This does not include shipping time when sending your application off to the U.S. Department of state for processing. This estimate also doesn’t take into consideration the shipping time it takes to return your new passport to you once passport processing has been completed.
It is important to note that when estimating how long it takes to get a U.S. Passport, that the time-frames associated with Routine Service are estimates and are not guaranteed. Additionally, the “window” for processing times begins once your application has been received by the Department of State, not the date that you apply.
Expedited Passport Service at the Post Office (USPS)
If you don’t have the time to spare in waiting on standard passport services, you can also request basic expedited service at the Post Office, or another Passport Acceptance Facility.
With standard expedited service for U.S. Passports, expect to wait up to 5 weeks for your passport to arrive. This does not include shipping your application to the Department of State for processing, or the time it takes to ship your new passport back.
Similarly to routine service, when requesting expedited passport service at a Passport Acceptance Facility, it should be noted that the timeframes associated are an estimated range. Timeframes begin once your application has been received by the U.S. Department of State, not the date you physically submit your application.
If standard passport services (either routine or expedited) aren’t quick enough to ensure you receive your new passport prior to your next international trip, then you only have two options: utilize a private company to expedite your passport, or attempt to schedule an emergency passport appointment.
Request an Emergency Passport Appointment with a Regional Passport Agency
If you are departing within the next two months, it is likely that you will need to either schedule an emergency appointment with a Regional Passport Agency or utilize a private expediting company.
While appointments for emergency passports are technically available to those who have urgent travel needs, there are some extremely strict eligibility requirements. This requirement is often to be a life-or-death emergency, or in the event that a family member has passed away in a country outside of the United States. If you are eligible, a Regional Passport Agency can potentially issue a U.S. passport within 3 business days.
You can review the requirements and estimated processing times for these appointments here, as outlined by the U.S. Department of State.
In addition to strict requirements, appointments can be hard to come by even if you are eligible. There are only a handful of Regional Passport Agencies across the United States to attempt to schedule an appointment with, and walk-ins are prohibited.
Expedite Your Passport with A Private Expediting Company
If you’re traveling in the near future, and can’t schedule an appointment with a Regional Passport Agency, then you’ll need to enlist a company that can expedite your passport in partnership with the U.S. Department of State.
Private expediting companies that are registered with the United States government’s Hand-Carry Program have the ability to cut down on the time it takes to receive your passport once you’ve gathered your required documents, and have submitted your application.
While private expedited service ranges in terms of how long it will take to get a U.S. passport through a private expediting company, this option can get your passport back to you within 7 business days. Just like the other methods of applying, this time frame begins once your application and required documents have been received by the company expediting your passport.
In addition to saving time, and assisting in getting your passport faster than what standard-expedited service or routine service can provide, using a private company to expedite your U.S. passport can help avoid costly delays and ensure that your application and documentation are correct prior to being shipped out for processing.
Personalized application review with a passport advisor can be paramount to avoiding passport delays. With application errors, missed document requirements, and improper passport photos being some of the most common reasons passports can be delayed, it can be worth the extra cost to have an outside party double-check for errors.
Aside from service speeds and the personalized service of application review from an experienced passport advisor, private expediting companies also provide real-time tracking. When you need your passport fast, tracking will keep you informed of your passport as it is shipped to the Department of State, and its return-journey back to you.
It is important to note, that when utilizing a private expediting company, you will still need to pay passport fees to the U.S. Department of State just as you would with any method for obtaining a passport.
Step 3: Gather Required Documents for U.S. Passport Application
After you’ve decided how quickly you need your passport prior to your next international travel date and selected the appropriate service method, it’s time to start gathering the required supporting documents for your application.
Below are the required documents you will need to replace a lost passport.
- Proof of Identity: State Department-approved photo IDs include a driver’s license or state ID card, a previous US passport or passport card, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, military ID or government ID card. You’ll need the original and a photocopy of the front and back.
- Proof of Citizenship: Submit either a previous US passport, a certified birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
- One passport photo.
- Passport Fees: For new passports, there’s an application fee of $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card and $160 for both. There’s also an execution fee of $35.
- Passport Application Form DS-11 (New Passport Application)
- Passport Form DS-64 (Reporting Your Passport Lost or Stolen)
In relation to the passport fees that are required by the U.S. Department of State for processing, it is extremely important to note that there are specific requirements in regards to the form of payment. Payments are required to be written without error, payable to the United States via check or money order, and must be made to the exact amount. You can review the detailed requirements for this payment here.
Step 4: Fill Out Your Passport Application
Once you’ve gathered all of the required documents for replacing a lost passport, you’ll need to fill out your application.
Step 5: Have Your Documents Verified by a Passport Acceptance Agent
After you’ve completed your passport application, you’ll need to visit a Passport Acceptance Agent to have your identity verified prior to shipping out your application to the Department of State for processing.
A Passport Acceptance agent is a certified representative tasked by the U.S. State Department to verify the identity of the applicant and “execute” the passport application process. This step is not required when renewing your passport by mail or by renewing your passport online. If you’re seeking information regarding passport renewals, you can review the application process and apply here.
This step in the process doesn’t have to be difficult. While many locations may require an appointment, locations at a library or county clerk’s office may have walk-in hours available. We highly recommend searching several locations in your area to find an acceptance agent with convenient hours and availability prior to choosing the correct method to obtain a passport.
This step in the process is extremely important and can impact the time it takes to get your new passport. Use this tool to find a passport acceptance agent near you.
For all instances aside from passport renewals, visiting an acceptance agent for adjudication is required by the U.S. Department of State, and cannot be avoided regardless of the method you choose when applying for a United States Passport.
Step 6: Wait For Your Passport To Arrive
The final step in replacing a lost passport is simple… all you need to do is wait for your passport to arrive! If you’ve chosen to utilize a private expediting company, you will receive tracking updates as soon as your passport has completed processing with the U.S. Department of State.
If you choose standard expediting service or routine processing, then you can track your application here.
Get Your U.S. Passport Fast with RushMyPassport
If you need a passport quickly, but don’t have the time or patience to go to a passport agency or post-office, RushMyPassport can help.
With services ranging from new passports, passport renewals, child passports, or replacing a lost or stolen passport, our team of registered couriers and passport advisors will help get your passport fast!