In the 1999 film Being John Malkovich, actor John Malkovich plays a fictional version of himself grappling with a surreal variety of identity theft: a “portal” that allowed other people to take control of his brain.

Now, he’s the victim of a much more prosaic type: a stolen passport.

According to Reuters, Malkovich’s passport was stolen from his Prague hotel room last Friday, along with two cell phones.

A spokeswoman for the Mandarin Oriental hotel told Reuters that “We can confirm that an investigation is under way in the case of the disappearance of Mr Malkovich’s personal belongings.”

Fortunately, according to TV Guide, the stolen passport only delayed his trip to Poland by a few hours.

Losing your passport overseas is even more frightening than losing it at home, but there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and to make it easier to replace a stolen passport if it does happen. When it comes to protecting your passport, the most important thing you can do is to keep it somewhere safe, like the lockbox in your hotel room. However, sometimes even these room safes get broken into, or you might lose your passport on the way to board a flight or after you’ve gotten off the plane.

If you do suffer from a stolen passport, you’ll need to get in touch with the nearest US Embassy as soon as possible. There, you can report your passport stolen and apply for a replacement. If possible, before you leave on the trip make a copy of the pages of your passport that contain your personal data. Keep these separate from your passport. While the copy will not be sufficient to travel with, it will make it easier to get your passport replaced.

When replacing a stolen passport in the United States, if you already have a trip planned your main concern is likely to be time. It takes an average of six weeks to replace a stolen passport in the US. For faster service, you can pay an additional $60 for expedited processing, but that still leaves you hanging for about 3 weeks.

If you need your passport in less time than that, you have two options: make an appointment at one of the 25 regional passport agency offices located throughout the country, or use a private expediting company like RushMyPassport. The latter option is generally the most convenient and may even be cheaper, when you factor in the cost of travel to a passport agency and lost wages from time off work.

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