If you live in El Paso, keep a close eye on your US passport. According to local TV station NewsChannel9, stolen passports are on the rise as thieves target US citizens for their travel documents.
In a story published on March 17th, the station advised that the local passport office had noticed a trend of people being mugged not for cash or jewelry, but for their US passports. On April 19th, they reported that the trend had continued, and that according to supervisor at the local passport office, about 6 of every 10 passport forms filed were filed to report a stolen passport.
No matter where you live, if you own a passport it is important to know what to do if it is lost or stolen. Below are the steps for reporting and replacing a stolen passport:
Step 1: Report the Theft
To report a stolen passport, you have two choices. You can call 1-877-487-2778 and speak to representative between 8am and 10pm Eastern Time, except on weekends and holidays. Or you can fill out form DS-64, Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport.
Whichever method you choose, your passport will be permanently invalidated once you report it stolen. If it turns out it wasn’t stolen and you find it the next day, you won’t be able to use it to travel.
Step 2: Apply for a New Passport in Person
To apply for a new passport, you must go to a passport office in person with the following documents:
- Proof of identity (the original and a photocopy)
- Proof of citizenship
- 2 passport photos
- The appropriate fees
- Passport Application Form DS-11
- Passport form DS-64, Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport
After you submit your application, you will need to wait for your new passport to arrive in the mail. This can take anywhere from 6 weeks if you submitted it with regular processing to 3 weeks if you requested the government’s expedited processing.
If you need it sooner, you can make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency office during their business hours to get it replaced immediately. However, a private passport expediting service like RushMyPassport.com is usually much more convenient-no need to take off work or drive to a passport office (in many cities and towns the nearest office is hours away by car), and your application can be processed in as little as 24 hours.