What happens when a passport gets lost or stolen?


Did you lose your passport? Close 350,000 U.S. passports are lost or revoked, every year. 

When a passport is reported lost or stolen, the Department of State notifies the Department of Homeland Security. DHS provides them with the passport’s number and the day of issue. This information is also fired off to INTERPOL to include in its Stolen or Lost Travel Document Database, as well as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative’s Regional Movement Alert System. Doing so, according to Michael Holly, is the State Department’s best bet for keeping the passport from being used for anything nefarious.


“A point that travelers should know is, once you have reported your book stolen, there’s no going back. It’s dead to you. You will have to get a new book,”

says Brenda Sprague is the U.S. Department of State’s assistant secretary for Passport Services.

If your passport and you do part ways while you’re outside of U.S. territory, it doesn’t mean that your travels will have to come to an end.

“We have a worldwide database that is available at every embassy and consulate, “says Sprague. “In really short order, they can pull you up by your name and date of birth. They’ll verify that it is you and you can obtain an emergency replacement passport to continue your travels.” This emergency passport doesn’t have all of the security bells and whistles that a regular U.S. passport book comes with. It contains just enough information to keep you traveling when you reach an international border or get you back into the United States when you’re ready to return home. Once your trip is over, you can expect a replacement passport to show up at your home address

Brenda Sprague is the U.S. Department of State’s assistant secretary for Passport Services. She oversees a network of 28 agencies and centers that are responsible for the acceptance, adjudication, and issuance of U.S. passports. 

Lost or Stolen Passports

Report your passport lost or stolen immediately to protect yourself from identity theft. You can replace it now or later – it’s up to you! Once you report a passport lost or stolen, it is invalid and cannot be used for international travel.

How to Report your Lost or Stolen Passport

Report your passport lost or stolen by using one of the 3 options below:

Click on this link, and navigate to the “Report Lost or Stolen” tab.

Complete, sign, and mail Form DS-64 to the address on the form.

Call us toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793). If you want to apply for a new passport, you’ll have to also fill out the paper Form DS-64 to turn in with your application.

How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport

To replace a lost or stolen passport, you must submit Form DS-11 in person.

IF, You are in the United States and are traveling in 3 weeks or less. THEN, Make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center to replace your passport. (Based on need, some restrictions apply.)

IF, You are in the United States and are traveling in 3 weeks or less. THEN, Make an appointment (if required) to apply at an authorized passport acceptance facility to replace your passport.

IF, You are outside the United States. THEN, Contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to replace your passport. Also, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

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July 19, 2018 |

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