Losing your passport at home is an inconvenience. Losing your passport abroad is a travel nightmare. As soon as you realize it's gone, implement a two-tiered plan: first, try to recover the document by searching high and low, then figure out what to do if it doesn't turn up. If you do your homework before you travel and act quickly once the passport goes missing, you'll find that what you thought was a crisis is simply a major headache.

Check Your Bags

Ransack your own bags and clothing if you've lost the passport during travel. Empty your day bag and suitcase onto the floor or onto a bed. Thumb through every book, shake out every piece of clothing and investigate your bag for lining rips that the passport could have slipped into. When you're done, look under every piece of furniture and carpet edge in the room.

Check Your Home

Go through every travel item you own if you've misplaced the passport at home. Check inside suitcases, day bags and backpacks that you use on vacation. Try to recall which wallet you used or which coats or jackets you wore during your last trip with the passport, then track them down and check the pockets. Take everything out of your desk drawers and shake out any books or thick packets of paper that the passport could have slipped into.

Call the Places You Have Visited

Call the offices of every airport, train station, museum, hotel, restaurant and taxi company you've used or visited to ask if the passport has been found. In the case of large transit operations like airports and train stations, ask for the lost and found department. Ask the staff at your hotel to help make the calls if you don't speak the local language.

Make Sure to Double-Check

Check all places you can think of before alerting the U.S. Department of State that the passport is lost because, as soon as you report it, the document is invalidated even if you find it later. Double-check your bags, ask your travel companions to check their bags and pockets and retrace your steps as extensively as you can.

Report the Lost Passport

Report the passport as lost when you've exhausted places to check, or right away if you think the passport was stolen. Call the Department of State at 1-877-487-2778, or fill out and mail in Form DS-64, available at U.S. Department of State website.

Apply for a New Passport

When submitting the DS-64 you will also need to summit the DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport. If you've lost it while in the U.S., apply in person at one of the passport agencies found in most major American cities or at a passport acceptance facility, a designation that many post offices and libraries have. If you're abroad, call the closest U.S. embassy or consulate and ask to be connected to the American Citizens Services unit of the Consular Section for information on what to do next. You'll have to get yourself to the office so staff can verify your identity before issuing a new passport.


One lost passport incident will make you more protective of your passport in the future. At home, lock the document in a fireproof box with other crucial documents. You'll always know where to find it.

During travel, keep your passport either locked in the hotel safe or on your person, tucked in a money belt worn under your clothes.

Always carry photocopies of your passport's information page and take an extra set of passport photos with you when you travel. These items will make getting a replacement passport easier.

U.S. embassies and consulates abroad are closed on weekends and holidays, so you'll only be able to get a passport during weekday business hours.