Renewing a passport typically means mailing in your old one and waiting for an up-to-date passport to arrive. If your passport is lost, you'll have to reapply for a new one instead. With a little luck, you'll have your replacement and be ready to fly the friendly skies in no time at all.

Report Your Misplaced Passport

As soon as you realize your passport is gone, whether it's been stolen or just mislaid, inform the U.S. Department of State. You'll fill out form DS-64, which you must submit in person at a passport agency. If you're concerned about identify theft, consider calling Passport Services' toll-free number: 1-877-487-2778. Let the representative know your passport has expired and is lost, and that you'll be applying for a new one.

Obtain a New Passport

Since your passport is missing, you can't renew by mail. You have to apply in person and go through the same process as a first-time applicant. This includes filling out form DS-11, presenting proof of identification and citizenship, providing a photo and paying a fee. Along with form DS-11, turn in your DS-64 form.

International Passport Problems

Being overseas with a lost and expired passport poses a whole new problem since you will not be able to return to the United States. Begin by visiting the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. Report the lost passport to the Consular Section by filling out form DS-64. Be prepared to turn in form DS-11, show proof of citizenship, photo ID, travel plans and a new passport photo.

The consulate or embassy will issue a temporary passport if your plans require immediate travel. Once you're back in the United States, mail in the emergency passport and you'll receive a regular, fully valid passport in return.

Additional Considerations

Losing your passport isn't just inconvenient -- if the wrong person finds it, you could become the victim of identify theft. When you file DS-64, the form will be entered into the Consular Lost/Stolen Passport System and marked as canceled, which will protect you from unpleasant consequences. Keep a close eye on your credit report for suspicious activity, and if you notice anything unusual, such as strange charges on your credit card, report it to a law enforcement agency. Your local police can have the information added to the FBI's database on identity theft.

Should you find your lost passport, simply mail it to the Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section of the U.S. Department of State's Passport Services.