It's unusual to know your passport number, so if you have an emergency or the passport number is needed urgently, chances are you'll have to do a little digging to find it. Here's everything you need to know about keeping track of that all-important number both while traveling and at home.

Identifying Your Passport Number

On a U.S. passport, the official number is listed on the inside information page alongside your name, birthday, photograph and the passport's expiration date. The number changes each time you get a new passport, so it will be different approximately every 10 years (or any time you renew your passport). It's best to always keep a photocopy of your passport somewhere safe just in case you misplace the actual passport. A good trick is to email yourself that photocopy or save it via a cloud storage service, so you'll always have it on the ready.

Locating Your Passport Number Without the Passport

If your passport is misplaced or simply unavailable, there are a few ways you can find out the number:

  • Check international flight bookings or online airline profiles. Often a passport number is included in bookings made to international destinations, so searching your email for those can be a good start. Anyone with a frequent flier account on an airline should have an online profile where all travel details will be saved, including passport information.
  • Search your email. It's possible a passport number was included in a hotel booking or on a travel document at some point in the past. If you travel a lot for work, someone at your company may have asked for the number, as well. Check with the employee in charge of the booking if that's the case.
  • Order a copy of your passport record from the U.S. Passport Services. Passport records have been kept since 1925, and any citizen is allowed to those records (as well as those for any minor children). Requests must be submitted in writing by mail and include identifying information such as a full birth name, legal name changes, birthday and city, telephone number, mailing address, email address and the estimated date the passport was issued. Unofficial records are free of charge, while certified copies cost $50.

Dealing With a Lost Passport

If your passport has been lost or stolen, particularly while traveling out of the country, it is important to report it immediately. Report a missing passport online at the U.S. Department of State's website or via phone or mail before applying to replace it. If a passport is lost or stolen while outside the U.S., visit the nearest consulate or embassy.

If you are in the U.S. and will not be traveling in the next two weeks, make an appointment at the nearest authorized passport facility. If you need to leave the country imminently, make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center with expedited service. Note that your replacement passport will have a different passport number than your original passport.