Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport Replacement
First thing – go look again! We know, you’ve looked everywhere. Take breath and then look again. So many times we’ve heard of people that can’t find their passports investing a lot of money in replacing them only to find them a few days later. Unfortunately once your request is in the system there’s pretty much no stopping it and your current passport will be cancelled by the State Dept – so don’t even try using it unless you want to see what the “other side” of airport security looks like. If you have looked everywhere and you just can’t find it, then a replacement can be issued. It should be noted that the State Department takes passports very seriously and citizens who loose multiple passports will be issued passports issued for less than 10 years (usually only one year). Habitual offenders will be further investigated and may be required to appear in person or even worse, get a knock on their door.
While we’re sure you’re reading this section for a reason, just because you can’t find it doesn’t mean it was stolen. In order to report a passport stolen you are encouraged to submit a police report, so if you know it was in the car and it got broken into, your house was robbed or something else like that, then you should file a police report and include a copy of it with your stolen passport replacement request.
Yes, dogs eat passports, children need coloring books and people don’t check their clothing before throwing them in the washing machine. Things happen. If your passport is torn, fraying, separating or pages are falling out of the binding, they need to be replaced. You will need to submit what is left of your current passport as part of the process, and generally speaking you’re not going to get it back.
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So now that we’ve covered the difference between lost, stolen and damaged passports, let’s go over the process for replacing it. Regardless of the reason, the process is essentially the same – just pay attention to the section below regarding Additional Documents.
How to Replace a Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport
- Process Overview
An Acceptance Agent is a government employee who will verify the identity of the applicant. Acceptance Agents are available at most Post Offices and Court Houses. Acceptance Agent will review documents and have the applicant sign the passport application and seal documents in an envelope. If using a passport expediting company, the sealed envelope will be returned to you to deliver to the company.
- Proof of Citizenship
To replace a lost or stolen passport, applicant must bring an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, naturalization papers or old passport which is not damaged. Birth certificates must be “long form” as opposed to "short form". While there are several data points that must be listed including being issued by the city, county, or state (as opposed to hospital) and include parents full names, registrar's signature, seal and more, generally speaking a certificate smaller than 8.5” x 11” will not be accepted.
- Proof of Identification
Applicant must have a driver's license or state-issued identification issued more than six months ago to apply for a new passport. Official government or military picture identification is acceptable.
- Passport Photos
Applicant must submit one (1) color, passport style photograph. Applicant may not wear eye glasses. Photo may be obtained at many post offices, Kinko’s, Mailboxes Etc or similar locations. Please Note: Effective November 1, 2016 the State Department will NOT accept photos of applicants wearing glasses (except under undefined “special conditions”).
- Proof of Travel
Although not required, if applicant is requesting faster than normal processing they are encouraged to submit a computer-generated itinerary from a travel agency or online booking tool (such as an e-confirmation) showing departure from the U.S. if they have one.
- New Passport Application (DS-11)
Applicant must submit one completed passport application form (New Passport Application Form DS-11). This can be done in advance using the US State Departments online passport “wizard” or on site at the Acceptance Agent by completing the form by hand. Note that passport expediting companies are required to use applications completed using the online wizard program and will generally not accept hand written applications.
DO NOT SIGN the completed application until instructed to do so by Acceptance Agent.
- Additional Document
Based on the service needed, include the following:
• Lost Passport Applicant must submit Explanation Form DS-64 detailing the circumstances regarding the missing passport. Answer the questions clearly and concisely as if speaking directly to a US State Dept. official. Note: Questions regarding previous passport number, expiration date, etc may be left blank if the information is not available.
• Stolen Passport Applicant must submit Explanation Form DS-64 detailing the circumstances regarding the recent theft. Answer the questions clearly and concisely as if speaking directly to a US State Dept. official. Note: Questions regarding previous passport number, expiration date, etc may be left blank if the information is not available. Additionally, include a copy of a police report if available.
• Damaged Passport Applicant must include a letter addressed to "The US State Department" explaining how the passport was damaged. Be as descriptive as possible. Applicant must sign and date the letter. Applicant must submit damaged passport. Expect that the damaged passport will not be returned.
- Government Fees
This part gets a little tricky because there are a series of fees and services you may combine, so we’ll provide all the possible fees and then show you how they combine. What is important to understand is that if the payment is incorrect it will delay the new passport issuance – even if you overpay.
|Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport Replacement Book (6-8 week processing)||$110.00|
|Adult Passport Card (in conjunction with lost, stolen or damaged replacement book)||$30.00|
|Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport Replacement Expedite (2-3 week processing upgrade)||$60.00|
|US Postal Money Order||$1.20|
|Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)||$15.45|
|File Search Fee||$150.00|
|*fee schedule as of July 2017. Fees subject to change|
That’s a lot of fees! Here are the most common breakdowns:
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport in 6-8 Weeks
$110.00 New Adult Passport Book
$ 15.45 Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)
$125.45 TOTAL + $25.00 Acceptance Agent Fee
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport Book in 2-3 Weeks
$ 60.00 New Passport Expedite
$ 15.45 Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)
$185.45 TOTAL + $25.00 Acceptance Agent Fee
The “TOTAL” is the amount that the check or money order made payable to the State Dept will be for. If paying by check, starter checks are not acceptable. Indicate the applicants name and DOB in the memo line. The Acceptance Agent fee is paid separately and can be paid in any form (cash, credit card, check, etc). New Adult Passport in 2-3 Weeks $110.00
Get Your Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport Replacement
Now that you’ve got all your paperwork together, head down to the nearest Acceptance Agent to process the documents. In a few days to several weeks depending on the service selected you’ll have your replacement passport! Any original documents you provided (old passports, birth certificates, naturalization certificates) will be returned to you. Sometimes original document and passport cards (if you requested one) will show up in separate mailings, all usually within a week of each other.