By: Michael Barone

October 25, 2023

Losing your passport while abroad seems like a nightmare, but it’s a straightforward process to replace it on the fly

It can seem like every international traveler or transferee’s worst nightmare, packing up to head to the airport and realizing your passport is not where it has been in your head. Panic can set in motion. How are you supposed to get home? Or to your next destination? Will you lose your job? How can you board the plane without it? 

While it can be a significant hassle to lose your passport while traveling abroad, and it no doubt can cost some money, it’s important to remember that it is not the end of the world. Easier said than done; try to remain calm if your passport is missing the day you are supposed to return home or move on to your next destination. And you should also know that losing a passport is a common issue international travelers face. 

When you realize that a passport has been lost, it is essential to double, triple, and quadruple-check every place it could be. Because once you contact the proper authorities to do so, the officials will invalidate the existing passport over the phone. If you call it lost and find it 10 minutes later, you might have to go through this process anyway. 

But here are some tips to keep in mind if you lose your passport while on an international relocation assignment or while traveling overseas on vacation:

Contact the Nearest U.S. Embassy

This might seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is that when the panic sets in for a lost passport, most people instantly stay on hold while trying to contact the airport. You can skip that step and call the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can use this link to find the closest one to you: 

In most cases, those who have lost a passport will have to set what is called “an emergency passport appointment,” which is typically granted the next day. The process varies from embassy to embassy, but no matter where you are, you should be able to get help fairly quickly. This appointment is meant to get a person in your situation an emergency passport in order to travel back home. 

It is imperative to tell the consular officer if your passport has been stolen and when you are planning to leave, especially if it is soon. This information is necessary to determine whether you need a full-validity or limited-validity emergency passport, which will help ensure your travel is safe and successful.

It has to be noted that consulates or embassies usually cannot issue passports during weekends or holidays except for emergencies threatening life or death.

Documents that Can Help Replace Your Passport

The process of getting a replacement passport or emergency passport can vary depending on which country you are located in and your destination. 

To have a chance at expediting the process, having these documents ready to go in hand can help in a significant way: 

  • Valid ID such as your driver’s license
  • Passport photo
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate (probably a more realistic and more accessible way is to keep a colored photocopy of your passport in a suitcase while traveling or moving)
  • Travel itinerary
  • A police report of a stolen passport, if applicable 

There are also two forms you will have to fill out. The first one is just a standard U.S. passport application. The second form needed is a statement to invalidate your lost or stolen passport.

Fees and Costs to Replace Your Passport

This is a challenging part of the conversion. You will have to pay the passport application fee for replacement. There are a few instances where the costs may be waived, but the situation must be highly intense.

GMS Is Here to Help with Travel Documents

Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) offers full-service relocation programs. We have been the industry leader since 1987 and work with some of the best relocation experts in the world. Delivered within our services are visa and immigration management. These services include ensuring all overseas employees have the correct documents, including passports, to legally enter and work in the country. 

To learn more about how GMS can help your company with its international relocation needs, contact us today to set up a free 1-on-1 meeting with one of our relocation coaches. Our team is happy to help make the global relocation process more seamless for your employees and their families.

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Properly managing a visa and immigration program involves meticulous coordination, precise communication, and worldwide interaction with government agencies, corporate personnel, and relocating employees.

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I have been a Global Business Development Manager and Global Account Manager since October 2022, supporting organizations in all aspects of their Global Mobility Programs. Before joining GMS, I worked for 18 years in Global Mobility. My experience ranges from Operations to Account Management for various client sizes and scopes. I have extensive experience with inter-company transfers and all assignment types for Global Cross Border policies.

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