What to do first
It depends on where you are. If you're in the U.S., make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center. Travelers outside of the United States should contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to report the loss by phone, email, or even by mail, regardless of the day or time. Michelle Bernier-Toth, managing director of the U.S. State Department's Overseas Citizen Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs, told Traveler that while embassies and consulates cannot issue passports on weekends or holidays when closed, all have after-hours duty officers who can help U.S. citizens in an emergency abroad. Check one final, final, final time to make sure you can't locate it: Once a passport is reported as lost or stolen, it is invalid and can no longer be used for travel.
Don't panic, stay calm.
Most of us have been there: prepping our tickets and travel documentation for an upcoming flight, only to realize, that the little blue book is nowhere to be found. For many, this is (thankfully) a false alarm—a passport has slipped into a different pocket of your bag, is sitting somewhere in plain sight, or you forgot you put it in your new passport holder. For others, a passport really is just that: lost.
According to the U.S. Department of State, more than 300,000 American passports are lost or stolen in the U.S. each year. Regardless of where in the world you are, reporting a lost or stolen passport as soon as possible is necessary to help protect you against identity theft. RFID wallets and passport holders will protect you from skimmers at home and abroad. Here's what to do if passport theft happens to you.
What you need to bring
Ideally, travelers will be able to bring the following: a passport photo (one photo is required; get it in advance to speed the process of replacing your passport); identification (driver's license); evidence of U.S. citizenship, a travel itinerary, a DS-64 (statement about your lost or stolen passport), and a DS-11 (passport application). A police report is not mandatory, but it can be helpful in confirming the circumstances of loss or theft. (However, don't spend time filing a report if it will seriously delay your travel.) A good rule of thumb? Carry a copy of your passport information page while traveling overseas. According to State Department officials, you won’t be able to fly home with just a copy, but it can help in the event your passport is lost or stolen. Bottom line: "If you lose your U.S. passport while traveling overseas, even in an airport, you will need to replace it before returning home," said Bernier-Toth.
How much does this cost?
For overseas travelers, normal passport fees are collected at the time of application, but there are extenuating circumstances: If you are the victim of a disaster or serious crime, the passport fee may be waived and a limited-validity passport will be issued. When the traveler applies for a full-validity passport upon their return to the United States, a regular fee will be charged. (A new adult passport is $110.)