Losing your passport overseas

Too early in the morning (and with too little sleep), we took the train from Budapest to Vienna. Unfortunately, since we were all passed out (and neglected to lock our luggage together), someone stole my brother’s bag with his passport in it. This put a wrench in the plans, and my brother and I didn’t make it over to Salzburg.

If you lose your passport overseas, here’s a quick explanation of what you need to do (the mobile version of the embassy page was a bit wordy and difficult to understand):

  1. File a police report
  2. Make an appointment with the local US Consulate Office (for US Citizen Services)
  3. Cancel credit cards
  4. Collect items needed for an emergency (or replacement) passport
    • Forms DS11 & DS64
    • Passport photos
    • Printouts (copies) of existing passport and driver’s license. A picture on your phone won’t cut it
    • Money (credit card, local currency or USD will work)
    • Anything else the local US Embassy/Consulate may require* ┬áThe local police pointed us to the US Embassy, which was out of the way. We were redirected to the US Consulate (near the tourist areas), which was already closed by that time. ┬áSave some time and figure out the correct location and their hours (the Consultate was only open from 8 AM – 11:30 AM for Citizen Services).
Take a deep breath, and don’t stress too much about it. Don’t let it ruin your trip. I lost some sleep and missed out on some sightseeing due to lack of sleep. After reading stories on the web about passport theft and replacement horror stores, I think international travelers should pack the following:

  • Current passport photos (Saves money and time looking for a passport photo place. You can get them for < $10 a stack at Costco. That said, there’s usually a photo place near the US Consulate.)
  • An extra $135 (+ local currency) or credit card for emergency use. This process is much more difficult if you don’t have money to pay for the passport or for printouts, passport photos, etc.
  • 1-2 copies of the passport’s picture page (as well as a snapshot on the phone/ in email inboxes)