A passport is required to exit and enter the U.S. (as well as to travel to other countries). While many people do not regularly use their passports, it is a legal form of identification that should be safeguarded to prevent identify theft or fraud. If a passport is lost or stolen while home in the U.S., an easy but necessary process can be followed to report its loss and obtain a replacement (loss outside the U.S. is more difficult because the U.S. embassies cannot issue passports).
Report Lost Passport
If you lose a U.S. passport or it gets stolen while you are stateside, report its loss immediately to the U.S. Department of State and, if necessary, file a police report. Ideally, you should have a photocopy of your passport so that you can record the passport ID number and issue/expiration dates. Call the State Department at 877-467-2778 Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time (not including holidays). Alternatively, form DS-64 (Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport) can be submitted (see Resources for link) in conjunction with a passport application (select the option on form DS-64 that you are requesting a replacement passport). Consider including a photocopy of your passport for reference with your statement. Please remember that once a passport is reported as lost or stolen, it will be invalidated to reduce identity fraud and cannot be reinstated or revalidated.
Apply for a Replacement Passport
To obtain a replacement passport, download and complete form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport (see Resources for link). Since this application must be submitted in person to a passport agency or an acceptance facility such as a post office, make an appointment at your post office to expedite the process. If you're able to schedule an appointment quickly, consider submitting form DS-64 at the same time you apply for your replacement passport. Be sure to fill in all information and include passport photos and a photocopy of your driver's license or official ID card with your applications, along with the appropriate fees. If you require expedited processing because your travel date is less than two weeks away (to an international destination), make an appointment at a regional passport agency and bring the necessary supporting documents (such as airline itinerary or e-ticket). According to the U.S. Department of State, passports are routinely issued within four to six weeks of application. Expedited processing takes five business days from receipt and approval of the expedited application request.