What to do if you lose your passport

If you lose your passport on vacation, don’t panic. There are ways to remedy the horrible situation of losing your identification overseas and enjoy the rest of your trip. While it is scary to be without your most important documents, don’t waste time wondering what to do. Here is a list of important steps to ensure that your trip goes smoothly – and what to do if your passport is lost or stolen.

Before heading out on an overseas trip, make copies of all of your documents. These duplicates could come in handy if you happen to lose a form of identification. It may also be a good idea to keep copies of your documents at home in case you lose your luggage on vacation.

When you check your purse or carry-on and realize that your passport is gone, don’t get flustered. These things happen. Without hesitation, notify the police. Although you’re in a foreign country, they can at least direct you to the right people to contact, and if you saw who stole your documents you can file a police report. Police officers will lead you to the country’s U.S. Embassy. When there, find someone who works in the Citizen Services Unit. According to the U.S. Department of State, once your passport is reported missing or stolen, it can no longer be used for travel. The last thing you want is someone using your identification to fly to another area.

If all else fails, ask someone for help. Go into a local store, ask your hotel concierge for information or get directions to the nearest government agency. Someone will point you in the right direction and hopefully your passport will turn up before it’s time to go home.