There’s no doubt that losing a passport or other important documents while traveling can be an incredibly stressful experience. Whether it’s a travel document, visa, or an important certificate, getting your paperwork stolen or losing it while in transit can be one of the biggest headaches to face while on vacation, especially while in the United States, as this can cause significant delays.
To avoid this situation in the first place, it’s a good idea for all travelers to the U.S. to make a copy of important travel documents as soon as they arrive: the biographical page of their passport, ESTA authorization or other visas, and any admission paperwork (e.g., Form I-94) received when entering the U.S. And importantly, you can remain in the U.S. for your authorized stay even if you lose your visa, but you must also get it replaced.
What follows are some tips to keep in mind as to what to do when dealing with lost passports in the U.S.
If you lose your passport while you are in the United States, there are a number of steps you need to follow to make sure that you are able to leave the country and to enter another one. Because authorities are used to dealing with stolen passports in the U.S., the process is relatively straightforward.
The first thing you need to do is file a police report at your local station. You may need to provide copies of the original documents if you have them available. Make sure to give a detailed account of what happened and make an extra copy of your police report – you will need it later.
All foreign visitors to the United States receive a Form I-94, Arrival and Departure Record, upon arrival. Because it keeps track of admissions and departures to the U.S., it is an important document that you will need to replace if it is lost. Apply for a replacement Form I-94 at DHS or USCIS website.
After filing your police report and requesting a new I-94 form, you will need to report your lost or stolen passport to your country’s embassy or consulate. Most embassies have information online with information as to what to do in these situations. You should ask about the procedures to replace a lost or stolen passport.
If your visa was also lost or stolen, you will need to email the American consulate or embassy outside the U.S. that first issued your visa. Make sure to include important information like your full name, date and place of birth, U.S. address. Also, specify if your visa was lost or stolen and also email a copy of the document in question to the embassy of consulate.
Please note that if you find your visa after reporting it lost or stolen, your visa will still be invalid for future travel to the U.S. This means that you will have to apply for a new visa in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
American visas cannot be replaced within the United States – you must apply in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of origin. Please note that when you apply for a replacement visa, you will need to provide a written account of how you lost your passport or visa. Make sure to include a copy of the police report you filed.
When you eventually get your passport and other travel documents replaced, make sure that they are fit for travel to the United States. This means that you will have to verify that it has the appropriate passport chip integrated so that you will not experience any significant delays or be denied entry to the U.S.