Before You Go.
Here are nine things you should pack before you leave on your trip. Make sure to keep these in a safe place while you’re traveling! As the old adage goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry!” Taking a few precautions ahead of time can save you a world of hassle later on.
- 3 Color copies of your passport. One for your luggage (or the hotel safe), one to keep on your person, and another to leave with a friend or family member back home.
- Extra passport photos (in case your passport is stolen)
- A list of emergency contact phone numbers. Don’t rely on the contact list in your phone. Your phone may be stolen or you might have a dead battery.
- A list of 800 numbers for your bank, credit cards, and US Embassies/Consulates (addresses and phone numbers) in all of the countries you’ll be visiting
- Color copies of your driver’s license (and any other ID you are taking with you) and your credit cards.
- A hidden travel pouch. Always divide your credit cards, cash, and other IDs between two wallets or pouches – one that you carry and one left back in the hotel safe.
- Extra cash stashed in the hotel safe
- 3 copies of your travel itinerary. One for yourself, one for a friend and one for the hotel safe.
- Pictures of your luggage. A couple of photos of the suitcase closed and a couple with it open (the contents packed inside). Email a copy of the pictures to yourself. While this may not help you if your passport is stolen, it will if your luggage is.
You’ve been robbed!
Six things you need to do if you have been robbed. (It’s a good thing you made all those color copies!)
1. Cancel your credit cards.
It might be a no-brainer, but it can quickly be forgotten in the stress of the moment. Head back to the hotel and immediately contact your bank and credit card companies. Cancel those cards before your thief books a holiday to Tenerife, all expenses paid.
2. File a report a police report.
Report the crime to local authorities; having an official police report will help support your story should someone try to use your passport illegally. You may need the report when requesting a new passport or filing a claim for travel insurance.
3. Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate
Now you can go to the embassy or consulate. Advise them you’re a US citizen and ask to speak with a consular officer. You may need to schedule an emergency appointment, so call ahead right after canceling your credit cards.
4. File a stolen passport statement
Take a copy of the police report to the consulate. They will also require an official statement verbally (under oath), or a written DS-64 statement. Your passport will be made void immediately upon making this statement.
5. Applying for a new passport
The consulate will want some sort of documentation to provide a new passport. If you don’t have copies of your passport and IDs, the process can be a pretty big headache. If ALL forms of identification were stolen, consular staff could help you contact family back home to help you procure a birth certificate or social security card to help with identification. Save yourself the trouble and get color copies of all the identification you are traveling with ahead of time!
What you’ll need for a new passport:
- A passport photo (luckily you brought copies!)
- ID (Driver’s license, expired passport, photocopy of your missing passport, etc.)
- Proof of US citizenship (birth certificate, social security card, a photocopy of your missing passport, passport card, and driver’s license)
- The police report you filed
- The DS-11 Application for Passport (filled out onsite)
- The DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport (filled out onsite)
The consulate will need a copy of your travel itinerary, to determine whether they should issue you a full passport, or a limited-validity passport. If you’re headed home within the next few days, you’ll be given an emergency passport; it takes about 24 hours to obtain and must be turned in as soon as you return to the United States. If there’s more traveling to be done, you’ll be issued a new passport (valid for 10 years). It’s posting from the United States, so it’ll take a few days.
Under the circumstances, you won’t be charged the usual $145 fee for a full replacement passport. However, if you end up with the limited-validity passport (which are free too), you will have to pay the $135 to get a full replacement passport once you get back home.
Most consulates are closed and don’t issue replacement passports on weekends or holidays.
6. Getting Cash
You’ll have to call your bank to have money wired. The consulate can help you navigate the local money transfer services. They know which places are reliable, have nearby locations, and charge the lowest fees.
The directions below are for receiving money are from Travel.State.Gov.
- Contact the individual’s bank and arrange to add funds to the person’s account.
- Contact the individual’s credit card company to ask for a temporary credit limit increase.
- Arrange for immediate replacement of a lost/stolen credit card. Express delivery may take 2-3 business days.
For everything, you need to know about international travel, Travel.State.Gov.