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How to Replace Your Lost Passport

How to Replace Your Lost Passport

While just about every other document is accessible online, a lost passport is one of the last analog emergencies that can derail an international trip.

Here’s a guide to replacing a lost passport according to how fast you need it, how much money you have to spare and where you live. (The process for last-minute renewals of expired passports, by the way, is fairly similar.)

You’ll be OK. On the State Department website, at, first report your passport lost and then follow the process for a replacement. On the website, you’ll find a list of 7,500 passport acceptance facilities — including post offices, public libraries and clerk of court offices — where you can make an appointment or, in most cases, come during scheduled walk-in hours. They’ll verify your documents and send them to the State Department, and you’ll get your passport in the mail.

Before the day of your appointment, check what you need to bring, a list that will include at least proof of U.S. citizenship, payment (acceptable forms vary by facility), the right forms (for lost passports, that’s the DS-11 and DS-46) and at most facilities, a properly taken photo.

The “routine” processing time to replace a passport takes six to eight weeks and costs $165; choose the “expedited” service, for an additional $60, to receive your passport in two to three weeks.

You might even get yours “faster than advertised,” said Matt Pierce, a managing director of passport services for the State Department, noting that the pandemic-era backlog was cleared up as of December.

Avoid delays by carefully following instructions, and consider spending an additional $19.53 for faster shipping.

If your trip is less than three weeks away, you’ll need to take the extra step of going through one of 26 passport processing offices across the United States. If you’re doing it without an outside expediter, you must make an appointment online or over the phone, up to 14 days in advance of your trip.

There are no more walk-ins, an option before the pandemic, but the State Department has increased capacity to eliminate the need for them, Mr. Pierce said, and the offices give special priority to documented “life-or-death emergencies” of immediate family members. You’ll need to bring all of your documents, and proof you are traveling soon — like a plane or cruise reservation.

Things can get dicey if you need an appointment…

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