I Lost My Passport and I Fly Tomorrow! What Do I Do Now?

There are three possible scenarios, and we’ve got a plan for each of them.

I lost my passport book before an international trip!

Losing your passport is a traveler’s worst nightmare. The panic, stress, and anxiety that come with it are enough to send shivers down your spine. Whether you’re preparing for a domestic flight or an international journey, flying tomorrow or in a few days, the situation can feel equally dire. In this blog post, we’ll explore the three different scenarios and how to get a replacement passport quickly.


I Lost My Passport and I Fly Tomorrow: Scenario 1

You can’t find your passport before a domestic flight

In a way, this is the best-case scenario! Speaking relatively, of course. The thing is, even if you lose your travel document before flying domestically, you can simply use some other accepted identification documents. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) accepts the following forms of identification for domestic flights:

  • State-issued driver’s license

  • State-issued identification card

  • Trusted Traveler Program cards

  • U.S. military ID

  • U.S. passport card

  • A second US passport if you’re a rare holder of such (the passport that is issued in specific circumstances)

By the way, you don’t need a passport to fly to US overseas territories such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Still, don’t take it too long to apply for a new passport. It’s always handy to have a valid passport at hand. If you need a passport photo for your application quickly, you can always use our website to get pictures done in seconds. For example, CVS passport photos. Don’t go to a local store, save your time and money!

I Lost My Passport and I Need to Fly Tomorrow: Scenario 2

You’re missing your passport before flying internationally

Now, this is a serious problem, as you will not be allowed to board the plane, even if you have a photocopy of your lost passport or remember the passport number.

Unless you’re in a life-or-death emergency, you won’t be able to get a replacement passport anytime soon. Unfortunately, you will have to either cancel your trip abroad or have your flight changed to a much later date when you’ve already replaced your lost passport.

Then, you will need to report that you lost your travel document using the lost or stolen passport Form DS-64. It should be done as soon as possible in order to prevent identity theft.

Before you file a report on your missing passport, triple-check if you REALLY lost it. All passports reported lost are no longer valid and cannot be used for international flights! So, once you inform the State Department, there is no way back–your lost passport will be canceled for good.

There are multiple options to fill out the DS-64 form: for example, you can report a lost or stolen passport online, by phone, or by mail. However, since you will have to apply for a replacement passport anyway, it may be better to kill two birds with one stone and fill out the form in person when submitting your application.

One way or another, you will have to apply for a new passport (you must fill out Form DS-11 in person at an acceptance facility), and getting one usually takes a couple of months. To be precise, getting replacement passports through routine processing takes 10-13 weeks, while the expedited service takes 9 weeks (and costs an additional $60).

To be fair, there have been cases when people miraculously managed to get a same-day passport by knocking on every door in their passport agency. This isn’t an official recommendation from the State Department but you can try and do the same. However, don’t count on the same outcome as it seems to be a rare exception.

Lost Passport Before Flight

How to Get an Emergency Passport in 72 Hours

If you have a life-or-death situation, you may qualify for an expedited passport which can be issued within 3 business days. To schedule an appointment, contact the National Passport Processing Center. Please note that this service is provided only to those whose immediate family member has died or has a life-threatening injury and cannot be provided for any other reasons.

Scenario 3: Your passport was lost or stolen while overseas

This is a major issue as well because you can’t fly back to the US without a valid passport.

Should you find yourself in such a situation, locate your nearest US consulate or embassy and report your passport lost. The consular staff will provide all the necessary guidance and tell you what to do next.

Make sure to give the staff your flight details and travel itinerary so that they can help you faster.

Similar to the previous scenario, you will have to fill out Form DS-64 (used to report lost or stolen passports) and Form DS-11 (used as a new or replacement passport application form).

Also, you’ll need to provide a government-issued photo ID and some proof of citizenship (if you were born in the US, it’s a birth certificate; otherwise, it can be a Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth).

If you happen to have an expired passport on you, it should work both as a photo ID and proof of citizenship. In fact, carrying your old passport with you is a life hack used by many experienced travelers.

Lastly, you’ll have to get a new passport photo to include in your emergency passport. This part can get tricky, as you might not have time to find a suitable photo booth or studio in a foreign country. We suggest getting your passport photo online to save precious time (every minute counts!). For example, our website will help you get a digital CVS passport photo online in a couple of minutes!

Once all the paperwork has been taken care of, the consular staff will do their best to issue a new passport that you can use to get back to the United States.

Please note that this is only a limited-validity passport, and you must replace it as soon as you fly back home!

make sure to keep your current passport safe on any overseas travel

Key Takeaways

So, the above scenarios should cover pretty much everything. Let’s summarize them:

  • Scenario 1: You’re in the US and flying domestically. Instead of your lost passport, you can use another government-issued identification (for example, your driver’s license).
  • Scenario 2: You’re in the US and have an international flight. Unless it’s a life-or-death emergency, report your passport lost or stolen and apply for a new one.
  • Scenario 3: You’re outside the US and going to fly back. Immediately contact your nearest US consulate or embassy to get an emergency passport overseas.

In any of these scenarios, getting a replacement for your lost passport is undoubtedly a stressful experience. However, with the right steps and a calm demeanor, you can navigate through it. Remember that prevention is the best solution, so always keep your passport secure. Safe travels!