Passports and visas are official and required travel documents that all foreign citizens entering the United States must possess. These documents show one’s country of citizenship and legal status in the United States. Losing or having these crucial documents stolen can be an extremely stressful experience. Continue reading for a short guide on the special procedures and measures you should take if your passport and visa are lost or stolen.
Search for your passport
If your passport that contains a United States visa foil, also referred to as a “stamp,” is stolen, your first is to search for your passport. Check to see that your passport is actually lost or stolen, not misplaced. Search your home, luggage, bags, and retrace your steps. Consider notifying any of your travel partners or relatives that you may be staying with. That way, they can be on the lookout too.
Report to the Police that your passport and visa are missing
If you are still unable to locate your passport and visa after searching around, contact your local police station immediately. Then, file a report that your documents are either lost or stolen. The United States Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends travelers make copies of their passport biographic page, United States visa, and admission stamp. If you have a copy of your lost documents, bring them to the police station with you. Once you are issued a police report, make a copy of the report for your records.
Notify the United States Embassy or Consulate abroad of your missing passport and visa
After reporting to the local police, email the Consular Section at the United States Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States that issued your visa. Notify them of your lost or stolen travel documents and ask for guidance on obtaining a new one. When contacting the embassy or consulate, be sure to provide your full name, date of birth, place of birth, address in the United States, and an email address. Also, expressly state if your passport and visa were lost or stolen. This will help prevent your travel documents from being used fraudulently. If you have a copy of your lost documents, immigration lawyers in San Diego recommend scanning and emailing a copy to the embassy or consulate. If you do not have a copy of your lost documents, provide the embassy or consulate with as much information as you have, such as the passport number or visa category.
In the event that you do not possess another form of photo identification, outside of the stolen documents, notify the embassy or consulate and learn about the alternate documents you may be required to present. Alternatively, if you had reported that your passport was lost or stolen but later locate it, the passport can still be used as an acceptable form of personal identification.
Apply for a replacement visa
United States visas that are missing cannot be replaced by the United States. In order to replace your missing visa, you must apply in person at a United States Embassy or Consulate abroad. During the application process, you will be required to provide a written account that documents the loss of your passport and visa. Be sure to include a copy of your police report when applying for a replacement visa.