You’ve just finished up your dream hunt, you have spent 10 days in the Mountains of Tajikistan pursuing a trophy Marco Polo ram. You are exhausted and yet totally energized from the challenge of hunting in some of the most remote terrain in the world and most of all you successfully harvested a tremendous 59” ram. You get to the hotel in Dushanbe after two days of driving and are looking forward to a hot shower and a good meal when realization hits home, your passport is gone. How are you going to get home? What do you do now? While you may have planned your trip down to the smallest detail, you may not have planned for this…and you didn’t purchase travel insurance.
Having passport problems, or even worse, having your passport lost or stolen can turn any dream trip into a stressful and even somewhat frightening nightmare. Not only does it create barriers and delays to returning home, if your passport ends up in the wrong hands it can put you at risk for identity theft. So, for those of you have travel abroad to hunt, for vacation or for work, here are some helpful tips in the event you lose your passport…
Contact the local police
If you discover your passport has been lost or stolen and you are staying in a hotel ask the hotel concierge to contact the police (if you had purchased travel insurance, they would do this for you). The hotel’s job is to make your stay as comfortable as possible, so they will do their best to help you resolve the issue. They may even have someone act as an interpreter if you run into language issues with the local police.
If you are in a more remote location, notify the Outfitter and ask him/her to contact the local authorities, as more often than not your outfitter will have existing relationships with law enforcement as well as the ability to help you with other steps in the process of replacing your passport.
Once you report your passport as missing, it will be invalidated and can no longer be used for travel. If at all possible, get a copy of the police report for your records.
Find the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Your next step is going to be to locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the country you are currently in so you can schedule or request an emergency appointment. You will want to speak with the Consular Section to report your passport lost or stolen.
You need to tell the consular officer every detail of your trip so they can provide the proper assistance. One thing to note is that U.S. embassies and consulates cannot issue passports on weekends or holidays, so you may have to adjust some of your travel plans accordingly.
Apply for a replacement passport
If you don’t have extra passport photos, make sure to ask the Embassy or Consulate prior to your appointment if they have photo services or if they can tell you where to go to get photos, as you must have a current passport photo to obtain a replacement passport. You will also need additional documentation such as:
• Identification (driver’s license, expired passport etc.)
• Evidence of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, copy of your missing passport)
• Travel itinerary (airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc.)
• Police report
• DS-11 Application for Passport
• DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport
Also, it is a good idea to carry an emergency fund with you on your trip as you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot use a credit card. As part of the replacement process you will need enough money to pay the passport replacement fees. U.S. embassies and consulates will accept payment in local currency equivalent to U.S. dollar amounts or U.S. dollars. Some embassies and consulates may accept other payment methods as well but you will need to contact the embassy or consulate to confirm prior to your appointment. In some situations emergency financial assistance is available for U.S. citizens abroad who cannot afford these fees. Depending on your situation, the replacement fees may be waived temporarily until you return to the states.
Generally replacement passports take several days to be issued but are valid for 10 years for adults or five years for minors. In the event that you have pressing travel requirements you can obtain an emergency passport as they can be issued more quickly, allowing you to return to the U.S. or continue your trip. However they are only good for a limited amount of time, as soon as your return to the U.S. you will need to turn in your emergency passport and get a regular replacement passport.
We can’t stress enough…GET TRIP INSURANCE!
If you are an NRA member and you plan on hunting and traveling internationally you may want to take a closer look at enrolling in the NRA-Endorsed Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) plan. This program can help alleviate a lot of the stress associated with replacing a lost or stolen passport as this plan provides lost document assistance for travelers like yourself in case important documents need to be replaced during your trip. Find out more by clicking on the image below.
What if I find my lost passport?
If you recover your passport after it was reported lost or stolen, submit it to the address listed on the back of the DS-64 form. When you send it back in, if you would like it back make sure to include a request that your passport be cancelled and returned back to you, otherwise it will simply be destroyed. If you are like me, I like to keep my old passports with the stamps from everywhere I have been.
We would love to hear some of your international travel adventures and tips you have learned along the way. If you’re planning a fishing trip, a hunt or vacation abroad, you should really consider some of the programs available that can provide you with high quality travel insurance and travel assistance. When hunting or traveling abroad always prepare for the unexpected and research your emergency travel and service options.
Quick Travel Tips:
- Purchase Travel Insurance
- Take several photos of your passport on both your cell phone and camera prior to your trip
- Carry Extra Passport Photos
- Carry an emergency travel fund, (travelers checks or cash for emergency use only)
- Consider enrolling in an emergency travel assistance program like Emergency Assistance Plus.