As much as we try to avoid mishaps while traveling or living abroad in a country such as Mexico, the truth of the matter is that they can (and occasionally will) happen. As an example, you may find yourself wondering what to do if you lose your passport.
From realizing that your passport accidentally fell out of your bag in a taxi or on a bus, to dealing with a stolen passport situation, there are a number of ways the loss of a passport can occur.
Realizing that your passport has been lost or stolen can be a stressful situation for anyone, which is why it’s important to become informed of the appropriate steps needed to secure a new passport.
If you’re a U.S. citizen currently living or traveling in Mexico and have ever wondered, “What happens when you lose your passport?” then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what to do if you lose your passport in Mexico.
Reporting A Lost Or Stolen Passport
First things first–if you experience a case of a lost or stolen passport, you’ll want to minimize the risk of identity theft.
It’s important to report the lost or stolen passport as soon as possible. You’ll need to report it to two different sources: the local police and the U.S. State Department.
Filing a report with the local Mexican police can be tricky if you don’t speak Spanish. Some officials may speak a little English, that’s not always the case. Therefore, it’s advisable to find a bilingual friend or acquaintance who can accompany you to the police station.
When filing this report, make sure that you obtain a copy it as you may need it down the line.
After reporting the lost passport to the local police, your next step is to report it to the United States State Department. The Department can be reached in multiple ways.
How to Replace a Lost Passport
Now that you know the first step when it comes to what to do if you lose your passport in Mexico, we’ll walk you through the process of replacing your passport.
It’s advisable to contact the U.S. embassy, consulate, or consular office that is closest to you in order to get the best advice for your specific situation. You can locate the service closest to you by clicking here.
Provide them with details about the loss of your passport, and let them know if you have immediate travel plans. It typically takes 10-15 business days to receive regular replacement passports after applying, but the office can provide you with instructions for securing an emergency passport (more on that in a moment).
In terms of the actual application, you’ll need to make an appointment at the appropriate office (there are no walk-in services for passport applications).
These offices can also help direct you to where you can obtain a photo for your replacement passport, which you’ll need before going to your scheduled appointment.
If you’re living in Mexico long-term and have no immediate travel plans that require a passport, you can go through the regular passport renewal application process to replace the lost passport.
Learn more about the required documents and materials for your replacement application here. Keep in mind that if you are unable to present all of the documents, the office staff will do their best to help you in the process of swiftly replacing your passport.
Applying For An Emergency Passport
If you lose your passport and have to travel internationally soon after, no need to worry. You don’t have to wait to receive a regular, full-validity passport.
Instead, American travelers can access emergency passport services via the closest U.S. Embassy or consulate general.
The embassy or consulate will issue a limited-validity passport, which will be good for one year and costs the same as a regular passport.
If possible, bring a copy of the local police report to your appointment, in addition to the required forms, U.S. passport-sized photos, proof of identity, proof of U.S. citizenship, and cash or credit card to pay the required fees. See the full list of required documents and materials for your appointment here.
Crossing The U.S.-Mexico Border Without A Passport
Imagine the following hypothetical scenario…
You and your family plan to drive from Mexico to the United States for the holidays. Upon arriving at the border, you realize you don’t have your passport with you. What happens then?
Additionally, U.S. citizen children under the age of 15 can present the original or copy of their birth certificate if they don’t have a passport upon entry by land or sea to the U.S.
Consider having on hand or applying for one of these alternatives pre-emptively in the case that you need them as back-up options down the line.
At this point, you are now equipped with a solid plan of action that can help you understand what to do if you lose your passport in Mexico. No one likes to deal with the hassle of situations like this, but the more you know, the smoother the process to replace your passport will be.