When traveling abroad, your passport is an essential part of your packing list. It is a required means of identification to enter a foreign country, and more importantly, it is required to get you back into your own home country. Preventing passport theft is very necessary because, in the long run, it saves you a lot of stress, time and money spent in getting a new one.
Having your passport lost or stolen can turn an otherwise wonderful trip into a potentially expensive disaster. According to experts, a U.S. passport is still a hot item on the black market, and as such, your passport should be well protected.
In order for you not to be in the situation of having your passport stolen, there are some instructions in which you need to follow in preventing passport theft and in the case that your passport is eventually stolen you can follow this steps to replace it.
• Always come prepared: There are tons of travel accessories that can help in preventing passport theft. Some are worn around the waist or slipped under your clothing. Buy and use a hidden wallet capable of carrying your passport under your clothing. Or modify some of your clothing to carry and keep your passport hidden. It is not recommended to use a strap pouch or waist bag because the buckle is located at the back. Thieves can easily unbuckle it in seconds or they can simply rip it out from your waist.
• Be vigilant and smart: Take your passport out only when you have to Show it to officials who request it and put it away quickly when they are finished. During flights do not store your Passport in your checked luggage have it on you till you get to your destination. Don’t leave your belongings unattended and always be mindful when someone bumps into you. Ensure your bag has a zipper or a flap that covers the opening of your bag, position it in front of your body when you are in a crowded area.
• Storage and security: Do not leave your passport in the hotel room to protect it from the thieves, they aren’t safe in the hotel room. If you must store your passport make sure you use the hotel safe, your passport is safer there. Also, you must be security conscious if you can avoid taking your passport with you to crowded areas like clubs, bar, streets parties and huge public gathering.
• Backups: Scan your passport and relevant visa pages and upload to a secure online storage site that you can always access from any online computer. Give a copy to someone that will be home and can easily fax you a copy if necessary. Ensure you keep a photocopy of your passport and relevant visas in a different bag than your original. lastly, endeavor to save digital passport photo of you in your email account or on your smartphone so you can retrieve it easily if eventually your passport gets stolen and you need to apply again. This saves you the time and effort you would spend looking for a photo studio to obtain a new passport photo. To get a digital copy of your passport photo, you can go to http://www.passportphotoonline.com to generate digital copy, this site will help you generate the right passport photo for any selected country very easily and fast.
Steps to replace your stolen passport
When a U.S. citizen’s passport is lost or stolen overseas, these are basic steps a traveler should follow:
• File a Police Report: The very step to take when your passport has been stolen is to file an official police report. A police report will validate your information should someone try to use your passport illegally. Make sure you get a copy of the police report “for your record” before you leave the police station.
• Contact the nearest consulate: Reach out your consulate to inform them your passport is missing. Once you’ve located the US Embassy in the country you’re visiting, you will need to schedule an emergency appointment. Generally, appointments are available Monday-Friday mornings (excluding Federal Holidays)
• File for an emergency passport: This must be done in person and you will need to bring the following documentation with you to your appointment.
• Wait for your passport: your new temporary US should be ready in the next 24hours. Your emergency passport is valid for one year so you will need to immediately renew and replace it with a traditional 10-year passport once you have returned back to the United States.