Pro Tip: How to Deal with a Lost/Stolen Passport while Traveling or Studying Abroad

Written by Connery October 15, 2015

It looks like a normal passport

Until you open the last page and see this

The Consolate of the U.S. in Milan. This place saved me from a horrible semester

Yeah… So having your passport stolen is not fun; at all. I was unfortunate enough to have my passport stolen, hilariously/horrendously timed, on the first day of the semester. Although it sucked to have it stolen, I learned a lot of what you need to do if this happens to you.

  1. Retrace Your Steps: This is crucial: You will really want to/need to retrace your steps, just in case you did misplace it. If you left it somewhere public, call or email them. If there is a good samaritan, they will turn it into the Lost and Found, and when you email them, they will tell you that it’s there.
  2. Email a Local Consulate: This is not extremely crucial, but still excellent to do if you know the Consulate near you is known to be slow with it. Once I informed CIMBA that my passport was stolen, they helped set up a time where it was convenient for everyone. Not only that, but they told me that the Consulate in Milan was far more efficient than the one in Florence, making it a “quick” fix, rather than a long and grueling ordeal.
  3. Go to the Consulate: While this may seem obvious, many don’t realize that it’s literally an all-day event, especially if you’re coming from the countryside like CIMBA. I had to wake up at 6 in the morning to catch a taxi and then take a train to Milan, plus finding where the Consulate was, making the whole trek about 4 hours to get to the Consulate. At the Consulate, it took about 2 hours to complete my new temporary passport, but that’s because it was just myself and an older gentleman. Had it been full, it would have taken probably a few more hours. The trek back to CIMBA was as long as the trip there, making the whole trip about 11 hours. I left at 7 in the morning, and got back about 5:30pm. 
  4. Embrace the Fact that You have to Buy a New Passport: It is going to be expensive, just embrace it. When I had to replace mine, it cost $225, and that’s just for the temporary passport. Thankfully though, I’m able to get a complete passport, free of charge, if I complete an application by the time my temporary one expires. Summary, complete an application for a new passport before your temporary passport expires, or else you’ll wind up paying even more. 
  5. Don’t Stress: Once you realize it’s lost, and you know where to get a new one, it’s something that should not consume your energy on worrying about. We all have moments that we mess up extensively, and it’s not something to be ashamed of. We are human after all.

In all, while it REALLY sucks to lose your passport, it could be a lot worse, and you can easily replace it. I thankfully found out that my passport was stolen early into my semester, so it didn’t affect my time at CIMBA too much. It’s actually not as bad as people make it out to be. It just consumes an entire day of travel and a pretty big chuck of money.