Procedure Following Loss of Passport Containing U.S. Visa05 Jul 2016
No matter how carefully important documents are guarded, many passports are lost or stolen each year. If one loses a passport that has a U.S. visa foil (often referred to as a “stamp”), there are special procedures that should be followed.
Report Loss to Police
Upon discovering that a passport is lost or stolen, the first step is to file a report with the local police. The police report is needed to reapply for the visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy, so it is best to obtain an extra copy of the report from the police.
Country-Specific Replacement / Reporting Requirements for Passports
Replacement of a lost or stolen passport falls under the requirements set out by the country of issuance for the passport. Each country governs its own passport requirements. Thus, an individual in this situation needs to research the procedures of the particular country for reporting and requesting a new passport.
Report Loss to Consulate / Embassy that Issued the Visa
The loss or theft of a passport containing a U.S. visa stamp should be reported to the appropriate U.S. consulate or embassy. This is an attempt to thwart attempts to misuse the document, and potential problems related to such misuse. Reports should be sent to the eMail address that can be found on the website of the consulate or embassy that granted the visa.
If available, a copy of the missing passport and/or visa should be provided with the eMail report. Accordingly, it is recommended that a copy of one’s passport and visa be made and kept in a safe place, should the passport need to be replaced.
Visa No Longer Valid if Passport Found After Loss Notification
Once the loss or theft of a passport is reported, the visa is invalidated for security purposes. Therefore, even if the documents are found or returned later, the visa will no longer be valid for travel.
No Process to Replace Visa from Within the U.S.
With the exception of certain A, G, and NATO visas, visas generally cannot be reissued from within the United States. If a passport with a U.S. visa stamp is lost or stolen, in most situations, a replacement can only be obtained through application at an appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. A copy of the police report and a written statement of the events should be filed with the new visa application.
Note that it is not necessary to travel abroad solely to replace a lost visa, as a visa is a travel document that generally is only required to seek entry to the United States. Once a person has entered lawfully, a valid visa stamp is not needed unless the individual wishes to travel abroad and reenter the U.S.
If a passport containing a U.S. visa is lost or stolen, it is important to take all required steps in order to avoid potential problems in the future.
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