Where is my passport?
The most important document for your travels at home and abroad isn’t your state-issued driver’s license or even a birth certificate – no photo on that, anyway; it’s your passport book or card, the only form of identification recognized outside the US for entry to embassies and consulates, checking into hotels, flying domestically when your DL isn’t up to date with the Real ID Act, and, of course, for passing through immigration in any country where US citizens are allowed to travel. That’s all well and good, but have you misplaced your passport, or forgotten some of your hiding places? Here are some tips for keeping your passport safe at home and on the go.
Your US passport should be with you at all times
Some countries like Japan require that all international visitors keep their ID on them at all times, or risk fines and imprisonment. While Japan may not be an area in which travelers are particularly concerned with pickpocketing and safety, this may be an issue in others. Do you have a waterproof security belt to hold your passport, or a passport case with an RFID blocker? Keeping your passport physically and electronically safe is a must for every traveler.
When you’re abroad
Though you may not always feel comfortable carrying your passport with you at all times when you’re out and about in a foreign country – due to weather, security, or otherwise – what can you do about keeping it safe at your hotel or rental?
The good news is most hotels in the mid to upper range carry in-room safes for this purpose, accessible only by a security code you provide. In addition, the front desk may be authorized to store your passport book or card (as well as other valuables) in the main safe.
What about a hiding place, or concerns about housekeepers with sticky fingers and thieves? Nothing is 100% concern in any country, but ensuring your hotel room door is locked and your passport kept out of plain view can reduce the chances anyone will walk away with it.
Storing your passport at home
Your home should be your refuge, and you can hope that anything within its walls will be kept safe for as long as you live there. Even if this is the case, some places are better than others for storing a passport.
Because your US passport book contains sensitive electronics, keeping it in a room with fluctuating humidity and temperature like the kitchen or garage isn’t advisable. Rather, choose a place that’s cool, dry, and out of direct sunlight: the top of a closet, inside a waterproof and fireproof safe, a desk drawer you rarely open.
Still can’t find your passport?
Keep looking. Check the outer pockets of the rollaway luggage or bags you used on your last trip. You might need to replace your passport soon anyway, but that’s no reason to let a perfectly good document go to waste.
However, if it turns out you have lost your passport or suspect it may have been stolen, there is a procedure to follow. Call the US Department of State at (877) 487-2778 or submit a Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport Book and/or Card (https://eforms.state.gov/Forms/ds64.pdf). Once you do either of these and happen to find your old passport, it can no longer be used.
Second, drop on by or call your nearest Travel Visa Pro for assistance in expediting a replacement passport. Not only can TVP reissue passports in as little as eight hours in some cases, but we can do everything you need on site: taking a passport photo, fill out your application, and consult with you regarding the paperwork you need and the timeline for your next international trip.
Where do you store your passport? Have you checked on it lately?