It happens to everybody one day -- you need your passport number and you don't have the passport with you. You know where it is, in your top drawer at home. You know the number is just there, on the top of the second page of the book, but you cannot call it to mind, nor did you take your mom's advice to make a copy of the number and carry it with you at all times. Don't fret. Options are available for retrieving a U.S. passport number -- also called a passport book number -- and for ordering a new passport too, if necessary.
Use Passport Card Number
The U.S. State Department will issue you a passport card if you apply for one, even if you already have a passport book. Use these cards instead of passport books to re-enter the United States at land border crossings and seaports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Note that you cannot use them for return into the U.S. from these or any countries if you are traveling by air. Some establishments, like hotels, may accept passport card numbers in lieu of passport book numbers in a pinch.
Look on Travel Documents
Most people obtain passports in order to travel to foreign countries. If you are one of them, you have other options available for locating your passport number since you must enter this number in many different documents on your trip. If you bought an e-ticket for a current or previous trip, look up the ticket confirmation receipt to find your passport number. If you are currently in the middle of your trip, review your hotel documents, visa documents or foreign country arrival forms to locate your passport number.
Report the Lost Passport
If you've lost the passport itself, you must report it lost or stolen immediately. If you are traveling, you won't get far without a passport, and even if you are home in the U.S., you should invalidate the old passport to prevent identity theft. In the short term, your best option is to call the U.S. State Department's dedicated lost passport phone line: 1-877-487-2778.
You can also file a form called DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen US Passport Book and/or Card. Obtain and file the form at any U.S. consulate, U.S. embassy or U.S. passport agency. You can also use this form and the lost passport phone line to report the loss of a passport card.
Get a New Passport With a New Number
If you have lost your passport and need to get a replacement, don't show up at the U.S. consulate or embassy office empty-handed. You'll save yourself time and trouble if you obtain the required documents in advance. According to the U.S. State Department, you'll need:
- One passport photo that meets the legal requirements
- A photo ID, such as a state-issued identification card or driver's license
- Evidence to prove you are a U.S. citizen, like a birth certificate
- Copies of your airline or train tickets to show your travel itinerary
- A copy of any police reports you made
- DS-11 Application for Passport
- DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport Book
With a Master's in English, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's law school, Teo Spengler is up on education. She splits her home time between San Francisco and France. A perpetual student and frequent teacher, she is also a writer and world traveler. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Arizona Central, Fairmont Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites.