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mlbcruiser

Info. Re: If You Misplace or Lose Your Passport or ID

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Having cruised and traveled for years w/out ever running into a "situation" with a photo I.D., birth certificate or passport, it "almost" happened to us twice in the past year.

 

A year ago, just as we were about to check in for a cruise in FLL, I suddenly couldn't find our passports! We had spent 2 nights with a relative in FLL prior to the cruise and had been in and out of our carryon, my purse, and our suitcases a few times. Called the relative but passports weren't there. Had photos of our passports on my cell phone, but learned those would not be accepted! (Used to carry photo copies but guess those also wouldn't have worked.) Had only driver's licenses but was told I'd have to get copies of our birth certificates, which were in another state! Tried to reach our daughter who lived in our same city, but it took a while. Had only 2 hrs. by then to board! DD finally called me and left a baby shower early to drive 30 min. to our house to find the birth certificates and get them to a a copy/mailing place to have them faxed to the cruise line!  Meanwhile, a security officer urged me to check a carryon bag yet one more time (after I'd checked it already about 5 times!). THANKFULLY she did that, because I suddenly felt something between the lining of the bag and the outter shell. The passports had slipped through a tear I hadn't known was there and we were able to board! Talk about feeling stressed for 90 minutes! Even if our daughter had ended up faxing the birth certificates, there is one caveat that would have likely still have prevented us from boarding (explained below):

 

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  Again, we'd flown in a few days early. My dh had insisted on carrying his own passport and boarding pass at the airport. I gave them to him as soon as we had checked our luggage. (I have generally always taken care of ALL of our travel details and am the one carrying the passports,etc.) The last time I saw his passport was just before going through the security line.  We'd flown into Orlando this time and rented a car, staying near Orlando for 2 nights. From there we drove to the relative's house near FLL the day prior to the cruise. Again, getting ready to enter the cruise check in area turned into a nightmare. My dh couldn't find his passport. I had mine where I'd put it in my purse. I'd checked it that morning and also after turning in our rental car. Panic time again! I was going to call our dd again and ask her to send a photo of our birth certificates. Normally, that would have worked, HOWEVER, this time a security officer mentioned that would only work assuming  my dh was born in the United States. He was't! He was born in another country, of American parents.  Yet his birth certificate was issued in the European country he was born in. There has never been a problem with that. Not even with getting a passport.  Security said it MUST be an American issued birth certificate. We called the TSA at our home city airport to see if perhaps my dh had dropped it or didn't get it back after the security checkpoint. They didn't have it, but said it COULD be locked up in the office of a woman who worked in lost and found. Their idea was to contact a govt. agency but this was a Sat. and Monday was a national holiday, so that agency was closed!  I called the airline with flight number, etc. No, they hadn't found it.  I went through my purse again, even though I knew I had not had the passport at all since security in our home city. Just in case, I went through my carryon and my dh's backpack again. Then my purse. Once more, THANKFULLY, I found dh's passport! It was in the bottom of my purse (not in the purse pocket where I'd kept mine), underneath a pkg. of anti-bacterial wipes laying flat in the bottom of my purse! No doubt my dh had, at some point, dropped his passport into my purse- probably after security while waiting in the boarding area or sometime thereafter.  I even remember handing him a wipe after we'd eaten snacks on the plane, so I assume his passport and the wipes worked their way to the bottom of my purse. (BTW, I don't believe travel insurance would have compensated for the cruise cost had we not been allowed to board since this wasn't an illness or death and was our own fault.)

 

Sorry about the long explanation, but at times any of us can make mistakes. To avoid a panic attack (or worse, missing a cruise or int'l flight), know these things:

If you get in such a pinch and have to produce a birth certificate last min. for a trip heading out of the U.S., in the U.S.A. a photo copy and maybe not even a fax will work IF the birth certificate was NOT issued in the U.S.  With regard to a passport, a picture of your passport won't suffice. A photo or copy might help if you lose it or have to get a new one from a foreign embassy or in other situations, but not for int'l. travel. Or for a cruise unless you can produce a U.S. issued birth certificate.  However, a U.S. issued birth certificate copy or fax WILL work, at least if you are just going on a cruise that returns to the same U.S. port. Maybe also if it returns to a different U.S. port). 

 

So to be extra safe, you may want to figure out ways to back your documentation up when going on trips! Although we were lucky 2 years in a row, we might not have been!

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9 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

Normally, that would have worked, HOWEVER, this time a security officer mentioned that would only work assuming  my dh was born in the United States. He was't! He was born in another country, of American parents.  Yet his birth certificate was issued in the European country he was born in. There has never been a problem with that. Not even with getting a passport.  Security said it MUST be an American issued birth certificate.

It's Consular Report of Birth Abroad that's used for those of us born not in the US.  Issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

 

The original Certificate of Report of Birth is no longer accepted since Dec 2010.  Neither are foreign issued birth certificates.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the combo panic attack/headache and lesson in travel doc requirements.  The only thing personally I’ve done close on that is:

•actually losing my drivers license just before flying (pre-911).  Was able to fly (can’t remember what documentation I had to show) but could not rent a car.  So my 1st experience in St Louis was using public transportation.

•Thought I’d lost my DL before flying back to St. Louis (post 9/11).  Was sitting outside the security area with luggage open/clothes strewn everywhere before I remembered what I wore the day I arrived.  Sure enough DL was in that day’s shirt pocket.

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I work with passports, and I can tell you two things: 

 

1. If you think you have lost your passport, get up, search everywhere around you, and then methodically take every single solitary thing out of your purse/bag/pockets (including pocket lint, receipts, change, etc.) and turn them inside out. Most of the time just like the poster above, you'll find that the dang thing momentarily hid itself from you or you couldn't find it because you were panicking. If that doesn't work, as a friend, passerby or stewardess to check the area you were last sitting in for you -- a second set of eyes is key. 

 

2. If you really can't find your passport, get out your phone and call to report it lost or stolen. They will -- or should -- ask you if you've looked everywhere. Hang up the phone, and go check one more time. Your passport will probably appear. (Seriously, I can't even tell you how many phone calls I get panicking about lost passports who call me bak 5 minutes later saying "Thank God, I've found it! Please tell me you haven't reported it lost yet...?" 

 

I know, it sounds like black magic. But I swear to you, it works!

 

As an aside, I don't know why all these countries make passports navy or oxblood red or black -- all colors that blend into the shadows. We should make like the Moldovans, and pick bright turquoise blue for our passports. I bet it would cut the number of accidental losses in half. 🙂

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You guys made my heart gallop. 

I have such a fear of arriving at check in and not finding our passports where I put them. 

I tend to be digging in my purse for my car keys s as I dash out the door. No keys!

i unlock the front door again and grab my DH’s key to my car. 

At some point a few hours later I reach into my purse and there are my keys. Sometimes they’re even in the pocket I keep them in. 

Panic is a terrible thing! It erases brain cells. 

 

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OP,  I appreciate you posting your stories and am glad that all turned out well for your husband and you.

 

What you experienced is my greatest travel concern.  I am obsessive about keeping track of my passport and travel documents.  Maybe it was because of a similar experience to yours many years ago with a pack of travelers checks (remember those?).  I knew I had packed them in a piece of luggage.  When I went to get them, they had "disappeared"!  Panic time because I had little cash with me and this was before the days of ATMs.  I "tore" the contents of my suitcase apart!  Just when I thought I had truly lost them, the envelope slipped out from between a couple of shirts.  Somehow, in transit, the envelope with the checks had gotten between those shirts and I overlooked it when I removed items from the suitcase.  

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Oh my...this is what my nightmares are made of! It's a recurring dream that I get to the airport or cruise port and cannot board because I can't find my passport. So after I desperately search through all of our bags, I'm dialing a rotary dial phone of all things, ever so slowly and yet I keep dialing a wrong number over and over and over.  I never manage to get through to my daughter or whoever it is I'm trying to call...eventually I force myself to wake up  - I guess because I can't bare to actually be turned away (in my dream!) Ugh...glad it's worked out for you tho!

 

Terri

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We travel a fair bit internationally. I would suggest spending $20 on one of these:

 

https://www.ebags.com/product/dakine/travel-sleeve/341882?productid=10624828

 

Passports go in and only come out if they're needed at customs or security. I even store them there at home. An extra credit card or two, some cash, any paper docs that we may need (which is rare now) and you're set.

 

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Scan birth certificates into your computer and upload into the "cloud" (any online access place) and you will always have a back plan 

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Not sure that the scan would be accepted since a photo of my passport on my phone (obviously my picture on the passport) was not acceptable. Also, we could easily misplace the travel sleeve Paul 84 mentioned as easily as the passports! In many years of int’l travel and more than 45 cruises, the two episodes were the only slip ups. Hopefully they will be the last!  In recent times the rules change more frequently than ever and what used to be considered acceptable proof or backup isn’t good enough anymore. At least I haven’t had bad dreams about losing passports- so far, anyway! 🤞🏼

Edited by mlbcruiser

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6 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Not sure that the scan would be accepted since a photo of my passport on my phone (obviously my picture on the passport) was not acceptable. Also, we could easily misplace the travel sleeve Paul 84 mentioned as easily as the passports! In many years of int’l travel and more than 45 cruises, the two episodes were the only slip ups. Hopefully they will be the last!  In recent times the rules change more frequently than ever and what used to be considered acceptable proof or backup isn’t good enough anymore. At least I haven’t had bad dreams about losing passports- so far, anyway! 🤞🏼

A copy of a birth certificate is allowable under the DHS regulations whereas a passport copy is not (but it can be helpful in getting a replacement if you lose it since the passport copy is accepted by the State Department as proof of citizenship). Consular Report of Birth Abroad and Naturalization Certificates have to be original, also. When we first started traveling we used my birth certificate and DW's Naturalization Certificate. Then I found out how much it would cost to replace the Naturalization Certificate if something happened to it, which at the time was $375 and is now $550 (I think). In any event at that point we looked at getting a passport card or an Enhanced Drivers License (since we live in one of the 5 states that issue them)(we even considered getting passports but international travel by air was still uncertain at that point so we decided to wait). We opted for the EDL even though in the long run they are a little more expensive. We live 8 miles from the border and it's nice having to carry only one thing instead of two. So now we leave the passports (and the Nat. Cert.) in our safe deposit box unless we need the passports for a trip. We have our EDL's as back up in case we forget to grab our passports, leave them at home or whatever. 

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22 hours ago, SimplyMarvie said:

I work with passports, and I can tell you two things: 

 

We should make like the Moldovans, and pick bright turquoise blue for our passports. I bet it would cut the number of accidental losses in half. 🙂

 

Maybe because light blue is the color of UN passports.  Which require you to also present your home country passport. 😄

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Good info. For some who may read this thread, Sparks 1093. In my dh’s case, he isn’t a naturalized citizen. His parents were US citizens, born in the United Ststes. His father worked for the US State Dept. in a European country and my husband was born in that country as a US citizen. His family moved back to the US when he was 5.  All through his life the birth certificate was accepted, including when he went into the military and for a passport. As long as he never loses his passport ( knock on wood!). We plan to renew both of our’s this year.  I wonder if there is any reason to be concerned about obtaining any other document in it’s place, if a photo copy of a passport can be used to obtain a new one if the original is lost. If his parents ever had a document from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, it was never given to  him. 

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27 minutes ago, mlbcruiser said:

Good info. For some who may read this thread, Sparks 1093. In my dh’s case, he isn’t a naturalized citizen. His parents were US citizens, born in the United Ststes. His father worked for the US State Dept. in a European country and my husband was born in that country as a US citizen. His family moved back to the US when he was 5.  All through his life the birth certificate was accepted, including when he went into the military and for a passport. As long as he never loses his passport ( knock on wood!). We plan to renew both of our’s this year.  I wonder if there is any reason to be concerned about obtaining any other document in it’s place, if a photo copy of a passport can be used to obtain a new one if the original is lost. If his parents ever had a document from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, it was never given to  him. 

As I understand it a Consular Report of Birth Abroad is the only thing that legally establishes his citizenship from birth, I know of no birth certificate issued in such situation that would work but if it worked it worked, whatever the reason. You could obtain a passport card to use as backup (you could even apply for it with your renewal if you wanted to).

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12 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

Scan birth certificates into your computer and upload into the "cloud" (any online access place) and you will always have a back plan 

Several years ago I had read on here to photocopy our passports...which I did while getting ready for our cruise.

Luckily DH asked me to check the passports & docs again as we were pulling out of the driveway...

My best intentions had almost been our undoing.... I had left them on the scanner :classic_unsure:

check...check....and recheck folks!

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1 hour ago, mlbcruiser said:

Good info. For some who may read this thread, Sparks 1093. In my dh’s case, he isn’t a naturalized citizen. His parents were US citizens, born in the United Ststes. His father worked for the US State Dept. in a European country and my husband was born in that country as a US citizen. His family moved back to the US when he was 5.  All through his life the birth certificate was accepted, including when he went into the military and for a passport. As long as he never loses his passport ( knock on wood!). We plan to renew both of our’s this year.  I wonder if there is any reason to be concerned about obtaining any other document in it’s place, if a photo copy of a passport can be used to obtain a new one if the original is lost. If his parents ever had a document from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, it was never given to  him. 

 

He almost certainly had a Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued at some point, probably by the Consular Section of the Embassy in the country where he was born. His parents probably would have needed it to get him on their orders and get his visa and status sorted. Generally, your passport is prima facie evidence of citizenship and when you renew (or if it is lost) the passport folks or consular officer will be able to see that record to establish your entitlement to a passport, so no major worries if it's lost in the future. 

 

That said, if he wanted to get a copy of his CRBA -- and he should, they're kind of cool! -- he can contact the State Department's vital records office: 

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/birth-abroad/replace-amend-CRBA.html

 

(they've even got a phone number)

 

 

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 Thank you so much for that information and link, SimplyMarvie! Dh’s dad worked at the consulate when dh was born, actually. 

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On 3/5/2019 at 11:21 AM, mlbcruiser said:

Good info. For some who may read this thread, Sparks 1093. In my dh’s case, he isn’t a naturalized citizen. His parents were US citizens, born in the United Ststes. His father worked for the US State Dept. in a European country and my husband was born in that country as a US citizen. His family moved back to the US when he was 5.  All through his life the birth certificate was accepted, including when he went into the military and for a passport. As long as he never loses his passport ( knock on wood!). We plan to renew both of our’s this year.  I wonder if there is any reason to be concerned about obtaining any other document in it’s place, if a photo copy of a passport can be used to obtain a new one if the original is lost. If his parents ever had a document from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, it was never given to  him. 

 

WOW, if his father worked for the State Department, he REALLY should have known about the Consular Report of Birth abroad.

 

 

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No doubt he did. Since he passed away unexpectedly when my dh was a teen, it would have been in my dh’s mom’s possession. She passed away when my dh was in the military. Her sister handled the estate since the sisters lived together at that time. While dh already had his birth certificate and never needed any other documentation to get a passport or for any other reeason, I assume someone misplaced it or threw it out at some point. You have to remember, the requirement to ha e it for such reasons has only been in effect since 2012 - a year after his last passport renewal. 

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14 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

No doubt he did. Since he passed away unexpectedly when my dh was a teen, it would have been in my dh’s mom’s possession. She passed away when my dh was in the military. Her sister handled the estate since the sisters lived together at that time. While dh already had his birth certificate and never needed any other documentation to get a passport or for any other reeason, I assume someone misplaced it or threw it out at some point. You have to remember, the requirement to ha e it for such reasons has only been in effect since 2012 - a year after his last passport renewal. 

 

Actually, he always really needed it, it was just that people were a bit more lax about it pre-9/11 and the changes since then.

 

But at this point, all he can do it apply to get a replacement.

 

 

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