I had the ultimate travel nightmare when my passport was stolen during a trip abroad.  Here’s how I got a new one in less than 24 hours.

I had the ultimate travel nightmare when my passport was stolen during a trip abroad. Here’s how I got a new one in less than 24 hours.

American passport

I lately went by means of each traveler’s nightmare when my passport was stolen.Jeff McCollough/EyeEm/Getty Images

  • My passport was stolen during a latest trip to London.

  • I had to catch a flight days later and thought I was going to be stranded.

  • But I got an emergency appointment the subsequent day and acquired a new passport in less than 24 hours.

During a latest trip to London, I skilled each traveler’s ultimate nightmare when my backpack was stolen.

I was sitting on my buddy’s mattress, freaking out about my misplaced laptop computer. Then, I remembered what I had left inside the entrance pocket — one thing way more vital.

My US passport was gone.

It was simply after midnight on a Thursday. My buddy’s wedding ceremony in a tiny English countryside city — an hour and a half from London — was the subsequent day, and my flight to Spain was two days after that. Frantic ideas began to hurry by means of my head. I was positive I’d miss my flight, the wedding ceremony, or each.

Somehow, although, all of it labored out. Here’s how I got an emergency passport as quick as potential.

My first step was to contact the US Embassy in London

US Embassy in London

You can solely get a new US passport in London with an in-person appointment at the embassy.Mike Kemp / Contributor/Getty Images

It sounds simple, however this step was truly fairly irritating, particularly when you feel confused and panicked.

You cannot simply rush straight to the US Embassy and get an emergency passport, which I had hoped to do the day earlier than my buddy’s wedding ceremony. First, it’s important to get an appointment.

According to the US Embassy web site, you’ll be able to solely request an emergency passport if it is no less than 5 working days earlier than an “pressing abroad travel date.” Since it was a Thursday and my flight was on Sunday, I knew I certified.

Then I had to fill out a web-based utility, which required my primary info together with the date, time, vacation spot, and flight quantity for my trip to Spain.

I despatched my utility off by 10 am that Thursday, however the web site wasn’t precisely encouraging.

“Once now we have acquired this info, we’ll then advise additional, however please bear in mind that this will take a number of days as we overview different US residents with equally pressing travel requests,” it learn.

I frantically known as the quantity listed for the embassy, ​​however everybody I spoke to mentioned it was unlikely I’d get an appointment earlier than the weekend. One girl informed me that “fairly a few Americans” had misplaced their passports the night time earlier than.

Since the US Embassy in London is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, my trip to Spain appeared increasingly more unlikely. So I hopped on a prepare to the Cotswolds, the place my buddy’s wedding ceremony was happening, and tried to overlook about it. It was out of my arms till I got an appointment.

But 4 hours after submitting my utility, I acquired a new e-mail from the US Embassy: I had an appointment the very subsequent day at 9 am

I ready as a lot as I may to expedite my emergency passport appointment

I wanted to take a 6 am prepare to London for my embassy appointment, then had to catch the 12:50 pm prepare again to the Cotswolds in order to make my buddy’s 3 pm wedding ceremony ceremony — a daunting job.

I had no thought how lengthy it sometimes takes to get a new passport, however I knew I had no time to waste. So I printed and crammed out the required paperwork listed on the US Embassy web site, which included:

I additionally wanted a passport {photograph}. While there’s a picture sales space at the US Embassy in London, the web site states “we can not assure that these will probably be operational,” which didn’t sound promising. But I was in a position to get my varieties printed and my picture taken due to the very type folks at Cotswold Pharmacy in Northleach.

I additionally printed out copies of my beginning certificates and stolen passport, and introduced a copy of the police report I had filed for my stolen backpack.

My US Embassy appointment was lengthy however pretty seamless

US Embassy in London

The US Embassy in London.Mike Kemp/Contributor/Getty Images

After a prepare journey, two tube adjustments, and a brief stroll, I lastly made it to the US Embassy in London. The constructing’s trendy design jogged my memory of rippling waves, or these little cups bartenders use to measure pictures for cocktails.

I arrived 20 minutes early for my 9 am appointment and was allowed to stroll inside instantly. I then checked in at the entrance desk and was assigned a quantity — my identification for the remainder of the day.

I rode an elevator to the prime ground, which was particularly designated for US residents, and located a seat. The house was giant, clear, and vibrant, with a little café by the elevator promoting espresso, tea, chips, and pastries. The ground was nonetheless pretty empty when I arrived, and it was straightforward to overhear snippets of individuals buying and selling their very own tales of misplaced and stolen passports. Others had been frantically making an attempt to rebook the flights they may not board. As the day went on, the room grew to become so packed that there have been a few chairs left to take a seat on.

About 40 minutes after I checked in, my quantity got known as to a window. I handed over my paperwork and was then requested to point out my US driver’s license. Since I nonetheless had my license readily available, the girl mentioned I did not want to point out my beginning certificates (that is nonetheless listed as a requirement for the US passport utility, so I’d carry it simply in case).

Then I was informed my quantity can be known as to pay the $135 utility payment. I was elated! This was going so quick, how lengthy may it actually take to pay for one thing? Well, undoubtedly longer than I anticipated.

Around 40 minutes later, I heard my quantity and sprinted over to offer the clerk my bank card. My eyes had been on the clock — this was going to be shut.

My quantity got known as once more 20 minutes after I paid, and this time I was summoned to a room as a substitute of a window. A lady with an American accent requested me to take a temporary oath, swearing I had been sincere in my utility. She then stamped a few issues and mentioned my passport was being printed.

“Do you understand how lengthy it will take?” I requested.

“Everyone all the time asks me that, and I all the time inform them the identical factor,” she replied. “I don’t know.”

Anneta passport

My new passport is legitimate for the subsequent yr.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Forty minutes later, I lastly had my new emergency passport. I was knowledgeable it could be legitimate for the subsequent yr and given varieties explaining how to resume it again in the US. It was simply after 12:10 pm The total course of, not together with travel time, had taken practically three and a half hours.

After a mad sprint by means of a number of tube stations, I made it simply in time for my 12:50 pm prepare and got to see my stunning buddy Sophie tie the knot. Two days later, I was on my flight to Spain with zero issues.

Anneta in Spain

I appreciated the sights of Mallorca much more after my 24-hour passport disaster.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Overall, I was actually stunned by how environment friendly the embassy was — I was shocked you would get an emergency appointment and a new passport inside 24 hours. I additionally knew I was extraordinarily fortunate — as fortunate as you could be in a scenario like this — to have misplaced my passport in a main European metropolis with a close by US embassy, ​​and the means to pay for a new one on the spot.

It’s been a loopy summer time of travel for everybody. If you are caught in a horrible scenario and want some recommendation, or a little calm, I hope this helps you out — even simply a little.

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