What do you do when your Passport with Valid US Visa stamp is lost while you are in the USA? That’s exactly what happened to a couple of students on F1 Visa while they were studying in the USA.
Hi, my room got robbed all my educational certificates, passport, SSN, everything are lost. Can anyone please suggest me how to proceed further for the passport and visa stamps.
It’s unfortunate to get things robbed. Now, he has to go through the process of getting a new passport and getting Degree Certificates back. Another reader wanted to know about Visa stamp in the lost passport.
I am a regular follower of your blog. I do read all the topics posted and I thank you for directing me in my American dream. I am right now in US doing my masters program. Recently I lost my passport with USA visa. I have got my passport applying it at the Indian consulate in United States. I was wondering how to apply for the lost visa(F1). I know that I have to apply it from my home country, India. But can you throw a light on the process of it? Is it the same as applying the new visa?
I am sorry to hear you lost your passport. Someone in this situation should consider taking the following steps:
- Report his lost passport to the police. Ensure he has a copy of the report for his records as he will likely need it at the embassy later.
- Apply for a new passport immediately.
- File a Form 102, Application for Replacement/Initial Non-immigrant Arrival-Departure Document (or I-94). (When the new automated I-94 rule is implemented at the end of April 2013, obtaining a replacement I-94 will hopefully be instantaneous).
- He should then take the above, and current school information to his home country embassy to obtain a new visa.
The procedure is likely similar to how the first visa was obtained. It is important to note that there is always a risk of the embassy denying a visa. However, should the background check clear, one should expect to get a visa again.
Tahmina Watson is an immigration attorney and founder of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle, Washington.
So, that was the answer from Immigration Attorney. I’m sure you are going to have additional questions. Here’s a few more I can think of.
1. What precaution should I were to run into similar issues?
Always have scanned copies of all your immigration documents accessible via a cloud drive. After every time I re-enter USA with new entry, exit stamp on the passport, I would scan the page and update my online copy. It takes less than a few minutes of work, but saves a lot of time in future.
2. Should I leave the country immediately to get Visa Stamping?
According to this link from the University of Chicago, replacing lost and stolen documents
You do not need to have a visa when you are in lawful status in the U.S. A valid visa is required only for entering the U.S.
3. Should I inform the U.S. Embassy that issued my visa that my passport is lost or stolen?
According to Missouri State University’s information page on lost documents
Go to the Embassy Consular Section Website to locate the Fax number and contact information. Specifically state whether the visa was lost or stolen. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, and place of birth, address in the U.S., and an email address (if available). If you have a copy of the passport or visa, fax this to the Embassy or consular section. Otherwise, if known, report the category of visa and the passport number from the lost/stolen visa. If you have already reported your visa lost/stolen to the U.S. Embassy abroad, and then you later find your misplaced visa, please note that the visas will be invalid for future travel to the U.S, and you must apply in person at the Embassy or Consulate abroad for a new visa.
4. What to expect in the Visa Interview?
You may be applying for a visa for the same type or different type depending on when you chose to travel. For instance, if you are F1 Visa, lost your passport with F1 Visa. But, you decided to travel only after your status changes to H-1B or you may be visiting your home country after your new passport is issued and while you are in the same F1 Visa.
I would say interview for the same visa type would be as as first time interview and expect additional questions about lost or stolen passport. Take copies of previous passport, police report and other relevant documents.
While completing the DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa application, be sure to list the about previously lost or stolen passport.
5. All my documents got robbed. What should I do next?
First, you should stay calm. I understand that you have to go through a process to replace all the lost documents. Most documents that was issued within the U.S. can be replaced easily.
Make a complete list of documents you need to to replace. Arrange them in Priority Order. The passport should your first document you need to get it replaced. If you lost your I-20, then talk to your DSO to get a replacement copy. Then find the procedure to get back each document.
If you are a student from India, replacing the Degree Certificates is possible, but you may have to ask someone to visit the University (multiple times) on your behalf to get the documents replaced.
Based on my personal experience, I had to show my original degree certificate (Diploma) from my Bachelors degree only at the University to remove the conditional admission status. Since then I never had to show or send the original Indian documents anywhere. So, having a scanned copy will get you through for immediate needs, but in the long run, you have to get it replaced.
Over to You:
Have you lost passport and other document? What steps did you go through to get them back? If you have a checklist or procedure (with timeline), please share it with us, your experience will help others.