The ins and outs of replacing a stolen passport abroad


I’m traveling with a friend who also lost a good deal of money and his credit cards when the thieves stole my bike. He also lost three passports — one each for his three nationalities.

He’s traveling on a Colombia passport in Chile but needs the U.S. passport to go home. I’m traveling strictly on my one-and-only passport from the U.S.

And so the process begins to get new documents… all the way in Santiago.

We have options: the U.S. embassy can print a limited validity emergency passport on site within one day. The $110 fee is the same for a regular 10-year passport (printed in the U.S.) that takes a week to 10 days. And the emergency passport can be redeemed within one year for a 10-year passport at no cost (provided it isn’t lost or stolen).

Traveling on a limited validity passport can be impossible if the destination country requires six months or more of passport validity for entry (Brazil for example). A limited validity passport will work for countries like Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. These countries only require a passport to be valid at the time of entry and for the length of the stay.

So, an emergency passport will suffice for me if I don’t go to Brazil. Otherwise, I can wait ten days for a full validity document to arrive from the U.S. I even have all the documents I need to prove my identity and pay for the new passport.

Replacing Federico’s Colombian passport will be more difficult. The Colombian website isn’t explicit on application requirements or time estimates.

Nevertheless, we are sticking this out together. Our hosts in Viña del Mar are super generous. For this we are grateful.

We are also incredibly grateful for the generous contributions coming in from friends and strangers via my website. This has been a very expensive loss for me that might still be more expensive as I try to repair the motorcycle.

I thank you all and will keep you posted on our progress!


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