What to do when you lose a US passport in Singapore

The US Embassy website for Singapore is incomplete in that it doesn’t actually tell you everything you need to do in order to get out of the country legally. Also, the only information it provides about timeframe is that it will “take one to two weeks for passport renewal.” Note: that’s for regular passport renewal. You can actually get an emergency passport in about 24 hours if you need to leave the country more quickly.

The first thing you should do when you misplace your passport and need a new one in a hurry is to make an appointment at the US Embassy. If you manage to track the passport down, you can cancel the appointment online. The thing is, they’re usually booked a few days in advance, and they aren’t very good about answering phone calls or e-mail about lost passports, so if you go to the online appointment form and can’t get anything soon enough, your best bet might be going to the Embassy in person and trying to talk to someone. However, you might want to file your police report first, because otherwise they can’t process your paperwork and they may not even let you in the building.

IMG_0623It’s relatively painless to file the police report, and unlike the Embassy, police stations are open seven days a week. You can go to a neighborhood center, but they will want to see photo i.d. of some kind. If you have none, try to get a faxed or scanned copy from home. After filling out your report, the police will give you a sealed envelope with the mysterious instructions to take it to the Immigration authorities at the listed address. They will also give you an additional photocopy you will need for your passport renewal application.

Do not go to the Immigration authority until you have your emergency passport, however, because it will be a wasted trip. You will spend a long time there, and finally they will give you an official-looking page saying you need to come back within a few days with a US passport.

Instead, fill out form DS 11 and form DS-64 in advance and take them to your appointment (or your attempt to procure one). You’ll need one two-inch-by-two-inch passport photo and your copy of the police report. They also want photo i.d. and a photocopy, and a copy of your previous lost passport. If you have none of these, it’s best to go talk to someone at the Embassy.

Arrive ahead of time, because the security checkpoint can be slow. You may have to stand outside in the sun for a few minutes. You’ll have no problem getting in if you have the printout showing your appointment time. If you don’t have this appointment slip, my only recommendation is to bring whatever you have and try to explain the situation.

Your appointment is basically just an attempt to regulate how many people come in to the Embassy at any one time, because you still have to take a number and probably wait five or ten minutes. The more prepared you are, the quicker things will go once you sit down and start passing your papers through the window.

It will cost you US$135 for the passport renewal. The Embassy accepts major credit cards, and apparently has a method for temporarily waiving the cost if you’ve been robbed of everything, though you will be asked to pay when you return to the United States. It will take approximately a day for the emergency passport to be ready, and picking it up is pretty straightforward.

My advice once you have your emergency passport in hand is to walk down to the number 7 bus stop, which you can do by crossing the elevated pedestrian walkway just outside the US Embassy. The bus costs SIN$1.20 and you’ll need exact change. The number 7 bus will take you across the city to the Lavender bus stop/ MRT station, and if you get off there and take the pedestrian underpass, you’ll emerge right outside the Immigration authority at 10 Kallang road. Or you can take a taxi, which will cost about nine Singapore dollars. Go up to the fourth level of the Immigration building and present your passport and police paperwork; you’ll get a number and the instruction to go to a certain counter and wait for your number to be buzzed. Because that will take a few minutes, I suggest making a copy of your passport in the interim; there’s a copy center on level four. Apparently nobody tells you you’ll need one until you’ve already waited awhile.

The Immigration authority will file some internal paperwork and stamp your new passport. And then you should be good to go. Getting out of the country may require a few extra minutes, but getting back into the US appears to be easy. In fact, the agents nod sympathetically when they see you’ve lost your passport abroad.

3 thoughts on “What to do when you lose a US passport in Singapore

  1. Lost my passport in a Singapore club. Thanks so much. This was the best guide to getting me back on my feet in 13 hours.

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