"" Writer's Wanderings: Lost Passport - Welcome Home!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lost Passport - Welcome Home!

As our plane touched down  at Charlotte, NC, and taxied to the gate, our hearts were beginning to race again. How long would it take us to get through immigration and then what about TSA again without our grandson's lost passport? All our grandson had was a dive card with an old picture on it for identification. Amazing how much a boy can grow and change in three years.

We approached the immigration officer when it was our turn and thankfully he was one who wasn't gruff. He tried to look something up on his terminal when we explained our plight and then left to find another. He returned to tell us that he couldn't call up the information that Miami had from his terminal so we would have to go through a secondary check where they could. He marked our customs form with a big circle and X and sent us on our way.

After grabbing our luggage, we went through the customs line and the officer took us aside to the room where secondary checks are made for those with questionable customs forms and of course us, with a lost passport. It took just a few minutes and the officer had the information he needed to let us pass through. Only one more hurdle to go.

The luggage dropped off at the rechecking station, we made our way through to the TSA check. Bob explained again about the passport and we were passed through without a problem AND we were prechecked which meant we didn't have to empty backpacks and take off shoes. Quite a load was lifted as we grabbed our gear on the other side of the metal detector and headed for our departure gate.

We felt so good we even grabbed a couple of quick Quizno subs to eat on our short flight home.

"Can I text my mom?"
"No, we'll tell her when we see her tomorrow."

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind with your passport.

  • Keep a photocopy of your passport separate from where you keep your passport. A good place might be to email it to yourself. You can always get on a computer somewhere and download your email. We had photocopies of ours but neglected to get one of our grandson's.
  • Always keep your passport in a locked safe or with you. Never leave it out in a hotel room. Ours were always in the safe but there were times when we were in the unit but someone was in the bedroom making up the bed and the safe was unlocked. We do not know if it was stolen but if it was, that would have been the ideal time.
  • If you do find you've lost your passport or it was stolen, get a police report. It was the only thing that got us through it.
  • Keep your passport number on your phone. At least that is a place to start.
  • Carry a second form of photo ID like a driver's license or state ID card. If traveling with a minor check with your state to see if you can get a photo ID card through the DMV. 
  • Information about the steps to getting a replacement passport when you are out of the country can be obtained at this US Department of State s
    It will list the nearest embassy/consulate and tell you what you need.

Hopefully next time, we will be more wary of where are passports are at all times. While it went relatively smoothly, we are convinced that it would not have been quite to easy had it been the adult passport that was lost/stolen. Lesson learned.

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