The bottom line is, losing your passport sucks! There isn’t really any other way to look at it. While I didn’t let it ruin my amazing New Year’s weekend in Bangkok, in the back of my head I still knew it was something that I was going to have to deal. I was stressed and anxious the first couple of days hoping and praying that it would turn up. I drove myself insane constantly replaying my whole day of travel in my head trying to think where I could have possibly lost it. After all hope was lost and the reality set in that I was never going to see my passport, work permit, apartment keys, Thai bank card, or the 5000 baht ever again, I started trying to replace all of my things.
If you lose your passport in Thailand, here is what you need to do:
1. Call your parents and have them mail you your birth certificate.
You have to have this to apply for a new passport. It took mine 2 weeks to get to Thailand from America, so I regret not contacted my dad immediately!
2. File a police report.
You can go to any local police station. It took me a maximum of 10 minutes. I went to the station closest to my hostel and told the person at the front desk, “passport stolen” and the man pointed me to an officer. The guy barely spoke English and it was still extremely easy (relative to Thailand!). He just had me write down all of my information and then filled out the report that was written in Thai. Do NOT call the tourist police. They are the most unhelpful people I have ever talked to in Thailand! I called them to ask a few questions on where to file a police report and to see if by chance someone had turned in an American passport. They were extremely rude and in the middle of me asking my second question, they hung up on me!
3. Go to the U.S. Embassy website.
There are very clear instructions on everything you need to do and have to get a new passport. Fill out the an application for a new passport (DS-11) and explain how your passport was lost/stolen (DS-64). Then print them off and bring both forms to your appointment. If you can’t get access to a printer then you can technically fill the forms out at the Embassy it just makes the process longer! You have to apply in person Monday-Friday to get a new passport. This caused me to miss a day of school, but luckily it was easy for me to make up my classes!
Make sure you read all of the information regarding what you need to bring to your appointment and also what you can’t bring. Make sure you don’t bring a big purse or any electronics besides a cellphone. You even have to check that into security during you appointment. My appointment went fairly smooth and took about 1.5 hours. I had to get passport pictures taken there. The website says it costs 120 baht, but it actually costs 150. It is a machine that does not give change so I ended up having to pay 200 baht. To pay for your new passport you can pay in baht or with a debit/credit card. I paid with my American Visa debit card and I do not believe I was charged any extra fees. It costs $135 USD to get a new passport.
5. Pick up your passport from the Embassy.
It says the process time is 2 weeks, but I was emailed exactly 1 week after I applied. You also have the option to have them mail it to you. If you can prove that you have immediate travel plans, they will issue you an emergency passport within 1-2 days. Basically you pay for a new passport and they just give you a temporary one and then you have 1 year to change it to a real passport for no additional fees.
Like I said, this was a fairly smooth process. I am going to pick up my passport in a few days and once I get there I am going to figure how I can transfer my Non B visa to my new passport.