Two questions that get asked frequently on Australian Expat Facebook Communities are: “How do I renew my passport overseas?” and “What do I do with my US visa if I renew or replace my passport?”. Never fear, here are the answers!
What do I do with my US visa if I renew or replace my passport?
This question’s answers are divided into two different sections and they are very important. If you lost your passport, or if you still have it and just need a new one.
If you have LOST your passport
If your passport has been lost or stolen, you should immediately report it online or during business hours at the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate. You will also need to apply for a replacement passport in person at your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate. You can also phone the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.
If you know it was stolen, then you should also report it to the nearest police station and get documentation from them that you have reported it. This report should include a case number, your name, the date, and an officer’s number (or their location).
Now, onto the visa.
Lost or stolen U.S. visas cannot be replaced in the United States. For replacement of a visa, you must apply in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. When applying for the replacement of a visa, you will need to provide a written account documenting the loss of your passport and visa. Include a copy of the police report.
If you’re extra sure that you’ve lost your visa, then you do need to notify the embassy or location that issued the visa (details below) but a REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE first:
If you have already reported your visa lost/stolen to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and then you later find your misplaced visa, then your visa will be invalid for future travel to the United States. Therefore, in that situation you must apply for a new visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
If you’re ok with this, then to report your visa lost you can:
To report your visa lost or stolen, email the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the United States which issued your visa. Go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website to locate the email address and contact information. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, place of birth, address in the United States, and an e-mail address (if available). Specifically state whether the visa was lost or stolen. If you have a copy of the passport or visa, scan and email this to the embassy or consulate. Otherwise, if known, report the category of visa, and the passport number from the lost/stolen visa.
One important thing to know though is that you do not necessarily need to leave the country if you lose your visa. If your I-94 is still valid, then you are allowed to remain in the country, you just can’t re-enter. The visa is an entry document, the I-94 is your permission to stay.
If you have your old passport
If you do have your old passport with your visa in it, and the passport is still valid, then the process is actually quite simple. You need to renew your passport (details below) and then keep a hold of both your old passport with the valid visa in it AND your new passport (which won’t have a visa in it).
Holding both of these simultaneously and a quick explanation to the entrance officer, you should be fine to come and go as per normal.
How do I renew my passport overseas?
The Passports.gov.au website is the best resource going around for this particular step and basically guides you through everything you need to know.
If you are 18 or older, and your most recent Australian passport was issued when you were 16 or older and was valid for at least two years when issued, and that passport is still current or expired less than three years ago, you can renew your passport in a streamlined application process.
There are methods available if you need it express, but the best bet is to make sure you’ve got around 6 months validity on your existing passport and you won’t have any issues.
Throughout this process, be wary about traveling overseas, just because you don’t want any issues being flagged.