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What To Do If You Lose Your U.S. Passport In Cancun

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If you lose your passport while traveling in Cancun, Mexico, it is important to take immediate steps to secure a replacement. Losing a passport can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming experience, but it’s essential to stay calm and take action quickly. Your passport is your proof of identity and legal citizenship while in a foreign country. It allows you to cross international borders safely and access your country’s embassy and consulate. 

USA Passport on a beach in the sand

Unfortunately, accidents may happen during a vacation. Just this week, a fire broke out in Tortugas Hotel on Holbox Island, about 6 miles from the northeastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Some of the affected guests are international tourists coming from the United States and other European countries who were devastated by the loss of their personal documents. 

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, you are in for some good news! Thankfully, whether your passport was misplaced, stolen, or in this case, destroyed by fire, there is a way to acquire a passport to get you home. 

The following are seven steps that you can do immediately after losing your passport. 

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entrance to the Embassy of the United States of America

1. Contact The U.S. Embassy Or Consulate In Cancun

The main U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City, while nine consulates general and nine consular agencies are distributed in several parts of Mexico, including Cancun. To report a lost passport, you can contact any one of these offices. The complete list, together with their contact numbers and addresses, is found on the official website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico. 

(U.S. Consular Agency Cancun, 12 Boulevard Kukulcan, Cancun, 77500, Mexico)

If you’re in Cancun and need to report an emergency, you are advised to contact the U.S. Consulate General in Merida from Mexico. Otherwise, you may contact the U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun via telephone or online contact form

When talking to the officer, tell them the details of how the passport got lost and the schedule of your return flight. The latter is important so the consulate agency may issue an emergency passport with limited validity if needed. If your phone is one of the lost or stolen items, you can always reach out to local authorities to help you contact the consulate. 

Close-up of male's hand filling report claim form on clipboard outdoors

2. File A Police Report In Cancun

Although only optional, filing a police report is recommended, especially if your passport and other documents were stolen. This should protect you in case the robber attempts to steal your identity. On the other hand, if your passport was misplaced or destroyed, this step is no longer necessary. 

3. Take Passport Photos

Having a passport photo ready before visiting the consulate can help speed up the process of acquiring a new passport. Several photo booths are available in Cancun that cover tourist events. Surely, they can also take your picture and provide a printed copy cut into the U.S.-style 2-inch square passport photo. A detailed guide on passport photos is found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website

Woman cutting and sizing passport photos in a photographic studio on a small portable guillotine in a close up view of her hands

4. Complete The Application Form And Set An Appointment

The majority of the requirements are accomplished in this step. First, go to the online Passport Navigator. This friendly guide contains a link where you can generate a barcoded application form (DS-11). Aside from basic information, you also need your Social Security Number. For lost and stolen passports, you need to fill out another form (DS-64) to describe the circumstances. After completing the forms, print them and bring them to your appointment. 

The next thing you need to do is to schedule an appointment online by selecting your preferred appointment location and time slot. Take note that if you are a group, each individual needs their own schedule. If your flight is happening soon, you may request an urgent appointment. You must explain the nature of your emergency for them to respond to your request. If your flight is scheduled within the next three days, they will contact you within one business day. It is also important to know that they are closed on holidays. 

building of United States Embassy in Mexico with American flag floating on sunny day

5. Visit The U.S. Embassy Or Consulate

On the day of your appointment, arrive at the embassy or consulate on time since each slot only is only allotted 30 minutes. You should have the following requirements ready to avoid any cancelation of your appointment:

  • A completed application form (DS-11)
  • Statement on lost or stolen passports (DS-64) (if applicable)
  • Police report, if available
  • Passport photo (2 x 2 inches)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (original and photocopy)
  • Physical government-issued photo ID (original and photocopy)

Since your passport was lost, you may present a U.S. birth certificate as proof of citizenship. For identification, you may check out the complete list of primary and secondary IDs accepted for passport application. 

Important: For emergency passports, you also need to bring proof of a paid return flight to the U.S. and an itinerary. 

A traveling woman's hand holding a blue American passport with some money inside while wearing business clothes outside on a sunny day

6. Pay The Fees

For regular U.S. passports for adults, the application fee is $160 valid for 10 years, which includes a passport book and card. However, if you are a victim of theft or disaster, the fee may be waived, and you will be issued a limited-validity passport. You can pay the fees once you return home and replace it with a regular passport. 

7. Receive Your Emergency Passport

Normally, the renewal of U.S. passports takes between four and six weeks. However, if you are renewing your passport from Mexico because of theft or an accident, this waiting period is significantly less. If your flight is scheduled within the next three days, you will be issued a temporary emergency passport within 24 hours. Once home, you may have this replaced for a fully valid passport. 



Renewing your U.S. passport in Mexico is not as complicated as it may seem. In the event of an emergency such as theft or disaster, you can follow these steps to acquire a temporary emergency passport so you can return home and receive your regular-validity passport. Proper preparation is key for the smooth processing of this application process.
With this list, you can start the process of getting your new passport quickly so that you’re ready for your next adventure. It’s always helpful to keep photocopies of important documents like IDs, birth certificates, and passport photos with you when you travel in case something happens. That way, if anything does come up, you’ll be prepared and won’t have to worry about it while enjoying your vacation in beautiful Cancun.

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My friend is trapped in Cancun

Sunday 4th of December 2022

1. Please extend the part-time counselate hours to a full-time schedule, and open on Saturdays. Currently it closes before 2 pm and is closed weekends and holidays. When arriving Friday, and being mugged Friday afternoon, I must wait in a vulnerable state without ID until Monday morning, or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday. And, how do I travel from hotel to counselate safely without money or ID or phone or papers after being targeted, hurt, and mugged??

2. Please post a weekly statistical incident report of agency activities to the xancun agency website and also a link to cancun police activity statistics to the cancun agency website so that we tourists may follow the precise number of mugging, passport applications, and assaults occurring in the area. This tranparent practice is normative in the USA, informs travel and relocation plans, and keeps us safe.

3. Please provide a post-office box at the counselate for American tourists to rent, for reception of documents and replacement phone devices. As a tourst, without a permanent address here, I have no way to receive my papers from from my family, to replace the papers that have been stolen. For this reason and more, I become vulnerable to trafficking, cartel kidnapping, family extortion, and more. Please bring the USA back into the USA Cancun agency.

Thank you for helping to improve the safe keeping of tourists.


Sunday 4th of December 2022

Have been tempted to make this same comment in the past, but today’s article on Emergency Passport replacement has prompted me to do so. This article in particular constantly instructs people to contact and/or go to USA offices in Mexico or USA organization websites should a passport be lost. This information is confusing - USA offices or websites will be of no help to tourists visiting from other countries such as Canada. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists from countries OTHER than the U S A. They would need to get in touch with the offices or websites that represent their own country - not USA in order to get assistance with replacing a lost passport. It would be helpful if such articles were re-worded to “the country of origin” rather than USA. It may be obvious to some people, but others may be new travellers from countries other than USA, and totally unaware of what is required.


Sunday 4th of December 2022

This is a killer article. I always have a fear of losing my passport. I feel better now that I know I can do something about it. Thank you