I am an international student studying in South Carolina. I am planning to go to Los Angeles for a short trip.

I would like to know in case my Hong Kong passport is stolen or lost in LA, can I go back to my school in South Carolina by air or land? And how to start the replacement procedures in South Carolina?

Or I will be kept in LA until I get my passport replaced?

As I am going to LA alone, I need to get things well prepared. Thanks so much for your advice.

  • I'm confused. This question says you're planning to go to LA and asks what happens in case your passport is lost or stolen while you're there. Your other two questions, one asked before this and one after, say you already lost your passport. Aug 4 '18 at 3:37
  • Sorry to make you confused. I just want to jump to the point directly so that I wrote I have already lost my passport, because if I lose my passport in LA, sooner or later I need to face all these 3 questions.
    – Rositta
    Aug 4 '18 at 9:07

If you lose your passport or it's stolen in LA, your best bet would be to file a police report (to document the loss/theft and to have official proof of the situation, which is very important) and contact the Chinese Consulate in LA for assistance. They'll be the ones to get you a replacement passport. You can also call the Hong Kong Immigration Department's 24 hour hotline (scroll to the bottom) for advice and assistance.

This is actually much more convenient than if you were in South Carolina, as there is a Chinese Consulate in LA, but none in South Carolina.

Since your passport contains your US visa, you'll also want to report the loss/theft of your US visa to the State Department. You'll be able to remain in the US, but once you leave the country, you'll need to receive a new visa at a US Embassy or Consulate before you can return, just like you got one originally (you cannot get a new student visa from inside the US). You'll want to talk to the international studies office at your school as well, since you'll need paperwork from them for a new visa. You'll want to plan any future trips abroad around this, since you'll need an appointment and sufficient time to get a new visa, and you don't want to be stuck outside the US.

You can travel by land without your passport, though the ID requirements of any bus company or rental car company still apply. To travel by air, you need to show a TSA-approved form of ID. If you have a US driver's license or state ID (not a student ID), that's acceptable. Without an approved form of ID, you may be able to travel by air if you bring all the documents you can find (including the police report mentioned above) and undergo extra security screening, but this is at the discretion of the TSA; there's no guarantee you'll be allowed to fly under these circumstances.

If this happens, replacing your passport in LA is probably the best option, since you'll need to travel to a consulate for the replacement anyway, and there's already one there.

Have a great trip!

  • Thanks so much for your clear and detailed instructions for what to do. May I ask one more question, as you mentioned there is no Chinese consulate at South Carolina, is the nearest one in Washington DC? I can only find 6 Chinese consulates in the USA listed on its website, not sure if my understanding is correct?
    – Rositta
    Aug 3 '18 at 9:09
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    @Rositta Happy to help. That's right. The Chinese Embassy in Washington DC has "jurisdiction" over consular needs for South Carolina. But if your passport is lost or stolen in LA, you should contact the consulate in LA and/or the hotline immediately. It will be better to take care of it while you're right there than to worry about getting to DC without a passport or go some time without proper ID. Aug 3 '18 at 9:14
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    Note that his answer implies you can travel with your drivers lices\nse. Don't even take your passport to LA, so you can't lose it.
    – Aganju
    Aug 3 '18 at 11:56
  • I am not a US citizen, can I use drivers licence for travelling within US by air? Is it only the drivers licence issued by US Govt. can be used ? Can International drivers licence issued in Hong Kong be used ?
    – Rositta
    Aug 4 '18 at 9:11
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    Only a US or Canadian driver's license is accepted by TSA. A Hong Kong driver's license is not on the list of documents the accept. You could still bring it, and they may allow you to fly after extra security, but you're supposed to have one of the documents on the list. Again though, you most probably wouldn't want to leave LA without getting a replacement identity document at the consulate. It will be more difficult to resolve the problem if you go back to South Carolina, since the Chinese Consulate is right there in LA. Aug 4 '18 at 9:16

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