Three of us entered Canada yesterday for a 5 night stay, and obviously showed passports to Canadian immigration. One of the three (not me!) lost their passport on day 2 (Wednesday). Do we need to leave him in Canada, or is there something we should do?

  • 23
    Ken (the dummy who lost his passport) swore it was lost. I just searched his jacket myself, and it was in his jacket sleeve. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 2:57
  • 27
    I was just going to suggest "look really really hard for it" as a first step. Glad it's resolved! Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 2:59
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    This was answered again and again: US citizens can not be denied entry to the USA, the only problem might be an airline denying boarding.
    – user4188
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 5:18
  • 9
    @chx the problem then becomes proving you're a US citizen if you have no document that's a valid ID for the purpose of proving you're a US citizen.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 8:46
  • 10
    Why not just emigrate?
    – SQB
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 10:00

3 Answers 3


Since this is a Q&A site, I'll answer on the original question, a lost and not-found-again passport.

Report the loss or theft of the document to the local police.

  • They will point you to the lost property office in case there was a honest finder.
  • They will list your document as lost so it is harder to abuse.

Next, report the loss or theft to your embassy or consulate.

  • They will get you a replacement document to travel home.
  • They will list your document as lost in their own databases so it is harder to abuse.
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    The above answer is as universal as it gets. 1) notify local law enforcement. 2) contact your home country diplomatic representation. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 13:53
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    What if the country where you are (on vacation), does not have an embassy or consulate for your home country? Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 9:26
  • @StephanBijzitter Then you should look up which embassy provides such services. Usually it's embassy in the nearest country. Anyway, you should check that before going to a country without embassy of your home.
    – Mołot
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 10:07
  • @StephanBijzitter, if you are an EU citizen, go to any EU embassy or consulate in a pinch.
    – o.m.
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 16:11

is there something we should do?

You have done the sensible thing and it worked.

Do we need to leave him in Canada?

No. Had you not found his passport and unless sneaking in he would have faced a lengthy detention at the border but would eventually have been allowed back in, provided he or people for him could assemble enough documentation to prove his identity without a current passport.

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    It would be foolish not to report a lost passport to the police.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 7:07
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    @pnuts That is absurd. Don't police in the UK handle lost property? If I lost my watch, would they charge me for wasting their time? If not, why would a passport be different? Because it is legally the property of the issuing government? Would they charge me if I reported that I had lost someone else's watch?
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 14:40
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    @pnuts I'm pretty sure a passport is not property in this sense. To start with it doesn't belong to you, it belongs to your government. Then there's the potential use of a stolen or found passport by terrorists or criminals, so the police darned well ought to be informed and at least tell you who you should report it to.
    – nigel222
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 14:53
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    @pnuts I daresay a significant proportion of passports lost in the UK are not British passports. Some of the countries issuing these passports require that you report loss of the passport to the police. The idea that British police would lay charges against someone trying to do that is preposterous, and a suggestion that they might is an excellent example of the kind of misinformation that this site is trying to counteract.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 15:33
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    @pnuts really not risky - I've reported a lost wallet before, they're happy to accept.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 20:34

To be a little more specific than @o.m. (not a laywer, not legal advice) and for future SE reference ...

Please refer to the US Dept of State website Lost or Stolen Passports Abroad.

Similar steps are outlined for foreigners losing travel documents while visiting the United States.

As with the US advisory, reporting lost documents to to the local (foreign) police service is prudent and may even get you your lost documents back if found. Do this as soon as you are certain it is missing to protect against identity theft. Reporting the document found later may potentially expose you to some, but less grief than if someone steals your identity and you never reported it missing! If staying at a hotel, reporting a lost passport to the Hotel Management may help as well.

As an honest Canadian (is there another kind), if I found a Passport I would most likely turn it over to the local police or RCMP, unless there was a local US consular office or US Consulate. Even then, I'd probably still hand over to the police to pass along given the current tensions in US foreign relations (less grief).

I don't believe the US nor Canada Border Services can deny entry to an inbound national, but the lack of a passport document may make air travel nearly impossible (airline rules and risk of fines, not the law), but you can use a land crossing.

Once at an entry point, the challenge is proving to Border Services you are who you claim to be. That's where the local police report and backup documentation (Identification, Evidence of U.S. citizenship, Travel Itinerary) come into play. You may be subject to extensive examination and possible detention until they verify your identity to their satisfaction.

ps: There's no legal requirement to carry your passport on your person while within Canada; just some identification. Keep your travel documents, airline tickets, etc. safe.

  • "but the lack of a passport document may make air travel nearly impossible" However (since the OP is returning from Canada to the US), most flights from Canada to the US go through preclearance in Canada, and in that case it's not that different a land crossing.
    – user102008
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 22:26
  • Correct, but in order to get to the pre-clearance, you must get through the airline ticket counter and the airline agent will refuse if you can not produce a passport. That's the rules the airlines follow in order to avoid getting massive fines.
    – Ian W
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 3:26
  • In many airlines you can check-in online. And there is no reason an airline would be fined, as a preclearance flight is the same as a domestic flight -- a person who cannot enter wouldn't make it to the flight in the first place, and a person would never need to be "flown back". Airlines that have online check-in don't check passports at the gate on preclearance flights like they do for non-preclarance international flights.
    – user102008
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 3:34

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