Lost and Found: Replacing Important Personal Documents

Important personal documents, like passports, birth and marriage certificates and Social Security cards, often are necessary for you and your family to access a number of government benefits and services. When those records are lost, stolen or damaged, youíll need to find copies and replacements.

Passport
A lost or stolen passport should be reported immediately to the U.S. State Department at 1-877-487-2778. Youíll need to submit forms DS-11 and DS-64 in person at a passport agency or acceptance facility. If you find your passport after reporting it lost, return it to the State Department; you wonít be able to use it to travel. If you lose your passport overseas, contact the local U.S. embassy or consulate. Find more information at www.travel.state.gov/passport/lost/lost_848.html.

Life Event Certificates
Birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates are state records. To obtain a copy, contact the state office where the life event occurred. A complete list of state and territory offices is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm.

Social Security Card
If you know your Social Security number, you may not need to replace your Social Security card if itís lost. You can collect Social Security benefits, get a job and apply for many government benefits and services with only your number. If you want to replace the card, mail or take documents that prove your identity (a current driverís license or U.S. passport) and citizenship (U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport) to a local Social Security office.

Military Service Records
Copies of military service records typically are necessary to apply for government programs available for veterans, including health care, retirement or education benefits. The National Archives stores copies of all veteransí services records. Apply online to receive a copy of yours or an immediate family memberís if they are deceased. You can also replace lost military medals and awards. Go to www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.

These vital records and others, such as tax returns and school records, can be replaced. A complete list of tips on how to obtain all your personal records is available at www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Family-Issues/Vital-Docs.

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