How To Replace And Store Vital Documents

People who have misplaced their vital documents or had them stolen know how difficult it is to replace them. While the actual process is not so difficult in many cases. all of the footwork involved can make it seem like a real chore. If you are in this situation, whether this has happened to you before or this is the first time, here is some advice that will help you understand how to obtain replacements and how to keep them safe once you have them in hand.


It is a huge deal when you lose a document that is needed to travel out of the country, especially if you are someone who leaves often for personal and business reasons. The good thing is that replacing it is not as complicated as it probably sounds. The main reason that people believe that this is a hassle is because there is no way to apply on the Web. You will have to take time out of your schedule to apply in person. Here are all of the things you need to bring with you when replacing this document:

– Form DS-64, which is a statement offering details about about the missing passport and how it was lost or stolen.

– Form DS-11, which is an application for a new passport

– Proof that you were born in the United States

– A current ID

– A photo for your passport

– Fees (It is $110 for the book and $30 for the card itself)

Keep in mind that you are able to pay for the fees using a credit card, money order, gift card with a Visa or Mastercard logo, check or cash.

You should also consider having your entire Social Security number changed if the original card was stolen. If a scammer gains access to the number, they can use it to open new accounts and ruin your credit. By letting someone know that it was stolen and applying for a new number, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Not only will you have a new number, but no one will be able to open new accounts with the old number since it will be invalidated.

This will not erase all of the history you have had with the prior number. You will still be totally responsible for anything that happened before the day that you reported the card was missing. This is why it is essential that you let someone know as soon as you notice it is gone.

Social Security Cards

These are a bit easier to apply for since you will not have to provide a great deal of documentation. As with the passports, you can go to the Social Security office in person in order to obtain a replacement. There is no need to make an appointment; it is as simple as showing up and waiting in line until your number is called. You can get a social security card application online here.

There is a form, the SS-5, you will need to fill out in order to apply for a replacement card. You will also have to provide proof of citizenship, age and identity. For most, it is as easy as bringing along your state ID or driver’s license and a copy of your birth certificate. Once you provide all of this, you will be sent a replacement card in the mail. It typically takes 1-2 weeks to receive this.

Birth Certificates

You can typically obtain one of these by going to the vital records department in the city and state you were born in. There is no need to make an appointment. You can go there at any time when the office if open. This is actually one of the easiest to obtain because the only proof you will need to provide is a state-issued ID. In the event that you do not have one, you can have one or both of your parents notarize a letter on your behalf. The exact rules on that vary by state, so you will need to verify what is true in your area.

If you are trying to get a copy of your birth certificate and you are not in the same state you were born in, things are a bit trickier. In this case, most people head to a third-party website in order to handle these transactions. There are some impostors, so you will need to be careful when providing this information. You do not want to open yourself to becoming a victim of identity theft.

Storing Your Documents

One huge mistake that many people make is carrying all of these documents around with them when there is no need to do so. Ideally, you should only have them on your person in the event that they are needed right away. Other than that, you should keep them safe at home. If you live with others, it would be wise to place them in a place that no one else will have access to, like a hidden area of your bedroom or a locked box.

Passports are useful to have for traveling, but this does not mean that you should carry it on you while you are spending time in your destination city. As soon as you reach your hotel, you should place it in the safe. Make sure that the code you select is not one that can be guessed easily. In addition, if you are not confident that this is a secure option, you should consider talking to one of the staff at the front desk and asking them if it would be okay to leave your items in the hotel safe.

Losing your vital documents may make you feel like it is the end of the world, but it isn’t. Use all that you have learned here to replace any documents that were lost or stolen. You should also make it a point to focus on the way that you store them since this will help prevent any issues in the future.