Possibly the only thing worse than losing one important document is losing them all at once.
We don’t often think about the documents we need to prove identity, but it can lead to major headaches when they’re missing.
If you’re in this situation, don’t panic. You may need to allow some time, especially during the pandemic, but there are easy ways to replace those lost records.
There may be fees for replacing your documents, but most entities will waive fees if the documents were lost due to a natural disaster.
In this post, we’re going to cover how to replace some of the most commonly lost records easily.
Birth or death certificate
You can request a birth or death certificate online or in-person with the vital records department in the state you were born. Allow six to eight weeks for your new birth certificate to arrive.
Social Security Card
As long as you don’t need to make any changes, it’s easier than ever to replace your social security card. In most states (with the exception of Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and West Virginia), you can apply to replace your social security card online. In order to use the online service, you must be a U.S. citizen aged 18 or older with a valid U.S. address. All you’ll need is a valid U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID card. If you’ve also lost your driver’s license, you can still apply for a social security card with your birth certificate. You just won’t be able to do it online.
The exact process to replace your driver’s license may vary by state, but you can easily renew online in most states. It’s as simple as creating an account and ordering a replacement card. There will most likely be a fee associated with the service, but it’s fast and easy.
Marriage license or divorce decree
For a copy of your marriage license, you’ll need to contact the county clerk in the county where you got married. For a divorce decree, contact the district clerk.
Replacing a lost passport is much easier than getting a new one. So if you already had a valid passport that you’ve misplaced, the next part is (relatively) easy. First, you’ll need to report your passport stolen. You can do this online, by phone, or by mail. Next, you’ll need a replacement. In most cases, you’ll either need to apply for a replacement at a passport agency or passport acceptance facility. If you happen to be outside of the United States when you lose your passport, contact the nearest U.S. embassy right away.
Losing important records can be extremely stressful because of the time and hassle of replacing them. But these days, you can replace most records with relative ease online.
If you’re traveling out of the country, be sure to visit the nearest U.S. embassy before you do anything else. You may need these documents to return home, so time is of the essence.
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