Guatemalan passport found - what to do?


June 2, 2005, 03:46 PM
Last evening, my wife and I found what is presumably a Guatemalan passport on the sidewalk of a main street.

It looks new, and it has an issue date of May 24, 2005 - last Tuesday - so it is VERY new. Another odd thing about it is that it has no entry stamp, or stamps of any kind, inside the passport. Hmmm.

I could call the cops, and I guess it would be handled properly, but I thought this might be an occasion to find out about the "new age" of immigration/homeland security, etc. and try another avenue. (Plus, I wondered if passports are supposed to have entry stamps in them)

I called USCIS (the new INS) and got a bunch of unrelated prompts which got me nowhere. Then I called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who told me to call the USCIS local office, which said to call between 1 and 4 (it was about 3:00 then) - no answer. I then called the local FBI office, who gave me another number for the local USCIS office. This time I got to leave a message!

SO... what do you guys think? Should I just call the cops and be done with it (though I am curious, and would like my curiousity satisfied), or do you have some other avenue you think I should pursue?


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June 2, 2005, 03:54 PM
Toss it in a mailbox and be done with it. It wouldn't have an enrty stamp if it is a) replacement issued by the local embassy to a foriegner ...or b) fake.

June 2, 2005, 03:55 PM
I hear Guatemala City is nice this time of year :).

Ditto dropping it in a mailbox if the CIS people won't answer the phone.

Just my .02,

June 2, 2005, 04:02 PM
If you really really want to get their consulate's office in Chicago. They have responsibility for Ohio. INS is our want the Guatamalans.

June 2, 2005, 04:06 PM
Yep, I would like to get "involved" if that means finding out about entry stamps.

I am also interested in seeing how/when our government agencies work. Let me tell you, it is not easy to find a non-police phone number where you can get to a person about a matter such as this.


June 2, 2005, 04:14 PM

Chicago, Illinois

Mr. Gustavo López
Consul General
203 N. Wabash Avenue #910
Chicago, IL. 60601
Tel (312) 332-1587
Fax (312) 332-4256

Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Dakota.

June 2, 2005, 04:18 PM
keep it - never know when it might come in handy (assuming you could ever look anytihing like the guatamalen in question?)

June 2, 2005, 04:18 PM
HMMM sounds strange, no entry stamp? any stamps at all? IF...again is a valid passport....someone is going nuts without it... if it is not a valid passport.....the law needs this info.... post office passport ceter, police dept, FBI, customs, would all be god bets....if it was a local, who lost it....they will be looking local.... get it into the system....for your sake, and theirs. an ice burg looks small from above water...below it's another story....get it into the system.

June 2, 2005, 04:21 PM
Thanks for the contact info. I was going to look it up but got sidetracked.

I will post the results of my call.


June 2, 2005, 04:29 PM
I called the consulate office in Chicago, who asked that I return it to them. I am still awaiting a call from the local USCIS office.

My propensity at the moment is to give it to the local police, along with a letter regarding the strange nature of the passport, and the consulate address.

I would really like to find out how it came to be with no stamp, though.


June 2, 2005, 04:32 PM
An 'In country' issue of a new passport will not have any stamps. The embassy/consulate would know if they issued a new passport to someone, but they are unlikely to tell you anything.
The same thing would happen if you were in London and lost your passport. The US Embassy would issue a new passport and it would (of course) be 'clean'.

June 2, 2005, 05:42 PM
I'd send it back to the Consulate in Chicago.

We lost (actually they were stolen) passports in France and had to have new ones issued...they had no entry stamps and were 'clean' as well.

If I'm not mistaken, that passport is the property of the gov't of Guatemala - I'd send it back and be done with it.

June 2, 2005, 09:17 PM
Thanks to everyone for their input. I have decided that if I do not hear from USCIS by early tomorrow I am going to send it back to the consulate. I am also going to give a copy to the local police along with the address I sent it to.


June 2, 2005, 09:20 PM
now that your in the mix of this question...send it back registered mail...this way, your hands will be officially clean.... might mean nothing...might mean allot.

June 3, 2005, 12:18 AM
send it back registered mail...this way, your hands will be officially clean.... might mean nothing...might mean allot.


June 3, 2005, 01:10 AM
In Japan, a new passport from the U.S. embassy is clean except the one stamp they put in there on the date of issue, to cover the exit half of the equation.

Why wouldn't they do it here? (because ICE does not give a rip?)

And Japan's immigration laws are hard core....

Bill in SD

June 3, 2005, 03:50 AM
Its quite possible that the passport belongs to a resident who applied for a replacement which would explain the lack of an entry stamp. Even a naturalized US citizen can still obtain a passport from their home country, such a thing can be usefull depending on where one intends on traveling.

June 3, 2005, 07:30 AM
I don't have my passport available, but somewhere in the first few pages it should say where it was issued (you may have to be able to read Spanish to figure this out). Mine was issued by the US Embassy in Macedonia, and IIRC is says that on the inside.

June 3, 2005, 10:12 AM
FYI - the passport does not indicate any place of issue.

I am in contact (over on GT) with a presumed LEO with the Customs and Border Patrol (what a maze of agencies) whom I may send it to.

I'll keep everyone posted.


June 3, 2005, 01:27 PM
So instead of sending it to the Guatemalan embassy, you're going to send it to some guy you met on the Internet?

And consider this:

Which is harder to fake, a 30 page document with a pleather cover, holograms, and watermarked multicolored paper, or a RUBBER STAMP? I'm pretty sure anyone sophisticated enough to forge an entire passport could wrap his head around cutting a potato and dipping it in some ink. Just a thought. I think you want this to be some giant conspiracy when all it really is is some poor guy who's going to have to buy a replacement passport for the second time in two weeks.

June 3, 2005, 02:18 PM
Dang! I wish I'd seen this yesterday.

The US Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security is tasked with investigating passport and visa fraud. They can tell you the right thing to do with the passport you found.

DS Field Office List (

June 3, 2005, 02:28 PM
Your moral obligation is to send it to the Consulate in Chicago right away.

Highland Ranger
June 3, 2005, 02:57 PM
"moral obligation"

tad strong no?

June 3, 2005, 03:15 PM
Well...he found somethingthat clearly belongs to someone else. I think he has a moral obligation to give it to the authority best equipped to get it back in the correct hands. As a bonus, if it is somehow fake, the authority is also best equipped to know that and deal with it.

June 3, 2005, 03:24 PM
I think the first reply gave the best advice.

June 3, 2005, 03:24 PM
Send it to the consulate.

June 3, 2005, 03:26 PM
Send it to the consulate.

I agree - it is, after all, their property.

June 3, 2005, 03:41 PM
I think the first reply gave the best advice.

It didn't seem to "take"

June 3, 2005, 03:57 PM
Find the nearest grown up, and hand it over. Quickly.

It does not belong to you. You are not an INS investigator.

Maybe that was a bit harsh.?

Maybe a little.

I can understand your curiosity, but this isn't something to screw around with. You may end up getting yourself into some serious trouble.

June 4, 2005, 07:43 PM
It didn't seem to "take" 99% of the time, the K.I.S.S. principle points the way to the best solution . . . life is hard enough, but some folks seem to LIKE making things harder. :rolleyes:

June 5, 2005, 10:03 PM
Well, I heard from my Border Patrol contact. Looks like they will be getting it, and passing it on from there.

Thanks for the input and links.


Art Eatman
June 5, 2005, 11:32 PM
Case closed.

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