Missing Documents

Dealing with Missing Documents

Documents can help you get much needed assistance. But what do you do if you don’t have them, lost them, or they were destroyed? This page addresses some of those questions. If you are undocumented, there are details below in Spanish and English. You can also visit https://unitedwedream.org/resources/ for information and resources.

Replace Missing Documents


Contact your birth state or territory’s vital records office to get a certified copy of your birth certificate.

Contact your state motor vehicle agency for a replacement license or state ID card.

Visit the Social Security Administration website to replace your card online, by mail, or in person.

Request a replacement online with your my Social Security account. Or call 1-800-MEDICARE, (1-800-633-4227 TTY 1-877-486-2048).

Contact your state Medicaid office to get a replacement.U.S. passport

Report your lost or stolen passport to the State Department. Then request a replacement in person.

These should be saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container.

Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to replace your Green Card.

Report the missing card to your unit security officer. Then find an ID Card office and make an appointment.

Damaged Documents

Mold can be harmful. If it causes health problems, talk to a doctor or mold expert before handling it.

To stop mold from growing:

  • Keep things away from warm, humid places, still air, and darkness.
  • Dry wet and moldy things as soon as possible. If you can’t, freeze them until you can.

Active mold looks fuzzy or slimy. Don’t try to remove it; you might spread it. After freezing or drying, you can use sunlight for a short time to help kill the mold


Wet paper tears easily. Handle it gently. If it’s muddy, wear gloves. Rinse it in clear water if it’s safe.

Dry books, documents, or photos with air if you can’t do it in two days. Use fans to help, but don’t blow air right at them. Use absorbent material like paper towels or mattress pads. Screen material helps air circulate and dry things faster.

Magazines or art books can stick together. Dry them quickly. Separate glossy pages with wax paper.

Open books and stand them up. Put absorbent paper between the pages. Change it when it gets wet.

Lay them flat in small piles. Change the paper under them when it gets wet.

Handle photos and negatives carefully. Air dry them face up. Change the paper under them when it gets wet.

Take framed items apart if you can. If not, dry them with the glass down.

Some things might be too damaged to fix. Get help from a conservator for valuable items. For more help, call the American Institute for Conservation at 202-452-9545.

More information coming soon.

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