Has your passport gone missing, been stolen or become damaged? Whether you need to travel urgently or otherwise, here’s clear advice on what you need to do next - in line with the latest advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
It’s completely natural to panic when your passport goes missing or is damaged. But try to stay calm. Although it’s inconvenient, there are simple steps you can follow to either obtain a replacement passport or get an emergency travel document that enables you to return back to the UK from abroad.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Was your passport stolen?
Whether you are in the UK or abroad, if you suspect your passport was stolen it’s essential to inform the local police. This is your first priority.
Cancel your passport
The second step is to cancel your passport. If your passport has been lost or stolen in the UK, you can cancel it online. This is the fastest way.
If your passport was lost or stolen overseas (outside the UK) you need to complete the LS01 form. Download it here. You can either print it out and complete it in block capitals or fill in the form online.
Once the form is complete, send it to your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. Find your nearest here.
Are you in the UK?
If your application is non-urgent, use the standard passport renewal service.
Are you abroad?
If you are abroad and need to travel urgently, you can apply for an emergency travel document. To be eligible, all of the following must apply:
- you’re a British national
- you’re outside the UK
- your passport has been lost, stolen, damaged, is full, has recently expired or is with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy
- you need to travel urgently
- you can provide proof of your travel plans (such as flight booking confirmations) or detailed written travel plans if you haven’t booked ahead
If you meet all of those criteria you can apply for an emergency travel document here.
However if you are overseas but don’t need to travel urgently, you should use the service for overseas British passport applications.
What’s the application process for an emergency travel document?
You will then be asked to attend an appointment at your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate.
For this appointment it’s essential that you bring:
- a recent passport-quality photo
- proof of your travel plans (such as flight booking confirmations) or detailed written travel plans if you haven’t booked ahead
- your passport or a photocopy of the picture page (if you have it)
- a police report if your passport has been stolen
If your application is successful you will in most cases receive your emergency travel document on the same day as your appointment. There’s a fee payable of £100. (Here at World First all of our travel insurance policies provide cover the cost of replacing passports that are lost or stolen.)
You can apply for an emergency travel document on behalf of somebody else as long as they are a British citizen, though the person in question must attend their appointment and collect their document in person.
What can you use an emergency travel document for?
Your emergency travel document can be used to travel to your destination through a maximum of five countries. Note that depending on the countries you are passing through, you may also need to apply for a visa. Ask about this during your appointment if you are unsure.
Your travel itinerary will be printed on your emergency travel document. Your document is valid for this itinerary only. If you change your travel plans, you will need to apply (and pay) for another emergency travel document.
If your final destination is the UK, border staff will keep your emergency travel document when you arrive.
What if you find your passport?
It might be a big relief to find your passport, but be careful. If you have already cancelled your passport it will no longer be valid. Unfortunately the cancellation process cannot be reversed. To protect against identity/passport fraud, you should still keep your original passport safe and secure.
Don’t go without us...
Lost, stolen and damaged passports cost UK travellers £5 million per year. Buy travel insurance with World First and you have cover for the costs associated with replacing your passport if it goes missing. Get an instant quote online at World-First.co.uk.