A guide to lost and stolen passports

Just under 400,000 UK passports are reported lost or stolen each year, according to the Home Office. Read our guide on what you should do if you need to replace your passport abroad...

Just under 400,000 UK passports are reported lost or stolen each year, according to the Home Office. Read our guide on what you should do if you need to replace your passport abroad...

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
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Posted 19 NOVEMBER 2019

What happens if you lose your UK passport abroad?

If you lose your British passport or have it stolen, you must report it straight away. Firstly, you’ll need to report it missing to the Home Office. This is to reduce the risk of someone using your passport or identity. All lost and stolen passports can be reported online.

Secondly, find your nearest police station and file a report. This will be essential for travel insurance purposes, and you may need a case number to give to the local British embassy or consulate.

Once a passport is reported as lost or stolen, HM Passport Office will cancel it and notify the Crime Agency within 24 hours. HM Passport Office advise people to treat a lost passport with the same urgency as they would a lost bank card.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

How do I replace my passport if I’m abroad?

If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you can apply for an emergency travel document. This allows you to travel to your destination through a maximum of five countries. The countries and dates you’re travelling to will be printed on your emergency travel document. If your travel plans change, then you’ll need to apply for a new one.

To be eligible to apply you must be a British national. You must also be abroad with proof of your travel plans and unable to replace your passport before you travel.

How do I apply for an emergency travel document?

You can apply for an emergency travel document online after you’ve reported your passport as stolen or lost. This will cost £100 and is non-refundable.

It’s likely you’ll need to visit the British embassy, high commission or consulate. If you’ve applied online you’ll be notified of where your appointment will be. If you can’t apply online, then go straight to the British embassy or consulate with your relevant documents.

An emergency travel document will normally be ready for you to collect two working days after your appointment.

What documents do I need to replace a lost or stolen passport?

If you’re applying for an emergency travel document or urgent passport, you’ll need:

  • Two identical passport photos You’ll need to bring these with you to the British embassy or consulate.
  • Identification This can be a driver’s licence.
  • Evidence of UK citizenship This can be a birth certificate or photocopy of your passport. It’s a good idea to carry a photocopy with you in case of an emergency.
  • Proof of travel This can include a train or plane ticket. (This is only applicable for an emergency travel document).

How do I replace my passport in the UK?

If you’re in the UK and you urgently need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, you’ll need to use the 1 week Fast Track service. If you’re outside the UK you cannot get an urgent passport.

You’ll need to complete an application form from the Post Office. Then you’ll have to book an appointment with the passport office online and pay a fee of £142.

The urgent passport service is only for those looking to travel within three weeks.

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Most travel insurance policies will provide some cover for the costs of getting an emergency travel document. Travel insurance can also provide financial protection against the cost of medical care, theft and other potential losses.

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