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...

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
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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.


Following new restrictions implemented on 5 January 2021, you can only travel internationally or within the UK if you're legally permitted to do so while the UK is under full lockdown restrictions.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. See latest FCDO advice for further information.

Any insurance policy purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the local authority, or the FCDO, has instructed citizens not to travel, will not be valid.

For more information, please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.

Until then, stay safe.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has also launched on its Money Advice Service website 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 the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

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.

Compare travel insurance

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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