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...

Josh Daniels
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.


A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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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 launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that 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.

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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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