What to do if I lose my UK passport?

Have you ever been in a situation where you planned your whole trip to the smallest detail but yet whilst being on your most well-prepared trip in all the hustle and bustle and in the chaos of all the things you brought with you, all of a sudden you realize that you lost your passport but yet you have to urgently travel in the next six weeks.


You need a digital photo code to apply for a UK passport online

For online and printout passport photo for any country, please click here

Sounds crazy, right? But still such situations can occur when you are abroad. That’s why we have to know what to do in these situations so keep reading and find out how to cope with such situations easily and get a new passport as quickly as possible in order to get to our final destination!

What is the first thing that I need to do if I lost my UK passport while I am abroad?

First things first, the best you could do the very first moment you find out that your passport is missing is to go immediately to the nearest police station and report it.

We advise you not to delay this action even for a moment for two reasons. First, because that’s how you increase your chances of finding it quickly and without the need to start procedures before the competent authorities. For example, someone might realize that you lost it a bit earlier before you by finding it and already reporting it before the competent authorities. This way, you will find it easy and fast and you want have to go through the whole procedure of issuing a new one.

The second reason is that you might need the police report in order to get a new one.

Can I still travel if I lost my passport while I am abroad?

And now let’s focus on probably the most important question when it comes to a situation in which not only did we realize that our passport is missing, but we also have to travel soon and the first thing that comes to our mind is whether we can still travel if we lost it or not.

The answer to that question, which might surprise some of you, is that you can actually still travel if your passport is missing regardless of whether your final destination will be to return to the United Kingdom or your upcoming trip is planned to another country. There is, however, one mandatory requirement – you have to have an emergency travel document. It will allow you to travel abroad even though your passport is missing. However, you should keep in mind that your emergency travel document will only give you a maximum of five countries which you can visit with it. You should also have in mind that if you already apply for it but now you need to make changes in your travel plans, you will have to apply for another one since the emergency travel document contains your travel itinerary in detail. So if, for example, you’re your trip’s final destination changes from France to Italy for one or another reason, you will have to go through the whole procedure of applying once again by informing the competent authorities for the changes in your plan.

What is more, you should not be surprised if your trip’s final destination is back in the United Kingdom and when you arrive, the border official retain your emergency travel document. That’s because once you are back in the United Kingdom, you will have to apply for a new passport as fast as possible.

You should also not be surprised if your final destination is outside the United Kingdom and yet the immigration official there still retains your emergency travel document. That’s also perfectly fine, too.

Even though that’s a bit of a limited option since you have the five countries, the change of plans and the retain on the border requirements, that’s actually the fastest way to replace your lost UK passport if you are abroad.

What mandatory requirements do I have to meet in order to be able to successfully apply for an emergency travel document?

Since we already answered the most important question of whether we can still travel or not if we lost our passport, let’s now focus on the other specifics that this procedure and the document itself have.

In order to apply for an emergency travel document, one must meet the following requirements. Otherwise, the probability of successfully obtaining such a document is negative.

Besides from what we have already mentioned above, you have to be a British national – otherwise, chances of being able to apply for an emergency travel document if you have never held a UK passport before are not high and you will probably have to wait until you can apply for an actual passport. You have to have had a valid UK passport in the last 10 years.

Another requirement we emphasize on is that you have to be outside the UK in order to apply for such a document.

Your travel plans must be within no more than six weeks.

You must be prevented by one way or another from being able to renew or replace your UK passport in the country you are currently located before you travel.

You need a digital photo code to apply for a UK passport online

For online and printout passport photo for any country, please click here

I haven’t had a valid UK passport for the last ten years. However, I have a really serious reason for my trip. Are there any exceptions from the procedure that can apply here?

Of course, as always, there are exceptions from what’s established – there might be exceptional circumstances that can soften the requirements of the procedure.

On the government's official site, there is an exemplary and non - exhaustive listing of hypotheses that are considered as exceptional circumstances. Some of them may include situations such as an unexpected earlier birth of your child, your wish to attend the funeral or see a seriously ill relative or, for example, you need to travel in order to access a special medical treatment. The reason for your trip must be precisely of the essence of the mentioned above. It must be crucial and urgent. You do not fall under the exception to the established requirements if your trip is related to job interviews, vacations, weddings, family gatherings and any other celebrations or events of this type.

However, in order to go through the whole procedure successfully if you don’t meet all the specific requirements but yet you have some serious reasons for your trip, you will have to provide the necessary evidence for the specific case.

We also emphasize that any emerging hypothesis that occurs is subject to individual analysis in its entirety with the arguments and evidence presented to it. That means that no concrete answer can be given to the question of whether two persons’ identical or similar hypotheses would proceed in the same way and therefore give the same results - successful acquisition of the emergency travel passport or the refusal to issue it. That’s because each application is assessed on a case by case basis independently according to the surrounding circumstances and evidence. 

What must have happened to my passport in order to have the right to benefit from the issuance of an emergency travel document?

It is good to mention also that this procedure of getting an emergency travel document applies in hypotheses in which you lost it, had it stolen, it is full or it has recently expired and also if it is with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy.

How fast can I get my emergency travel document?

Usually the issuance of such a document takes about two working days. However, it might take a little more if you don’t submit all required in advance.

What do you need to apply for an emergency travel document?

In order to flawlessly prepare the necessary things you will need to submit for the procedure in advance, the next paragraph will focus on what you need in order to apply for an emergency travel document.

You will need:

·        A valid digital passport photo that meets the guidelines and has not been used in A previous passport;

·        A contact telephone number;

·        An email address;

·        A debit or credit card to pay the fee 

How much does it cost to get an emergency travel document?

It costs £100. Keep in mind that you cannot get a refund even if you fail to pass through the procedure and get it successfully.

Now that I got to my final destination and I have my emergency travel passport retained by the competent authorities what do I have to do?

As we already mentioned the competent authorities will probably retain your emergency travel document once you reach your final destination no matter whether that is the United Kingdom or not. That’s because you need to apply for a new passport as fast as possible. You must apply for a new one according to the procedures for renewal of a UK passport which are subject to another article which you can check if needed.



You need a digital photo code to apply for a UK passport online

For online and printout passport photo for any country, please click here