What to Do if You Lose Your Passport Abroad

Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, exploring a new city, or teaching your first English language class, the location of your passport is probably the last thing on your mind. Losing your passport abroad is an inconvenience no-one wants, but it’s a reality that thousands of Brits deal with each year…

Step 1: Report it

To cancel a missing or stolen passport you must complete a LS01 form, which you can find online. Cancelling your passport is important to protect it from being used in crime. You should also report all stolen passports to local police as soon as possible. A police report and/or crime number will help you in your application for a new passport or Emergency Travel Document.

Step 2: Decide the best option for you

You can order a replacement passport abroad, but it takes the same 3-week period as it does in the UK. If you don’t have time to wait for a new passport you can apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). This is a temporary document which only covers agreed trips, e.g. your flight back home.

Step 3: Find the nearest British Embassy

Gov.UK provides a list of embassies around the world. Once you find your nearest British Embassy it’s a good idea to call them to check that the country you’re in accepts ETDs. You might also want to check that that Embassy can process an ETD application for you. Don’t worry if they can’t, they will advise you on who can.

Step 4: Apply & pay

You can apply and pay for an ETD online. It will cost £100 but with the right travel insurance you may be able to claim this back. If you can’t pay the fee, contact someone who can either transfer you the money or pay the Passport Office directly.

Step 5: Attend an appointment

After applying you will need to attend an appointment at the nearest British Embassy. If you’re not prompted to make an appointment at the end of your online application, you should contact the Embassy directly. Here’s what you need to bring:

  • A photocopy or photo of your passport if you have one.
  • All your travel details and plans, including travel confirmations and event tickets.
  • Any other ID you may have, such as a UK driving license.
  • If your passport was stolen bring the police report and crime number.
  • If you can, taking two passport photos with you will reduce processing time.

You should receive your ETD on the day of your appointment.

Step 6: You’re done!

Once you have your ETD you can go back to enjoying your holiday, but remember if your travel plans change you’ll have to buy another. You can travel to up to 5 (agreed) countries on an ETD, but remember that Visa rules may have changed now you do not have your passport, so check with each country separately. When you travel to the final destination on your ETD, for example home to the UK, border security will keep the document.

This process will vary slightly with each country. For country-specific advice and travel updates the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office have loads of online information.

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