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What to do if you lose your passport

What to do if you lose your passport

Losing your passport is a relatively common occurrence, and happens to tens of thousands of Brits each year.

Whether you’ve had yours stolen, lost it on a boozy night out, or simply can’t find it anywhere, here’s what you should do:

Losing your passport while abroad

If you lose your passport and you’re already out of the country, you can obtain what’s called an ‘emergency passport’ without having to have a completely new one sent from the UK.

  1. Report the loss to the police – You’ll need a reference number from the police in order to be able to apply for an emergency passport.
  2. How much time do you have? – If it’s not urgent, you can apply online and it should take a few days to get an emergency replacement. If it is urgent, you’ll need to apply in person.
  3. Attend the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate – These aren’t usually hard to find in Western Europe or North America, but further afield you might have to travel a long distance. It’s best to check opening times before you arrive. Note that emergency passports are only usually issued during standard office hours.
  4. Take as much documentation as you can – Preferably have a photocopy of your passport when you go away, but if not, take as much evidence of who you are and your travel plans as possible, such as flight tickets.
  5. Fill in the forms – You might have to queue for a few hours, but you’ll be given the appropriate forms to complete (in English of course!) and told if you need a further appointment to discuss your application.
  6. Take passport photos – There are usually photo booths at the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate, or, to save time, take any photos you think are suitable with you.
  7. How long does it take? – You should get your emergency passport the same day.
  8. The cost – It currently costs £100.
  9. What if you subsequently find your lost passport? – It will have been cancelled, so present your emergency passport at border control.

Losing your passport while still in the UK

If you can’t find your passport and are yet to travel, your options are a little better.

  1. Complete an application – You can do this online or using forms from your local Post Office, or sent to you on application.
  2. How long will it take? – You have several options, depending on how much you want to pay (see point 3 below). A standard application takes three weeks, according to the government’s information site, If it’s your first passport, however, it can take six weeks. There’s also a one-week service, a two-day service and a same day service.
  3. What does it cost? – It currently costs £75.50 for a standard adult 32-page passport using the three-week service if you apply online, or £177 for the online 2-day premium service, and £177 for the same-day paper premium service.
  4. In an emergency – If it’s very urgent, you need to go for the same day ‘paper premium’ service. Be aware that you’ll need to attend a passport centre, and also, depending on the time you apply – after office hours, for example – your appointment might be the next day.

Can I claim on insurance?

Many travel insurance policies will cover you for a lost or stolen passport, and some will even cover extra costs incurred such as additional accommodation.

However, be aware that not all do, so check your policy agreement carefully if this of concern to you.


Policy Expert

Policy Expert is an insurance provider and broker, dedicated to helping customers find the insurance policy that’s right for them. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we’re driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.

Published 17 August 2018