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Lost or stolen passports

What can you do if your passport is lost or stolen?

5 min read
Updated: 16 Aug 2023

A lost or stolen passport is more common than you might think. This is what to do if it happens to you: how to get a new one and make a claim on your travel insurance

If you lose your passport while you’re abroad, or you are unlucky enough to have it stolen, there are a couple of things you should do straight away:

  • Cancel your passport: Report your missing passport to the Home Office immediately to reduce the risk of someone using your passport or identity

  • Report your missing passport to local police: If you think your passport has been stolen, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. You may need a crime reference number to give to the local British embassy or consulate, as well as to make a claim on your travel insurance

How do you replace your passport abroad?

If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you can apply for an emergency travel document, which allows you to travel to your destination through a maximum of five countries.

The countries and dates you are travelling will be printed on your emergency travel document. If your travel plans to change, you need to apply for a new document. You can apply for an emergency travel document if all the following criteria apply:

  • You’re a British national

  • You’re outside the UK

  • Your passport has been lost, stolen, damaged, is full, has recently expired, is with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy

  • You do not have time to renew or replace your passport before you travel

  • You can provide proof of your travel plans, for example booking confirmations, or detailed written travel plans if you cannot book ahead

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How do you apply for an emergency travel document?

An emergency travel document costs a non-refundable £100 and can be applied for online.

You will likely be given an appointment to visit the British embassy, high commission or consulate. Your emergency travel document will usually be available for collection in two working days.

If you’re not travelling imminently, you can apply for a new passport when you are abroad. However, the replacement will have a higher price than in the UK, and will take slightly longer to get to you, so unless you are on a long trip it might not be feasible.

What documents do you need to replace a lost or stolen passport?

If you’re applying for an emergency travel document, you’ll need:

  • A recent passport-quality photo

  • Details from your original passport (it’s a good idea to keep a scan of it to hand)

  • Any proof of your travel plans, such as booking confirmations

  • A police report or crime number if your passport has been stolen

Does travel insurance cover a lost or stolen passport?

Most travel insurance policies cover lost and stolen passports, or at least cover the cost of the replacements.

If you do lose your passport , the insurance provider will sometimes waive the excess claim fee. This isn’t always the case, so it is worth checking.

Sometimes, travel insurance will cover costs like additional flights or extra nights in a hotel while you wait for your emergency travel document. This can be in place of or as well as the replacement fees – so make sure to read the small print.

What if I lost my UK passport before going away?

If you’re at home and urgently need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, you can use the 1-week Fast Track service.

You’ll need to complete an application form at the Post Office. Then you’ll have to book an appointment with the passport office online and pay a fee of £155 for most adult passports.

The urgent passport service is only for those looking to travel within three weeks and is only available if you are in the UK.

Compare travel insurance

It’s always worth getting travel insurance, and most insurance policies will cover lost and stolen passports, or at least they will cover the cost of the replacements. Travel insurance can also provide financial protection against the cost of medical care, theft and other potential losses.

It’s always a good idea to shop around before you take out a policy. Comparing policies on MoneySuperMarket is simple - all you need to do is give a few details about where you’re going, how long you’re away for, and any pre-existing conditions you might have.

Then you’ll be able to browse and filter results depending on the provider, the level of cover they provide for medical costs, baggage and cancellation fees, as well as their Defaqto rating. This tells you what other customers have said about the policy and can help you find the best ones on offer.

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