Whether you’re on holiday or back home in the UK, losing your passport can be a true traveller’s nightmare. But our guide to replacing a lost passport will help you do everything you need to reclaim your identity and get on your way again.
I’ve lost my passport. What do I do?
If you lose your passport before you go on holiday, the first thing to do is report it to the Passport Office. You can do this quickly and easily online, where you have to fill out a simple form. If you would rather talk to someone to report your lost passport, call 0905 801 7202. Don’t worry if you can’t remember your passport number – the Passport Office will be able to help.
How to replace a lost passport
As soon as you have reported your lost passport, you can apply for a replacement. If you don’t plan to travel for at least four weeks, the best option is to pick up an application form from your local Post Office or use our Passport Check & Send service and we’ll help you ensure you get your application right the first time, without having to send further applications.
It takes an average of three weeks to get your passport using this standard service, but it can take six weeks or longer during the peak summer months, so give yourself plenty of time before you plan to travel.
What if I need my passport sooner?
If you have an overseas trip booked that’s shorter than a month away, you’ll need to use the Fast Track service. This involves attending an appointment at a Passport Office (you can choose between Belfast, Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport or Peterborough), where you’ll need to hand in:
- A completed application form
- Two valid passport photos
- Any supporting documents.
You’re guaranteed to receive your new passport in seven days but these appointments get booked up quickly – especially in peak season – so book one as soon as possible.
Can I use the one-day Premium Service?
Unfortunately, while a simple renewal can be done in a day, a lost passport cannot be replaced using the Passport Office’s one-day Premium Service. There are a couple of exceptions, but only in extreme circumstances such as a medical emergency or if you have suffered a bereavement. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact the Passport Office directly.
What if I lose my passport on holiday?
If you lose your passport while abroad don't panic, the process of replacing it or getting an emergency passport is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to fill out the online form LS01, putting in as much detail as possible, then send or take the completed form to the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. If you don’t know where these are in the country you’re in, the full list can be found here.
If you don’t need to travel urgently, you can apply and receive a new passport from abroad, but this can take time – up to six weeks in some countries. If you have urgent travel plans, such as a return flight ticket that can’t be moved or refunded, you can apply for an emergency passport. You will need to visit the local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate and provide proof of your travel plans, but in most cases you should be able to receive an emergency passport on the same day. This document will only get you back to the UK, and as soon as you get home you’ll need to apply for a new passport.
If your passport is stolen, either in the UK or abroad, you should report it stolen to the Passport Office as soon as possible. You should also report it to the local police and ask for a written police report. You may need to provide this to the British Embassy when applying for a new passport or to your travel insurer if you wish to claim for the expense involved in changing your travel plans.
Remember to always take a copy of your passport when you go away, or leave one with a family member in the UK – it will make proving your identity and getting a new passport much easier.
If you lose your passport before your trip or even while you're away, your travel insurance policy provider may be able to help you with some of your costs. If you're not already insured, then take a look at our travel insurance policy so that we can help keep you protected on your travels.