A man who has lost his passport at the airport

Help! I’ve lost my passport!

Going abroad for a holiday used to be a purely summer treat. However with lower airfares and more choice of airlines, it’s common to pop abroad even just for a weekend. No matter how long the trip is, there is one common factor in all of this – your passport. But with over 400,000 passports going missing each year, you might find yourself in what could be the worst gameshow ever: “Help! I’ve lost my passport – get me out of here!”

What to do if you lose your passport before travelling

If you haven’t set foot out your front door yet but can’t find your passport, there are a few options. First of all though, make sure you report your passport as lost. You can’t get a replacement until you have done so. 

You can apply online for a replacement passport. However this could take up to three weeks, which isn’t very useful if you are heading on your trip before then. If you are looking to replace a lost or stolen passport (rather than renew one), you need to use a passport Fast Track Service. This takes around a week. It’s generally not possible to get a replacement sooner, unless you have extenuating circumstances, like a medical emergency. 

If you would like to speak to someone about your passport application, you can call the passport advice line on 0300 222 0000.

lady who has lost her passport

Have you lost your passport whilst abroad?

Losing your passport whilst abroad can be scary, but knowing what to do can make things a little easier. 

You will need to apply for an emergency travel document. This will help you get back home to the UK. The countries and dates of travel for your itinerary will be printed on this document, so make sure these don’t change. If they do, then you will have to re-apply for another emergency travel document. 

It normally takes 2 working days for this document to be available. It costs £100 and it’s possible you might need to visit your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. This video below, whilst focused on Spanish tourists, gives a good outline of what you will need to do wherever you are:

Here is a link where you can find a British embassy, high commission or consulate wherever you are.

Passports are changing!

Now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU, there have been a number of changes in how we go abroad. Rules are liable to change and new laws on travel can come into effect over the next few years. This could include a change in regulations on passports, driving abroad, EHIC cards (now more commonly GHIC cards), pet passports and more. The most visible change will be passport colours, with new UK passports changing from burgundy to blue. Don’t worry – all valid passports, whatever colour they are, will be accepted abroad. 

So if you are shouting “Help! I’ve lost my passport!” then hopefully this guide will have helped. You can find out a bit more about how travelling abroad may change in 2021 here, and you can read more about freedom of movement after Brexit here

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