Losing a passport on foreign soil is every globetrotter’s nightmare. Thankfully, if you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to get back your British passport lost abroad.
While it’s a serious situation, you need to remember that it’s not the end of the world if it does happen to you. Just stay calm, take a deep breath and follow our advice…
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British Passport Lost Abroad: What to Do
1. Report it to the police
The moment you realise, “Yikes, I’ve lost my British passport!” you must go straight to the nearest local police station of the country you are in to file an incident report. This is crucial. Without an incident report, the British Embassy in whichever country you find yourself in will not issue you with a replacement.
If your travel insurance covers you for a lost passport, your provider will also need to see a police report to reimburse you for any costs incurred.
2. Get a New Passport Photo
Find a photo booth or pharmacy store where you can have new passport photos taken.
Your next step after this is to go to the nearest British Embassy to ask for a new passport – and arriving with a photo should help to speed up the process.
3. Head to the British Embassy
After you have spoken to the police and gotten a new passport headshot, you need to go to the nearest British Consulate or Embassy.
You will be required to complete an LS01 form to cancel your current passport and prevent identity theft. If you’re planning on leaving the country shortly to travel back to the UK, you’ll be issued with an emergency travel document to enable you to do so.
However, be aware that even getting this emergency document issued can still take a few days in the slowest of circumstances and will cost money.
4. Inform your Travel Insurance Provider
This can be done once you have returned to the UK.
You will be required to submit a travel insurance claim to recoup the cost of replacement documents up to the amount shown in your insurance policy.
Make sure you keep hold of your police report as evidence, as they will need this as proof of your British passport lost abroad.
Will I need an Emergency Passport?
It all depends on when you are due to travel back to the UK.
If your flight home leaves the same day or within a couple of days of when you lost your passport, it’s likely that an emergency travel document will be issued to you as soon as possible.
Again, you will need to locate your nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate and take the following items with you:
- A new or recent passport photo
- Your police report
- A completed emergency travel document form
- Proof of flights, booking confirmations and any travel plans
Emergency passports are usually supplied on the same day of the application but it will take longer if your situation appears complicated.
It’s important to remember that an emergency passport is not a long-term replacement and is only valid for the dates and destinations that are shown on your travel itinerary. You must apply for a new passport as soon as you return to the UK.
What to Do if Your Child’s Passport is Lost Abroad
The same steps we’ve already mentioned above will apply if your child loses their British passport abroad — but there are a few extra documents that you will need to provide when you arrive at the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
If you need to apply for a passport on behalf of a child who is under the age of 16, you will need the following in addition to the documents above:
- All parents passports
- Documentation to prove you are the parents (for instance, a birth certificate)
- Photocopies of the passport photo page of all parents
- Written proof from all parents that they agree to the passport application
The rules are stricter with children under the age of 16 as they are unable to give consent for themselves, and there needs to be a clear paper trail to rule out any kidnapping or custody disputes.
Every year, thousands of holidaymakers utter those dreaded words, “I’ve lost my British passport!” If that’s you this year, make sure you follow the steps above and you’ll find the process much less hassle.
Featured image is by Chris Fleming (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)