That “oh no” feeling when it dawns on you that you’ve left your passport at home while you’re en route to the airport is bad enough; losing or having your passport stolen on holiday is something we all completely dread.
But it happens. (Tip: always bring a couple of copies of your passport with you, one of them stored in a separate place, and you might want to keep one at home, too).
Passports are left in plane seat pockets, on counters and in the most unlikely places, so if the worst has happened and you find yourself passport-less abroad, here’s your guide to getting a replacement to get you home at the end of your holiday.
1. Report the theft or loss to the local police – you’ll need a police report.
You’re going to need this report for insurance purposes and also to obtain a replacement travel document. However, some police authorities will not issue a report for lost passports so you need to demonstrate that you have at least tried to report the loss.
2. Contact the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
Check their contact details and address in the Travel Advice section of the Foreign Office website. You’ll be asked to complete an LS01 form to cancel the lost passport – it’s best to do this as soon as possible to avoid the risk of identity theft, don’t wait until you apply for a new passport.
3. Apply for an emergency travel document.
Immediately apply for your emergency travel document during office hours, and have some money ready, you’ll need to pay a fee for this special travel document.
Occasionally, documents can be issued out of hours but it’s very rare and an hourly call-out fee is charged along with the fee for the document. If you need emergency travel documentation you will need to show up and apply in person.
If your whole family is travelling and you have all had your documents stolen, then you will all need your own emergency travel document – yes, including babies and children.
Before travelling, make some extra copies of important documents such as travel insurance, your tickets and passports. You can also store copies online and retrieve them if you need them. If you find yourself in the situation of needing an emergency passport, you’ll be glad you did this!