What To Do If You Lose Your Passport

Losing your passport can be a very worrying experience, particularly if you have a holiday on the horizon, or even worse, you’re already abroad. 

The good news is that it can be a fairly simple problem to remedy and while it may take a little time, a new passport can be secured in a matter of days, in the most urgent of cases. 

It will cost you a fair bit more to skip the queue though, so it’s always worth opting for the slightly longer route if you have time before you travel.

In the vast majority of cases, passports are lost rather than stolen, but in both instances, you should always report it immediately. Even a lost passport can end up in the wrong hands and provide a criminal with a great deal of the vital information they need to steal your identity.

Research shows that 330,000 UK citizens that lose their passport on an annual basis!

It also shows that:

  • Since 2018, an average of 5.6m domestic and overseas applications are made each year by UK citizens for new passports, or to renew, replace, update or extend existing ones.
  • At the same time, an average of 337,601 UK passports are reported as lost or stolen each year. With an online application costing £75.50, that’s a huge £25.5m spent on replacing lost and stolen passports each and every year. 
  • The good news is that a survey commissioned by Credas found that 65% of people misplaced their passport themselves, with just 35% stating that it was stolen. 
  • This means you’re much more likely to suffer a passport mishap through your own negligence, rather than someone attempting to steal it for potential identity theft or other criminal activities.
  • For 66%, their passport parted ways with them while they were still in the UK meaning they didn’t have the additional headache of trying to replace it in order to return home from a foreign country. 
  • Only 31% of those surveyed also stated they had to opt for a fast track service or to obtain emergency travel documents due to either being abroad, or because they were due to travel in the near future. 
  • For 91% of those that did, their new passport arrived on time and prior to their next travel arrangements. 
  • However, perhaps worryingly, a third of those who lost their passport or had it stolen did not report it or cancel their passport with the UK police and the authorities in the location in which they lost it. 

As we approach the holiday season and many of us prepare to head abroad, what should you do if you lose your passport?

  • Always report and cancel it immediately. Once this is done you can apply for a replacement but you won’t be able to unless you have, meaning failing to do so will delay gaining a replacement. 
  • If you think your passport has been stolen, you should also report it to the police. 
  • It can take up to six weeks, sometimes more, to obtain a new passport, so if you’re travelling sooner, you may want to pay for a fast track service. This requires attending an appointment at a Passport Office, with your passport usually arriving a week later.
  • Opting for a fast track service will cost you £142 for an adult passport compared to £75.50 when applying through the usual (non-urgent) online process. 
  • If abroad when you misplace your passport, report it to the local police as well as the UK authorities and make sure you obtain a written police report when doing so. This may need to be presented to the British Embassy, as well as acting as proof if you make a claim on your travel insurance.
  • If you are returning to the UK within six weeks, you can apply for an emergency travel document. This will allow you to travel to your destination through a maximum of five other countries.
  • Once you reach the UK, border staff will then take possession of your emergency travel document. 
  • This document will usually be ready in as little as two days after you apply, but again, it will cost you £100 for the pleasure. 

Read more: 8 Lessons You Learn From Travelling the World

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