Too many travellers have seen their travel plans turned upside when their passport have gone missing. You can’t get too far without it so keep this post handy if you need to know how to get a new passport, renew your old one and obtain emergency travel documents.
In order to prove your identity when you cross a border, it’s essential to carry a valid passport. Losing or getting your passport stolen while abroad is one of the most common travel fears. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.
Renewing or Replacing Your Old Passport
There’s a huge amount of information out there advising travellers on how to get a new passport. To make things simple, everything you need to know is on one site: gov.uk.
- Where to apply: pick up an application form from a Post Office that offers the Passport Check & Send service; call the Passport Adviceline to get a paper form sent out to you; or apply online on the gov.uk website.
- Price: £72.50, or £82.25 if you apply through the Post Office’s Passport Check & Send service
- Validity: 10 years
- Processing times: 3 weeks for a renewal
Some countries won’t accept your passport if it’s going to expire within three months of your planned departure from that country. So you may need to renew your passport even before you buy your flight tickets. Any time left on your passport is simply added to your new one (up to a maximum of 9 months) so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Passport processing times can vary and while gov.uk says it can take as little as 3 weeks to get your new passport, it can take significantly longer if you apply at busy times such as lead up to the school holidays (particularly over summer!).
Need Your Passport Urgently?
It’s a travellers worst nightmare: you’re about to leave on an epic adventure and you realise your passport has expired or gone missing! Not only is this an embarrassing situation… it’s a common one. Plenty of travellers missed their flights and holidays because of a misplaced or expired passport.
If you need your passport within a day or up to a week then you can book an appointment at a Passport Customer Service Centre to get one last minute. This can only be done from within the UK. The premium service, which gets you your passport within four hours of your application being accepted, will set you back £128 while the fast track service, gets you your passport within a week, will set you back £103. Make sure to show up with a completed application form, 2 passport photos and all supporting documents to be sure of a quick process.
What If Your Passport Goes Missing Abroad?
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, one of the first things you’ll need to is report it. The next step is getting a replacement. If you need to get a passport really, really quickly and there isn’t enough time to get a replacement passport, it’s possible to apply for an Emergency Travel Document. This document lets you leave the country you’re in and travel to your destination via a maximum of 5 countries. You can apply online and will then need to attend an appointment at the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate.
- Cost: £100
- Processing time: usually the same day!
- Validity: only for the journey and length of time specified in your application
- What to bring: A passport quality photo; proof of your travel plans; your passport (if you’re applying because it’s expired); a police report (if your passport was stolen)
In almost all cases if you apply for an emergency travel document from abroad it means that your previous passport has been stolen. It’s not likely you’ll get it back and once you return to the UK it’ll be your responsibility to apply for a new one.
Have you ever lost your passport abroad or had it stolen? Tell us your travel tales!