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Lost passport abroad

Losing a passport can be one of the most stressful ordeals a traveller can face on holiday. In an instant, what was a quiet snooze on the beach or a relaxed evening out, descends into an anxious guessing game as you frantically retrace your steps in a desperate search for that lost passport abroad. If you can empathise with the situation above (maybe this even describes your current predicament) then have no fear! There is a simple solution to the problem as well as several measures you can take before and whilst travelling, to avoid losing your passport in future.

What to do when you've lost your passport abroad?

Here's what you need to do when you've lost your passport abroad...

  • Get a police report - Obtaining an accurate police report within the first 24 hours of the incident is very important. Head down to the nearest police station and report the missing passport.
  • Note the crime reference number - Be sure to get this when you report the incident at the police station, as you will need to include this to apply for emergency travel documents.
  • Fill out LSO1 notification form - These can be obtained at the embassy. Once filled out, the Embassy can then notify the relevant bodies. Click here to view the form.
  • Relax and wait - emergency travel documents often take less than a day to come through, but be prepared to change your travel arrangements, as this isn't always the case.
  • The travel documents act as a temporary replacement to your passport, allowing you to take your return journey. Upon arrival back into the UK, you should apply for a passport replacement as soon as possible.

    Lost passport abroad advice

    Getting a police report

    Though this may seem a little daunting - especially in a foreign country - it's absolutely vital to get a proper police report, both for insurance purposes and as a temporary substitute for ID. You should get yourself down to the nearest police station as soon as possible, as obtaining a report can sometimes take hours - especially if you don't speak the local language. As well as reporting the details of the incident to be recorded, you should make sure you obtain the crime reference number as you will need this when applying for emergency travel documents.

    Filling out the LSO1 form

    These can be obtained at the embassy, or if you have access to a printer, you can download a copy online and fill it out. When filling out the form, be mindful of doing so properly, following the guidelines. These include:

    • The form must be completed in black ink
    • All writing should be in block capitals and should stay within the provided boxes
    • If you make any small, minor mistakes, these should be neatly crossed out with black ink. Correction fluid is not allowed.
    • If you make any mistakes that can't be easily corrected, it's better to get a new form and start again.

    How to avoid losing your passport in future

    There are some simple measures and precautions you can take before and whilst you are travelling that can potentially save your skin, should you again find yourself in a pinch without a passport.

    Before you go

    Take two forms of ID - Taking some other form of identification in addition to your passport - such as a driving or provisional driving license photo card - is a wise move, as it makes retrieving your details from the embassy system and applying for emergency travel documents a whole lot easier.

    Photocopy your ID - As an extra measure, get a coloured photocopy of the picture page of your passport and both sides of your driving license photo card.

    Spare passport photos - It's a smart move to bring a few spare passport sized photos, as it saves you one less thing to worry about, when apply for emergency travel documents.

    Scan all important documents - Having scanned copies of your passport, driving license and birth certificate e-mailed to yourself is a great way to ensure you're never without suitable proof of identification.

    While travelling

    Don't carry your passport on you at all times - Unless it's a legal requirement in the country you are visiting, you should refrain from carrying your passport when you are out and about. An unsuspecting tourist makes a prime target for opportunists and pick-pockets, so stowing your passport away, either in a secure safe at the hotel, or in a money belt if you have to carry it with you, can greatly reduce the chance of losing your passport.

    The key to making the most of passport cover is to book your travel insurance policy well ahead of time - ideally as soon as you have booked your holiday. Sorting out your policy sooner rather than later can save you some serious stress and money, should your passport go missing before your trip.

    Does travel insurance cover for a lost passport abroad?

    Some, but not all insurers provide cover for the loss of your passport. Holiday Extras travel insurance policies come with passport cover as standard. Booking a travel insurance policy well ahead of time, can save you some serious stress and money, should your passport go missing before your trip.

    The exact amount you can receive towards the cost of replacing your passport can vary, depending on your level of cover.

    How do I get a replacement for a damaged passport?

    Once you're back in the UK, you'll need to download and fill out the application form for a new passport, which can be found at When filling out the form, be sure to use black ink and write in printed capital letters.

    Alternatively, if you're passport is just damaged, you can apply for a new one online using the service. Filling out the application form online means that you can easily correct your mistakes. Once you've completed the form, you can pay online, print out the declaration form and send this off. The process should take no more than 10 minutes, and you should receive a new passport within 3 weeks of completing the online application. Of course, during this time it's not advised to book any overseas travel.

    How long does it take to replace a lost or stolen passport

    In the UK if you're applying for a replacement passport through the regular government service, then it will usually take up to three weeks for your passport to arrive, after you have completed the application process. Of course, it may take longer if there were mistakes on the form.

    If you need a passport replacement urgently, then you're best bet is to obtain emergency travel documents from the nearest British embassy, as was outlined earlier in the article.

    How to replace a lost passport

    Replacing a lost passport abroad

    • Report the missing passport at the local police station.
    • Make a note of the crime reference number - this will be important in making later claims.
    • Notify the UK embassy and the consulate of the country you are visiting that your passport has been lost or stolen.

    At the embassy, you will be given an LS01 notification form which you will need to fill out and sign. The Foreign Common Wealth Office can then issue you with emergency travel documents, if you need to return to the UK promptly.

    Losing your passport at home

    If you have lost your passport at home, the process of obtaining a replacement is a little different.

    • Report the missing passport at the local police station.
    • Fill out an LS01 form (available online or at your local police station) remembering to add the crime reference number.
    • Return your completed LS01 form to the Identity and Passport department within the Home Office as soon as possible.

    How long to replace a lost passport?

    It can take as long as 6-7 weeks to receive a passport and in most cases, the passport office will require you to attend an interview as part of the process. For this reason, if you lose your passport abroad and urgently need to return back to the UK, you would be advised to obtain emergency travel documents from the British embassy.

    If you lose your passport in the UK and don't have enough time to apply for a new one before going away, you may have no choice but to suspend your holiday plans. If you have already taken out a comprehensive travel insurance policy, you may be able to claim under the cancellation section of cover.

    Book your Travel insurance policy

    If you're going on holiday and you haven't already sorted out travel insurance, book now to save yourself a world of trouble, should anything go wrong.

    Booking travel insurance with Holiday Extras is quick and easy. Simply enter the details of your trip and your traveller information into the booking engine for an instant quote. Or give our friendly insurance experts a call on our FREE helpline.

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    Holiday Extras Cover Limited is an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 828848. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register

    Holiday Extras™ is a Trading Name of Holiday Extras Cover Limited. The insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited. Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales with company number 13436330 and whose registered office address is 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London, United Kingdom, EC3M 5BN.

    Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 955859. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register