Ruth Emery
By Ruth Emery
Finance Journalist
Updated 15 April 2024
|Read time: 5 mins

Essential guide to getting a new passport

Losing your passport is every traveller’s nightmare. Whether you’re packing for a holiday and can’t find it anywhere, or you’re already abroad and have misplaced it – or suspect it could have been stolen – the key is not to panic.

Every year almost 400,000 UK passports are reported lost or stolen, according to government figures. If it ever happens to you, we understand how stressful it can be. To help make things easier for you, we’ve put together how to report, cancel and replace a lost passport, plus practical tips on how to apply for emergency travel documents and make a travel insurance claim.

How do I report a lost or stolen passport?

You need to report and cancel a lost passport as soon as possible to prevent any fraudulent activity involving the passport holder's identity. Thankfully, you can cancel a UK passport online, regardless of which country you’re in.

If you don’t have internet access, someone else can report the passport as missing for you. Some hotels may be able to help you in this situation, so it might be worth asking a staff member for assistance. You can also visit the UK embassy or a UK consular in person. Be sure to take note where the nearest embassy or consular office is in your travel destination, just in case.

Once the passport is then cancelled, the National Crime Agency is informed.

What if I lose my passport when I'm abroad?

Losing your passport on holiday can be incredibly frustrating. But it doesn’t need to be that tricky to sort out. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Report and cancel the passport online (see details above). If you’re unable to do this, you can complete a form at the nearest British Embassy, high commission or consulate, which are usually in the country's capital city.

  • If you think your passport was stolen, find the local police station and file a police report. This is essential for travel insurance purposes, and you may also need a case number to give to the embassy or consulate.

How do I replace my passport if I’m abroad?

If your passport is lost or stolen when you’re overseas, you can apply for an emergency travel document. This is like an emergency passport that allows you to travel to your destination through a maximum of five countries. The countries and dates you’re travelling to will be printed on the document; if your travel plans change, you’ll need to apply for a new one.

To be eligible to apply, you must be abroad, have proof of your travel plans and be unable to get a replacement passport before you travel. You must also be a British national.

How do I apply for an emergency travel document?

You can apply online, after reporting your passport as lost or stolen. It costs £100 to apply for an emergency travel document. You’ll need to provide a photo of yourself and some supporting documents. 

Once you’ve applied online, you might need to attend an appointment at your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. Your emergency travel document should be ready to collect two working days after you apply.

How do I get a new passport?

You can replace a lost passport either online or by filling in a paper application form. Replacing it online costs £75.50, and you’ll need to upload a digital photo. Alternatively, a paper form can be picked up at a Post Office and costs £85. You’ll need two new, identical printed photos of yourself. The fee to replace a child’s passport is lower: £49 (online) or £58.50 (paper form).

How long does it take to get a new passport?

Replacing a lost passport takes about three weeks on average, but it can take six weeks or longer during the peak summer months. 

If you’re in the UK and you urgently need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, you can use the one-week Fast Track service. This costs £142 for an adult passport and £122 for a child's. You’ll need to pick up a paper application form from a Post Office and book an appointment at a Passport Office.

If you’re outside the UK, unfortunately, you won’t be able to use this service.

Does travel insurance cover lost passports?

Most travel insurance policies will provide some cover for a lost or stolen passport while you’re abroad on holiday. For example, it may pay for the costs of getting an emergency travel document. If your passport has been stolen, you'll need a police report for the insurance claim.

You probably won't be covered for the cost of replacing your passport once you’re back home, so make sure you check the policies ahead of time.

Get prepared for your holiday

Once you have replaced your passport, get ready for your next holiday and buy currency without commission fees  - pop to a Bureau de Change in our John Lewis & Partners shops, order online or click and collect.

Some of you may already have one, ready to take abroad on your next European trip, while others may never have heard of it.

If you’re thinking of using a bank card abroad, make sure you check what fees you could be charged.

By planning ahead, you can reduce the charges and get a great deal on your holiday money.

John Lewis Finance and John Lewis & Partners Bureau de Change are both trading names of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (Registered Company Number 233462). John Lewis plc introduce the panel of carefully chosen providers in Bureau de Change products and services, whom each hold the appropriate licences with the Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC.

Foreign Currency online from both John Lewis Finance and John Lewis & Partners is provided by First Rate Exchange Services Limited registration number 04287490 (Money Service Business licence number MLR-64068), whose registered office is at Great West House, Great West Road, Brentford, West London, TW8 9DF England.

Copyright © John Lewis Partnership
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