Lost Passport Guidance
Losing your passport before you holiday can literally make or break your plans. Nearly 20,000 British passports were reported as either lost or stolen worldwide last year alone. This does not include the many more thousands of passports that people are not yet even aware that they have lost their passport.
Since 2010/11 there has been an 11% increase in the amount of emergency travel documents (ETD's) up to nearly 29,000 documents being issued to stranded Brits all over the world. British holiday makers have wasted millions of pounds on these ETD's, we want you to try and avoid this at all costs, but we also want you to know what to do should you find yourself without a passport before or during your holiday.
What to do if you lose your passport
Report your passport as lost
If you have a holiday booked or travel plans within the next 4 weeks, a lost passport could potentially put a stop to your plans. The first thing you must do as soon as you are aware that you have lost passport is to report it. This is extremely important for many reasons; one of the biggest is that you do not want your passport with all of your personal details falling into the hands of criminals, as they could possibly use this information for criminal activity.
It's is quick and easy to report your passport lost, simply pick up a LS01 form from either your local Post Office or you can download it here simply print it off, fill it out and send it or take your form to the address at the bottom of the form.
Replacing your lost passport
If you do not have any travel plans booked then replacing your lost passport is very easy and waiting the usual 3 weeks or 6 weeks in peak travel times will not be a problem. You can either pick up a paper application at your local Post Office or you can apply online.
If, however you do have travel plans or a holiday coming up then this easy process can become very stressful depending on your circumstances. If you are in the UK then your best choice is to make an urgent passport appointment. this will give you the best chance of getting your replacement passport in time for your travels.
If you are abroad your best option is to find the British Embassy and apply for an ETD. If you have photocopies of your passport take those with you as this can speed up the process.
Can I use the urgent services?
You can use the urgent passport services however, HM Passport Office only offer the 7 day Fast-Track service for a lost or stolen passport and unfortunately the 1 day Premium service is not available. This has caused thousands of people to not only lose out on their holiday plans but also lose out on all the money they have spent.
There are a couple of exceptions in which HM Passport Office will allow customers to use the 1 day Premium service but this is in extreme circumstances. If you have a medical emergency or you have suffered a bereavement you may be eligible for this service, you will need to contact HM Passport Office to clarify if you qualify or not.
We always advise our customers not to book any travel plans until you have checked that you have your passport and it is valid for travel. This however is not always possible, but hopefully with the information we have here for you we can help make this a hassle free process.
How to get an appointment quickly
When you have lost your passport you will need to attend a passport appointment. These appointments can get booked up rather quickly and as we approach peak travel season this will only get worse.
One great way to get an appointment early is to book a lost appointment online this can help make things run a lot smoother. When you make your appointment you will be asked for your local Passport Office as this is normally to ensure you do not have to travel too far for your appointment.
However, if your local Passport Office is one of the busier offices like London or Glasgow you may end up waiting longer than you would like for your appointment. A great way to avoid this problem is to have an alternative office in mind when booking. Sometimes the lesser known offices often have more spaces available and sooner, this may mean you having to travel a little further but it will definitely be worth it if you can get your passport in time.
How to keep your passport safe
It may seem simply, but one of the biggest things you can do to avoid the stress of a lost passport is to keep it safe and hopefully with a few tips you won't need to worry about your passport again.
• Keep all your family's passports together
• Try using a small lock box you can keep in a safe place
• Remember where your 'safe place' is
• If you are moving house be sure that one person is in charge of your passports and other valuables
Abroad / When Traveling
• Always make photocopies - take these with you out and about rather than the original
• Keep all passports in one place
• Always use the hotels safe where possible
• If you do not have a safe create a safe place to keep them
• If you do have to take your passport out with you ensure you keep a close eye on it and the bag you are carrying
We understand that these things can not always be prevented, so if you do find yourself without your passport there are plenty of ways to ensure you get yours replaced as soon as possible. If you would like to book an appointment, renew your passport or would like anymore information on services available please visit our passport office blog.
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