Top tips for lost or stolen passports

Losing your passport when you’re on holiday is inconvenient, however, it doesn’t have to ruin your trip. Act quickly and follow the right steps, and you can get a new passport sorted out with minimum disruption to your travels. It’s worth checking your travel insurance policy before you depart to see if it covers part or all of the costs of obtaining a replacement passport during the period of insurance. There are different ways you should approach losing your passport, depending on whether you’re travelling in the UK or overseas and our guide explores some of the things you can do.

What to do if you lose your passport at home

It might be a pain going without your passport in the UK, but you won't have the same communication barriers or difficulties getting around that you could suffer while abroad. However, it's still crucial that you get your new passport application under way as soon as you can.

The first thing you’ll need to do is inform Her Majesty’s (HM) Passport Office, the department within the Home Office that issues passports. You’ll need to fill in and sign a lost or stolen (LS01) form and send it back to HM Passport Office. Do this as early as possible.

You can download the form from the HM Passport Office website or obtain one from any post office that offers a ‘check and send’ service. Alternatively, you can ask for a call back from HM Passport Office, or apply for your replacement passport through the dedicated online tool on its website.

If your passport was stolen then you’ll need to include a crime reference number in your LS01 form. This can be obtained by reporting the theft to the nearest police station. Once the paperwork has been completed, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will cancel your old passport to protect you from identity fraud and post your new passport out to you.

For any queries about replacing your passport or filling in the LS01 form, you can call the HM Passport Office’s dedicated passport advice line at 0300 222 0000. The HM Passport Office website itself also contains essential information about lost and stolen passports.

What to do if you lose your passport abroad

Being without a passport in a foreign country can be problematic, as you may need identification to get hold of cash or prove to authorities who you are. That's why it's crucial you report your lost passport to the nearest police station as soon as you can. As with losing your passport in the UK, you'll need a crime reference number to apply for a new passport.

You should also report your lost passport to your nearest British Embassy, consulate or high commission. One of these establishments will give you a LS01 form for you to fill in and sign, then record the loss or theft of your passport and pass on the information to HM Passport Office, which will issue you with emergency replacement travel documents allowing you to travel back to the UK. Unlike normal passports, these documents are only valid for a specific journey within a specific timeframe.

Here are a few things you should remember to do before you set off on your travels that could help you out in the event of a lost or stolen passport:

You can find a comprehensive list of the locations and contact details of British embassies and consulates around the world on the UK government website, as well as a host of other useful resources.

Here are a few things you should remember to do before you set off on your travels that could help you out in the event of a lost or stolen passport:

  • Take alternative identification with you, such as a driving licence.
  • Have extra passport photos taken in case you need to apply for a replacement.
  • Print out colour photocopies of your passport.
  • Pack cash - you may be unable to get hold of money while you're without a passport.
  • Write a list of useful emergency contacts in the UK, for example HM Passport Office.
  • Email all of your important documents to yourself so you can access them anywhere in the world.