What to do When You've Lost a Passport Abroad

Here's what to do if you lose your passport on holiday...

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Lost passport abroad, what to do?

Aside from kidnapping or murder, losing a passport can be one of the most harrowing, stressful ordeals a traveller can face. 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; wondering if it was that drunk, overly-friendly local from before, that has had a hand in your passport's disappearance.

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.

Getting Emergency Travel Documents

Here's how to get emergency travel documents quickly and painlessly...

  • Get a Police report - 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.

For British residents applying for emergency travel documents, there is a non-refundable fee of £100 or the equivalent in foreign currency.

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. Authentic British passports are like gold-dust for criminal organisations, selling for considerable sums on the black market. 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.

    Use a money belt - If you can't find anywhere safe to store your passport while you're out exploring your destination, keep you passport in a money belt rather than in a pocket or a bag, as this reduces the likelihood of having it stolen without you knowing. It's also good to keep your passport on your person while travelling between destinations, when you know you will be separated from your baggage.

    Does travel insurance cover for a lost passport abroad?

    Some, but not all insurers provide cover for the loss of your passport. Thankfully, all Holiday Extras' travel insurance policies come with passport cover as standard. Booking a travel insurance policy well ahead of time, can really 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.

    Holiday Extras Passport Insurance

    Holiday Extras travel insurance policies are designed to help in case your passport is lost, stolen or destroyed, regardless of which stage you are at in your holiday.

    We've got you covered for extra transportation, accommodation and administration expenses made when getting your emergency travel documents.


    Policy Type Passport Cover amount*
    Basic £100

    Standard £200

    Premium £300


    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.

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    *Please note, cover amounts are occasionally subjected to change. The amount cited is correct at the time of writing.

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