Many of us may have misplaced our passport at one time or another, but what happens if it goes missing while we’re abroad? If you’re a British national outside of the UK and don’t have time to renew or replace your passport before setting off again, you’ll need to apply for an emergency travel document.

What’s an emergency travel document?

  • Also known as an emergency passport, this service is available if your passport is lost, stolen, damaged, full, expired or with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy.
  • This is different from getting a passport urgently (for example, within three weeks), for which you need to be in the UK and can book an appointment at the passport office.
  • An emergency passport will allow you to travel to your destination via a maximum of five countries.
  • For those who travel frequently, it might be worth getting a second UK passport – see our guide at

What do I need?

  • Confirmation of your travel plans, as countries and dates will be printed on the emergency travel document. If these change after you receive the passport, you’ll have to apply for a new one.
  • In some cases, you will need a visa to leave the country you’re in or to travel through other countries. It’s best to check with the embassy of each country.
  • It’s always worth carrying a copy of your passport when you are travelling as this makes it easier when applying for such documentation.

How do I apply?

  • Visit and submit your details online. You will need to upload a photograph and possibly copies of documents (photos, screenshots or scans) to support the application. This should take about 15 minutes.
  • The process costs £100.
  • Following this application, you might be asked to attend an appointment at your nearest British consulate.
  • It is also possible to apply on behalf of someone else, provided they are a British national, but they will need to collect their passport in person.

What happens next?

  • The emergency passport will be ready two working days following your application, although it may take longer if you have applied for a child aged under 16, have not paid in full or have not supplied the correct supporting documents.
  • If the UK is your final destination, border staff will retain your travel document. This may happen elsewhere, too, if it is your final destination.