Passports are really important documents for travelling around the world, and you need to keep them safe. However, a day may come when your UK passport is lost or stolen. It is also possible that one day, your passport may be damaged beyond the normal rate of wear, for example through water damage, which may mean the document is no longer valid.
If that happens, though, there are very effective procedures in place to make sure you can safely and securely replace your passport, so you can get back to travelling to the places you love. In this handy guide, we’ll outline the process of getting a replacement passport, both when you’re at home and when you’re abroad, so you can travel the world with confidence.
Getting a replacement passport
When you lose your passport at home, there are two main ways you can have it replaced, through an online application or through a paper application form, both of which will be outlined below. In both cases, it may be necessary for you to attend an interview, to verify your application before your passport can be submitted. If you need to book an appointment, you will be informed when your initial application has been sent off. In either case, you will also need to secure a countersignatory to confirm your identity or, in the case of a paper renewal, sign off on your application form and photos, particularly if you need to get a new passport for a child.
Replacing your passport online
When you lose your passport at home, the process of replacing it couldn’t be simpler. You can replace your passport online using the UK Government website. You just need to fill out the questionnaire the website gives you and provide a replacement passport photo as well as your credit or debit card details. You will need to pay £75.50 for this service, but it will put you well on your way to getting a new passport. It will take around 10 (ten) weeks for your passport to be delivered, so you need to allow for this time if you’re planning on travelling soon.
Replacing your passport on paper
In the event of a lost or stolen passport, you can also apply through the mail. By going into the Post Office or ringing the Passport Adviceline, you can collect a form that will allow you to send off for your next passport. You’ll need to make sure you send in 2 (two) new biometric photos with your application. This is more expensive than replacing your passport online, costing £85, but services like the Post Office Check and Send Service can give you some peace of mind, by having an extra person check your application, so you know it will be accepted. This form of application can take up to 10 (ten) weeks, but the 1 Week Fast Track Service can reduce the lead time if you need a passport urgently.
How to replace a child’s lost passport
If your child has lost their passport, there are a few extra steps you need to consider as, for safeguarding reasons, the Passport Office insists on tighter security. If you want to replace your child’s passport, you will need to provide the right number of passport photos and any passports issued by other countries your child may have, as normal. In addition, however, you must also provide any court orders or legal documentation that relates to the child and, in particular, your relationship to that child. This can include parental responsibility agreements, residency agreements, birth certificates and so on.
Someone who can legally claim parental responsibility will also need to sign the application form, along with your child, if they are aged between 12-15. As normal, you will also require a countersignatory, who can verify both your child’s application and picture.
Applying with an online form is easy, just follow the instructions. If you wish to apply with a paper application form, then you will need to fill out sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10. If your child is aged 12 or over, then they will also need to sign section 6. From there, just submit the application form, and your child’s documents, through the usual channels.
What to do when you’re abroad
It’s easy to see losing your passport abroad as a disaster, but even here, there’s a simple solution! You just have to request an emergency travel document. You can do this by filling out an online application form, available from the UK Government website, and by presenting supporting documents, which can include evidence of travel plans, e.g. flight tickets. You’ll need to pay £100 for this, but it can be a lifeline in an emergency. In some cases, you will be required to make an appointment at your local embassy or consulate to confirm your application. You must also make sure you have a countersignatory in place to verify your identity. Once the application process is complete, just wait 2 (two) working days for your document to be delivered, although it may take longer, particularly due to backlogs caused by the pandemic.
The Emergency Travel Document will allow you to travel to your destination through up to 5 countries, easily enough to get home. Make sure you check with the relevant authorities to see if you need a visa to travel. Once you get home, you can just apply for a new passport through the channels mentioned above.
Fast Track passport replacement
The Passport Office offers a couple of options for urgent passport renewal: Online Premium and 1 Week Fast Track. Online Premium requires your old passport to work, so if you’re trying to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, your best bet is to use 1 Week Fast Track.
To use 1 Week Fast Track, simply get a paper application form from a participating Post Office branch and fill it out at home. Make sure you’ve got all the supporting documents you need. Next, use the online portal to book a passport appointment and pay the relevant fees. Bring your completed application form, your printed passport photos and your supporting documents to the appointment. After your appointment, wait 1 (one) week and your new passport will be ready!
Dealing with a damaged passport
Damaged passports require special consideration from the Passport Office, as damage to passports may be the result of tampering for fraud. Damage that renders the passport invalid includes, but is not limited to:
- missing pages
- unreadable pages (particularly the page carrying your personal details)
- broken binding
- damaged passport chip
- water or liquid damage
To combat fraud, Passport Office officials will thoroughly examine the passport before they will consent to renew it. In some cases, they may ask you to explain the damage to ensure it was accidental.They can do this whether you’re looking for a water damaged UK passport replacement or a torn UK passport renewal, so be prepared to answer this question.
In the vast majority of cases, when you need to replace a damaged passport, you will only need to send the passport itself, however, if you are doing so from abroad, you may need to send other supporting documents, which will be outlined in the online application. You will also need to provide any evidence needed to prove a change in your personal details, for example, a name change.
Digital photo for your new passport book
When you’re replacing a lost, stolen or damaged passport, you must never forget you need to provide a new passport photo. You can achieve this through a professional photo studio or a photo booth, but the easiest way to take your UK Passport Photo is to upload a photo to the Passport Photo Online photo tool. There are a lot of advantages to you here:
- You will always be satisfied. Our service will allow you to do some trial and error with your photography, allowing you to take as many photos as you need to nail that final shot. No one wants a terrible passport photo – we can make that a thing of the past!
- It gives you flexibility. Passport Photo Online’s AI software is flexible enough to be used from anywhere, online or through our app, giving you the perfect biometric photo solution wherever you go. Even if your passport is lost abroad, Passport Photo Online is here for you!
- Validation. Our AI photo tool scans your picture to compare it against the UK Government’s passport photo criteria. We also have human inspectors that offer their perspective on your photos, so you can be confident that any issues will be spotted. If your photo doesn’t make the grade, we’ll make sure you know what needs improving, so you can get the perfect passport photo.
- You can save a lot of money. Passport Photo Online can cost up to 53% less than the most popular photo booths, which is particularly helpful if you’re planning on getting a passport for two or more people.
- Acceptance is guaranteed. If your photo gets rejected by the HM Passport Office, we will refund you for double what you paid us.
Replace your damaged, lost or stolen passport
When it’s all laid out like this, it’s easy to see that replacing a lost or stolen passport can be simple. By applying online or on paper, you can get your passport replaced in no time. With a Passport Photo Online-approved photo, you can have even more confidence, quickly and calmly resolving your passport worries. By just following our advice, you can cut the worry out of the experience, and focus on the fun of travelling!
Replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport: FAQ
To finish off, we’re going to answer some of the burning questions you may have about replacing your lost, stolen or damaged passports.
How much will it cost to replace a lost passport?
It depends on how you plan to replace it. Replacing it online will cost you £75.50 while using a paper application form will cost you more, £85.
How quickly can I get a replacement passport?
Depending on whether you apply online or through the post, renewing your passport can take around 10 (ten) weeks, whether you apply online or by post. If you need a passport urgently, the 1 Week Fast Track service allows you to get a new passport within a week.
How long does it take to replace a lost passport in the UK?
At the time of writing, the Passport Office will require prospective applicants to allow at least 10 (ten) weeks to replace a lost passport. It’s a good idea to leave extra time beyond that, if possible, to allow for delays.
Can I replace a lost passport online?
Yes, the Passport Office’s online portal can accommodate applicants looking to replace their lost passports. In order to do so, an applicant must prepare a compliant digital passport photo and have a debit or credit card with them to pay the £75.50 online fees.
Replacing lost passports will require a countersignatory to confirm the applicant’s identity. The online application portal will prompt users to give their chosen countersignatory’s details. Remember to confirm that they are happy to be contacted by the Passport Office first.
The applicant may be required to attend an interview but will be informed in good time if this is the case. Once that is completed, the new passport will be ready in around 10 (ten) weeks.
I have lost my passport, how do I replace it?
Replacing a lost passport takes you through the same channels as you would to renew a passport normally, however, there are some extra steps you need to take. You will need to secure a counter-signatory to confirm your identity or, where applicable, to sign your form and photos. You may also need to attend an interview, but you will be given prior notice if you do.
How much is it to replace a damaged passport?
Replacing a damaged passport costs £85 if you do it on paper (£58.50 for a child), or £75.50 if you do it online (£49 for a child). If you need to use 1 Week Fast Track, it will cost £142 for an adult passport or £122 for a child passport.
How to replace a lost passport quickly?
The best way to replace a lost passport quickly is to use the 1 Week Fast Track service. Unlike Online Premium, this urgent passport application system can accommodate replacing lost, stolen or damaged passports.
The first step is to collect a paper application form from a Post Office. There is no online application option for 1 Week Fast Track, so this step is essential. The next stage is to use the online portal to book a passport appointment. Keep a credit or debit card handy, as the Passport Office will charge a fee of £142 for a standard adult passport (or £122 for a standard child passport).
After that, it’s simply a case of filling out the application form and collecting the relevant supporting documents to take to the appointment, including 2 (two) paper passport photos. Remember to get the application form and one of the passport pictures signed by a countersignatory. If the interview is successful, the Passport Office will deliver a new passport within 1 (one) week.
If a passport is lost, it is worth checking immediately to ensure appointments are available for the 1 Week Fast Track service. These can fill up quickly, particularly at peak times, so it’s crucial to do this as fast as possible.
How can I replace a lost passport urgently?
The best way to replace a lost passport urgently is to use the 1 Week Fast Track service. Simply book an appointment and, within 1 (one) week, you could have a new passport ready to go! Simply get an application form from a Post Office or the Passport Adviceline, book an appointment online, fill out your form and take it, with your supporting documents and passport photos, to your appointment. 1 (one) week later, you’re all sorted!
I have lost my passport and need one urgently, what do I do?
If you’ve lost your passport and need a new one urgently, you should use the 1 Week Fast Track service. This system allows applicants to book and attend appointments with the Passport Office and get a new full UK passport just 1 (one) week later. Perfect if you’re in a hurry.
How do I replace a damaged UK passport urgently?
Replacing a damaged UK passport in a hurry is easy. Just use the 1 Week Fast Track service. Book a passport appointment, and it’s possible to get a replacement delivered within a week of attending it.
What documents do I need to replace a lost passport in UK?
In order to replace a lost UK passport, the applicant will need to provide the following documents:
– a biometric passport photo, either 2 (two) identical paper copies (with one of them countersigned) or 1 (one) digital copy
– some form of personal ID (for example, a driving licence)
– evidence of a claim to UK citizenship (this can include a birth certificate).
What supporting documents are needed to replace a lost passport in UK?
To replace a lost passport in the UK, a prospective applicant will need to submit all three of the following:
– any form of identification document (such as a driving licence)
– proof of UK citizenship
– a compliant passport photo, either 2 (two) identical paper copies (one of which the applicant has countersigned) or a single digital copy.
Karolina’s passion for law, technology and photography led her to PhotoAiD S.A., where for the past 3 years she has been an expert in the implementation of passport photo compliance procedures in +80 countries around the world.