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Losing documents abroad

Losing documents abroad

What to do if you lose your passport or other important documents

Has your passport been lost or stolen abroad?

It’s a scary experience. It’s not just your passport, losing any important documents while abroad can ruin your holiday or business trip. There are things you can do to make life easier if it does happen.

What to do next

Would you know what to do if you lost your passport abroad? First things first. There’s no need to panic. Replacing it or getting an emergency passport is surprisingly simple.

If your documents are lost or stolen, there are several important steps you should take as soon as possible.

Inform the authorities

If your passport, driving licence or other important documents are lost or stolen abroad, try and inform the local police within 24 hours. Or as soon as you possibly can.

Make sure you get a written report and reference number. This will help in your application for a new passport or emergency travel document.

Order a replacement passport

If you don’t need to travel back home from your trip urgently, you could order a replacement passport abroad.

To find out how long it might take, you can try the Government’s overseas passport tool for more information.

Cancel a lost or stolen passport

It’s important to cancel your lost or stolen passport as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of it being used by criminals for identity theft.

It’s quick and simple to cancel your passport immediately online. And you can even cancel someone else’s passport if they can’t do it themselves.

Contact your embassy

If it’s your passport that’s missing, you should also contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission as soon as possible – ideally within 24 hours.

They can help you report the loss to the UK passport office and organise replacement travel documentation.

Apply for an emergency travel document

If you need to travel home urgently, for example on your pre-booked flight back home, you can apply for an emergency travel document.

This temporary document, sometimes called an emergency passport, costs £100 and can be applied for online.

Once you’ve completed your application, you’ll be told how and when you’ll get your emergency travel document.

This may include attending an appointment at the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate.

Contact your bank

If any credit or debit cards are lost or stolen, contact your bank or card issuer to cancel the missing card.

Most major card issuers have international telephone numbers they can be reached on overseas. You might also be able to use your banking app to cancel any cards instantly.

Before you leave the UK

Now you know what to do if your passport is lost or stolen while overseas. That’s good news. It’s also important to follow some of these simple steps before you go and when you’re away. It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and to be vigilant.

Research your destination

Read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice for an up-to-date look at the destination you’re travelling to.

You’ll get a detailed guide to the social and political situation in the country you’re visiting. Plus, information on theft hotspots and common scams and crimes.

Copy important documents

Make a copy of the personal details page and take a note of your passport number.

This will help the UK passport office quickly issue you with a new one if yours is lost or stolen.

Store documents securely online

You might also want to store scans or photocopies of your passport, driving licence and any other important documents in a password-protected online account.

If you lose the originals, you can easily print off any copies you might need to present to the authorities to get replacements.

Get travel insurance

Before you leave, consider taking out a travel insurance policy. Some policies will cover the cost of getting replacement passports, driving licences and other travel documents if they’re lost or stolen abroad.

How to stay safe while you’re abroad

Look after your money

It's a good idea to bring a combination of cash and cards, rather than carrying large amounts of cash on you. That way, you've got backup if one or the other goes missing.

Pre-paid currency cards are another option. We offer a Travel money card where you can load up to 15 currencies on to your card.

Keep valuables safe and secure

Make sure travel documents and valuables are kept in a safety deposit box rather than left out in your room.

If you don’t take reasonable care to keep important items locked away, you won’t be able to make a claim on your travel insurance.

Be aware of your surroundings

When you’re wandering around unfamiliar cities, it’s important to keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings.

Explore travel guides and FCO travel advice to find out what areas to avoid and where you need to take extra precautions.

Make a travel insurance claim

Once you’ve got your replacement documents, you may be able to claim back the cost on your travel insurance.

Keep your police report and reference number safe as these will need sent to your insurer to support your claim.

Get a travel insurance quote

Don’t let lost or stolen documents ruin your trip. Lie back, relax and enjoy your break with the peace of mind that you’re protected.

Whether you're heading off on a single trip or you’ve got a few holidays planned, we’ve got a policy to suit your needs.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited.


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Any questions? 

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Call 0345 305 2621.

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This guide aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any decision, financial or otherwise. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this guide. All information correct at date of publication.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited. Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales with company number 13436330 and whose registered office address is 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London, United Kingdom, EC3M 5BN. Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 955859. You can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting;

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Hood Travel Limited, registered at Companies House 08318836. Hood Travel is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 597211. Hood Travel Limited’s registered address is at 2nd Floor, Decora Court, Tylers Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2BB.