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How to get emergency travel documents

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An emergency travel document (ETD) is a temporary document that enables you to get back home if you’re stuck abroad without your passport for some reason.

This may be because it’s been lost, stolen or damaged, recently expired or is with a foreign embassy.

Emergency travel documents have been issued since 2009. They’re A6 in size and have a blue cover with ‘Emergency Passport’ written on it.

Two passports onto of a map of the world

You can easily apply online for an emergency passport. This costs you a non-refundable fee of £100 that can be paid online as part of the application. If not, you can pay over the phone.

You also need to supply a contact telephone number and email address as part of your application.

You might be required to attend an appointment at your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate after the application is received.

However, don’t worry about that right away. You should be told whether or not this is necessary after you’ve submitted your application.

What are the requirements to get an emergency passport?

To apply online for emergency travel documents – for yourself or on behalf of someone else – these conditions need to apply:

  • The person who needs the emergency passport must have had a valid UK passport issued within the last 10 years.
  • They must have travel booked or planned if a booking isn’t required to complete the journey.
  • They can’t be currently in the UK.
  • They must be able to prove residency in the country to which they’re travelling

The process is fairly straightforward and usually takes around 15 minutes. If you’re using a shared computer, make sure you close the browser and clear recent history before you leave:

  • Complete application details
  • Cancel your current passport
  • Add supporting documents, for example your proof of residency and a recent photograph to name a few
  • Arrange to collect your emergency document
  • Payment
  • Attend an interview (if required)

What documents do I need for an emergency passport?

A number of documents are required during the application process:

  • Proof of the applicant’s travel plans or booking
  • A recent photograph of the applicant
  • A photocopy of the applicant’s passport – if it hasn’t been lost or stolen
  • Proof of residency for the country to which the applicant is travelling, if not the UK.

It won’t be instantaneous. Generally, emergency travel documents can be issued a minimum of two working days after the application is paid and received.

Yes, it can. If you fail to provide the satisfactory information or aren’t deemed eligible.

Also, if the authorities think that you could apply for a UK passport instead of an emergency one your application might be declined.

It usually lets you travel to your destination through a maximum of 5 countries. Your travel plans, including countries and dates, should be printed on the emergency travel document.

Therefore, if your plans change, you need to apply for a new one in order to proceed on your journey, including paying another £100 processing fee.

No. An emergency travel document is not a replacement for a full UK passport. It’s simply a way to get back home if your passport is lost or stolen.

You may need a visa to leave the country you’re in or to travel through other countries with your emergency travel document.

It’s vital that you double check with the embassy or consulate of each country in order to ensure you have everything that’s required.

The emergency travel document is non-biometric, and some countries won’t accept these. For example, you can’t travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program without a biometric passport.

It’s worth checking the entry requirements of the county you’re visiting, just in case.

You can book a passport office appointment and pay online if you need a passport urgently.

These appointments take about 30 minutes and they can be booked up to 3 weeks in advance. The earliest slot you can get is 2 days from when you apply.

There are 2 options for getting an urgent passport.

  • The premium passport service - you'll get your new passport at your appointment. This costs £193.50 at the time of writing (or £204.50 for a 50 page frequent traveller passport)
  • The 1 week fast track service - your new passport should be delivered to your home within a week of your appointment. The current costs are £155 for an adult passport and £126 for a child passport. The price for 50 page frequent traveller passports are £166 and £137, respectively.

If you need to travel urgently for medical treatment you can call the passport advice line.

This service is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and on weekends and Bank Holidays from 9am to 5.30pm.

Yes, most standard travel insurance policies should provide some cover for lost or stolen passports.

It might cover the cost of replacing the passport, or the cost of getting an emergency travel document.

If you lose your passport, it’s worth contacting your travel insurance provider as soon as you can. They should be able to let you know what you can and can’t claim on travel insurance for.

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