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Avoid a passport emergency abroad

If you lose your passport when you’re abroad, you’ll likely need to sort out Emergency Travel Documents. And you won’t be alone. Last year, the FCO reported that lost passports abroad cost Brits £5 million a year, with 30,000 Emergency Travel Documents issued.

What’s more, requests for ETDs are on the up. The number of ETDs issued for expired or damaged passports increased by over 300% from 2012-2013.

Sorting out ETDs is the last thing anyone wants to do when they should be enjoying sun, sea and sights abroad. That’s why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have put together their Enjoy Your Holiday video, highlighting real stories of tourists who have lost their documents abroad.

What’s more, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have issued updated advice to help you keep your travel documents safe, so you can concentrate on having a good time while you’re away.


  • If you lose your passport on holiday, you will not be able to get a replacement. Instead you will have to get an ETD and then replace your passport once back in the UK.
  • Value your passport and look after it carefully. Using a passport as a beermat or putting it in the washing machine are just two reasons why ETDs have had to be issued in the past. A damaged passport cannot be used for travel.
  • Your passport is not always safer on you. Lock your passport in a safe if there is access to one. But bear in mind that places that may seem safe, such as a freezer, may damage your passport.
  • Make a note of your passport number, date and place of issue and consider taking a photocopy with you; remember to keep this in a safe place. You might be able to use your photocopy if you’re asked for ID at bars or clubs.
  • Theft remains an issue in some big cities. 1000 ETDs were issued last year in Barcelona, that’s more than some countries. Keep alert when out and about and take precautions against pickpocketing and distraction thefts. Outdoor music festivals abroad are a real hot spot for lost passports. Never leave your luggage unattended or with someone you don’t completely trust.
  • Make sure your passport is valid. For certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go.
  • Obtaining an ETD can take several days depending on local circumstances. You may need to obtain a police report and get passport photos. You’ll also need to get to and from your nearest British Consulate or Embassy to sort out the paperwork. Remember, you may also have to replace any visas you need for your journey.
  • Check out the FCO’s latest travel advice and information at

How can John Lewis Travel Insurance help?

If you lose your money, travel or admission tickets (if you’re going to a match or an event), or they are stolen, we’ll refund you up to your chosen policy limit.

If you take out Plus or Premier Cover, we’ll also pay for a replacement passport or qualification certificates if these are misplaced or stolen whilst you are away.

Subject to policy limits. Terms and conditions apply.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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If your policy started or renewed before 01/01/2015
John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered in England No. 00233462. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5NN. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of UKAIS Limited (No. 02613429). Registered in England and Wales at Prospect House, Gordon Banks Drive, Trentham Lakes North, Stoke on Trent ST4 4TW. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (financial services register 307223).

If your policy started or renewed on or after 01/01/2015
John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered in England No. 00233462. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street , London, SW1E 5NN. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Ageas Retail Limited. Registered office: Ageas House, Hampshire Corporate Park, Templars Way, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 3YA. Registered in England and Wales 1324965. Ageas Retail Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA registered number: 312468. Ageas Retail Limited is a member of the DMA and a sister company of Ageas Insurance Limited.

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