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"Don’t let a lost passport spoil your Christmas", warns British Embassy Paris

The British Embassy in Paris has warned British nationals in France, both residents and visitors, to keep an eye on their passport.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Close up photo of a British passport
Close up photo of a British passport

Last year in December, the British Consular network in France issued over 130 Emergency Travel Documents to British Nationals who needed to travel urgently, and a large majority of those were to replace passports that had been lost or stolen. While Consular staff are always happy to help, obtaining an Emergency Travel document is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Ruth Stannard, Director of Consular Services in France, said:

Losing your passport is a sure way to turn a great trip to France into a real nightmare. Keep an eye on this valuable document, and save your money and time to get those last presents. In the nicest possible way, we really don’t want to see you on Christmas Eve.

To avoid unpleasant experiences, here are some passport safety tips, all drawn from real life incidents as told to our staff:

  • When you leave home, make sure that you have got your own passport – and not your husband’s, your daughter’s or your mother’s (or even, memorably, just a passport cover!)
  • Once you’ve arrived in France, only carry your passport if you really need it. Keep it in an inside pocket, preferably buttoned up.
  • Do you have any other form of ID on you? If so, leave your passport in a safe place.
  • If you’re staying in a hotel, keep your passport in the safe. Make sure that the safe is bolted to the wall though – we’ve seen cases where whole safes have been picked up and removed.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. You may be on holiday – but it’s a high season for pickpockets.
  • Take extra care in busy and crowded areas, like Christmas markets and public transport.
  • Check your pockets before you wash your clothes. This happens more than you’d expect.
  • Don’t leave your passport in sight in the car, even when you’re driving.

What to do if you lose your passport

Even if you take all possible precautions, things do go wrong sometimes. If you lose your passport or it is stolen, there are several things that you should do as quickly as possible.

  • Report the loss or the theft to the French Police. You’ll need to show us your Police report, so do keep it safely.
  • If you have travel insurance, get in touch with them. Some policies require that they be informed of a loss or a theft within a short timeframe.
  • If you are travelling soon, call us on +33 1 44 51 31 00. We’ll discuss your options with you and explain what you need to do to get an Emergency Travel Document.
  • If you are not travelling immediately, you should apply for a new passport following the instructions on our website.
  • If you decide not to apply for a new passport or an Emergency Travel Document straight away, please send us a completed LSO1 form together with a copy of your Police report. We’ll cancel the passport so that it cannot be fraudulently used for travel. Full details are available on our website. Please note that this can be done by post.

Notes to Editors

The Consular Network in France comprises the Consular Services of the British Embassy in Paris and Consulates in Bordeaux and Marseille.

The emergency travel document is a document issued at British Consulates to allow British Nationals to undertake or complete a journey. The document costs £95 and is valid for a single or return trip.

In 2012, the Consular Network in France issued 1701 Emergency Travel Documents. In 2013, the network has issued 1963 Emergency Travel Documents to date.

Published 6 December 2013