Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Immigration Corner | How to apply for an emergency travel document

Published:Tuesday | July 23, 2019 | 12:20 AM
John Bassie
John Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am a British citizen and I would like to know how I can apply for an emergency travel document.


Dear GN,

A person can apply for an emergency travel document, sometimes called an ‘emergency passport’, if he/she is abroad, needs to travel and cannot get a passport in time. Please note that if persons are in the United Kingdom (UK) they should 'apply for a passport urgently'.

Eligibility and Requirements

Persons can apply for an emergency travel document if all the following apply:

• They are British nationals

• They are outside the United Kingdom

• Their passport has been lost, stolen, damaged, is full, has recently expired or is with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy

• They do not have time to renew or replace their passport before they travel

• They can provide proof of their travel plans, for example, booking confirmations or detailed written travel plans if they cannot book ahead

Persons usually cannot get an emergency travel document if they have never had a UK passport and those persons should apply for a passport instead.

Uses of an Emergency Travel Document

Persons can use an emergency travel document to travel to their destination through a maximum of five countries. They can also normally use it to return to the country where they are applying from if they live there.

The travel plans, that is countries and dates, will be printed on their emergency travel document. If persons change their travel plans once they have their emergency travel document, they will need to apply for a new one.

They may need a visa to leave the country they are in or to travel through other countries with their emergency travel document. It is advisable that persons check with the embassy or consulate of each country.

Please note that if the person’s final destination is the United Kingdom, border staff will keep their emergency travel document when they arrive. Also, border staff at a different final destination might also keep the document.

Application process

It costs £100 to apply for an emergency travel document and the fee isn’t refundable. Persons can apply online and payment can be madeonline as part of the application. If payment is not made online then persons can pay over the phone.

Persons might need to attend an appointment at their nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate after applying online. Persons will be told after they have submitted their application whether they need an appointment. Please note that persons will need to give a contact telephone number and email address as part of their application.

A person’s emergency travel document will normally be ready in two working days and persons will be told after they have applied how and when they will get their emergency travel document.

Apply on behalf of someone else

Persons can apply for an emergency travel document and book an appointment for someone else if he/she is a British citizen. The person/applicant might have to attend an appointment and must collect their emergency travel document in person.

If an application is made for a child under 16 years old, the child will need to attend an appointment. Both parents should go with the child if possible and if neither parent can attend, they will need to send a signed consent letter.

Good luck!

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: