Getting a British passport is usually not too difficult for nationals of the country, but the coronavirus crisis has complicated the process for many people.


If you are in the UK and need a passport urgently, the bad news is that Premium and Fast Track services are temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19. The good news is, there is a hotline for compassionate matters, for situations such as a relative passing away, or for government business. Numbers are below:


  • Telephone from inside the UK: 0300 222 0000
  • From outside the UK: +44 (0)300 222 0000
  • Textphone: 18001 0300 222 0222


Options for British nationals stuck outside the UK


During the lockdown period many British nationals have been stuck outside the UK, and have been unable to travel back due to flights being grounded. Many of their passports have expired or are due to expire shortly.


Currently, for all British nationals staying overseas, they will have to apply for new passports via their local UK Visa Application Centre. Due to Covid-19, all the visa application centres are closed all over the world. No one will be able to apply for a British passport. If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you can only apply for an emergency travel document.




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


  • You are a British national
  • You are outside the UK
  • Your passport has been lost, stolen, damaged, is full, has recently expired or is with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy
  • You do not have time to renew or replace your passport before you travel

What an emergency travel document lets you do


You can use an emergency travel document to travel to your destination through a maximum of 5 countries. You can also normally use it to return to the country you are applying from if you live there.


Your travel plans (countries and dates) will be printed on your emergency travel document. If you change your travel plans once you have your emergency travel document, you will need to apply for a new one.


You may need a visa to leave the country you are in or to travel through other countries with your emergency travel document. Check with the embassy or consulate of each country.


If your final destination is the UK, border staff will keep your emergency travel document when you arrive. Border staff at a different final destination might also keep the document.


How long will it take?


Your passport will normally be ready for collection in two working days, provided that you have provided all the relevant information and documents in your application. However, if that is not the case or in some exceptional circumstances, your application may take much longer.


How to apply


You can apply online here.


It costs £100 to apply for an emergency travel document. The fee is not refundable. You can pay online as part of your application. If you do not, you will be asked to pay over the phone.


You might need to attend an appointment at your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate after you apply online. You’ll be told after you have submitted your application whether you need an appointment.


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


We are here to help!


We are open and ready to provide you with expert advice, whether you are trying to get back to the UK from abroad, have another immigration based question or need any other legal advice at all. You can reach us on 020 7928 0276 or email in to


Or, why not download our free app today? You can launch a new enquiry, scan over documents and much more.


If you have an iPhone, follow this link to download.


If you use an Android phone, follow this link to download. 


Find the link here if you need some further instructions on how to use our new app!


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