Know Your Rights: What to do if you lose your passport in the UK
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Know Your Rights: What to do if you lose your passport in the UK

Know Your Rights: What to do if you lose your passport in the UK

Can I apply for work as an international student in my host country? What are my wage rights? Am I allowed to join protests and class walkouts? If I had a run-in with the authorities, what should I do? To help you understand the extent and limitations of your rights as a student abroad, Study International will provide the answers to all these burning questions and more through our “Know Your Rights” article series. Have a question you want to be answered? Email us at editor@hybrid.co

Losing your passport while abroad is one of the most anxiety-inducing things that can happen, especially to an international student.

There are many implications to losing your passport – there’s not only the cost of a replacement, some countries may also impose a fine on their citizens if it was lost due to carelessness.

Apart from the monetary ramifications, there’s also the hassle of allocating time out of your schedule to inform the relevant authorities and replace your documents, in addition to the safety risks involved – if your passport falls into the hands of criminals, you could be at risk of identity theft and other illegal activities.

So, if you were to find yourself in such a situation in the future, don’t dive into emotional turmoil. Instead, stay calm and take a deep breath – here’s a guide on what you can do if you’ve lost your passport while studying in the UK.

Make a police report

Lodge a police report detailing all the documents that are lost or stolen. You may be given a copy of your police report or a crime reference number which you may need when applying for a new passport or visa.

To do this, you can either go to a local police station or make a police report online.

Apply for a new passport

You may want to contact your embassy or High Commission for information on how to obtain a new passport as the process may vary between countries.

If you’re not sure where your embassy is located, you can find a list of foreign embassies’ contact details on gov.uk.

Be patient – your new passport may not be issued immediately. However, you may be issued a temporary travel document in the meantime.

Replace your visa

Students who are studying in the UK for more than six months will be issued a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which is the size of a credit card and contains your biometric information (i.e. your fingerprints, digital photograph).

But according to gov.uk, if your visa is in your passport (i.e. vignette or sticker), it is no longer possible to replace it.

Instead, once you have received your new passport, you will need to apply using a Transfer of Conditions (TOC) form. There will be a vignette transfer fee for this service, for both a 30-day vignette and vignette for the full length of leave.

To find out how much you may need to pay, click here.

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The process of replacing your student visa can take several weeks. Source: Shutterstock

When replacing a vignette for the full length of leave, you will need a police report or other evidence to establish that your passport is no longer in your possession. You may also be required to provide supporting documentation to establish that your circumstances have not changed.

You will need to provide your biometrics as part of this application. A BRP will be sent to you to replace your vignette. Note that you don’t need to request a new Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) from your university to do this. For details, visit gov.uk.

Meanwhile, for missing or stolen 30-day vignettes, you will need to notify the Home Office that you cannot collect your BRP – look under ‘If you have problems collecting your BRP‘ in gov.uk’s website. The Home Office will email you within five working days detailing what you must do next.

Inform your institution

Upon receiving your new passport and BRP, you will need to bring them to your institution to update your student records.

You may also want to contact the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) to notify them that you have obtained a new passport via the MCC form.

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