Can I travel to the UK from France without a passport in an emergency?

Assistance is usually required when a passport has been lost, stolen or damaged

The passport application process can take several weeks
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Reader Question: I need to attend a funeral of a close family member in the UK but do not have a valid passport. I do not leave France much and did not realise it expired in 2023. Can I ‘fast-track’ a replacement or travel without a passport? 

Britons abroad whose passports have expired cannot apply for a fast-track passport, as this requires an in-person appointment at a centre within the UK. 

In cases of an emergency, where a person must travel urgently, they can request an emergency travel document.

This is a document that will allow the person to undertake a one-way or return journey without a passport. It is valid through a maximum of five countries.

To be eligible for an emergency travel document, you must: 

  • Be a UK national 

  • Be situated outside the UK

  • Need to travel within six weeks and not be able to renew or replace your UK passport from abroad before you travel (the usual maximum waiting time for a passport to arrive overseas is around six weeks)

  • Not have a UK passport because it has been lost, stolen, damaged, is full, has recently expired or is with HM Passport Office or a foreign embassy

  • Previously have held a valid UK passport in the last 10 years

If you fulfil these criteria, then you can apply online for the document. 

Applications cost £100 and you will need to provide: 

  • A valid digital photo that meets the passport guidelines and has not been used in a previous passport

  • A contact telephone number

  • An email address

  • A debit or credit card (to pay) 

The UK government states that in cases where you cannot pay the fee yourself, someone else can pay on your behalf.

Read more: Can I stay in France via the 90/180 day rule if visa has expired?

Be careful about travel plans

Your travel plans will be printed on the document, however the government recommends not booking any form of travel until you have begun your application, and know exactly which method of transport you will be taking and when.

If your plans change and are different to what is printed, you will need to reapply for a new emergency travel document.

The document is usually processed within two working days, and, assuming the application is accepted, you will be notified as to when and where to collect it and if you need to attend an appointment at a British consulate or the British Embassy in Paris. 

The process can take longer if the reason you do not have a passport is because your old one has expired and you have not renewed it. 

If you last held a UK passport more than 10 years ago you may still be able to apply for an emergency travel document in ‘exceptional circumstances’. You will need to use a separate contact form to explain these circumstances.

Information on passport applications for Britons in France can be found below when you have returned. 

Read more: How do I renew my UK passport in France? Do I need an appointment?