UK Emergency Travel Documents
Lost/short term passport
It is worth bearing in mind that any British national who needs to travel urgently and who does not have access to their full passport can apply for an Emergency Travel Document (it can also be issued to Commonwealth and EU citizens who do not have local representation).
Obvious reasons for applying include passports being lost, stolen or processed for visas but can also include travelling in a part of the world, such as south-east Asia, which require passports to have at least six months to run.
My wife was recently almost denied entry to both Singapore and Malaysia because her passport was due to expire five months later. It became clear that continuing to travel in that part of the world with the passport was not viable.
The solution was an Emergency Travel Document (actually called an Emergency Passport on the document itself, which comes in a fetching gold colour but otherwise looks like a thinner version of a normal passport) issued by the British Consulate in Kuala Lumpur.
Requirements were a normal passport photo, a completed form (available on line) and a not insignificant payment (Malaysian Ringgit 467 or roughly £95).
The process was simple and relatively quick with the Emergency Passport being issued the day after the paperwork had been checked (it could have been the same day but the person in the Consulate responsible for authorising it was out of the office the first day).
It's much easier if you either have the original passport or at least the passport number and other details, so keep a copy.
Whilst issuing full passports is now centralised in many cases (eg. south-east Asia is handled out of Hong Kong), all but a handful of British Embassies/High Commissions and Consulates (and in some countries Honorary Consuls) are able to issue Emergency Passports.
For advice call the FCO on 0845 850 2829 or check the FCO website.
The main caveat is that the Emergency Passport will only be issued for a specific journey so you will need to show the countries that you intend to travel to or through and you will then have to stick to that itinerary.
You can only travel to or through five countries with an Emergency Passport.
You cannot travel to another country not named on the Emergency Passport. One other point to note is that the Emergency Passport is issued for a specified time after which it becomes invalid.
So, it's not cheap and it may not be convenient to make a detour to the nearest British Consulate.
Obviously it would be better to ensure that your passport has adequate validity for all the countries being visited (as well as sufficient clean pages for stamping - South Africa, for example, requires two empty pages in passports before entry to the country).
That said, if required it is a straightforward process which, as in our case, may save you from wrecking a trip.
Daniel Nash II