International Student Support

Lost Passport/Visa Outside the UK

Your passport, visa and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) are vital documents so you should make every effort to keep them safe. If your passport/ visa is lost or stolen outside UK, the procedures differ depending on what type of visa you have. Remember to take copied of your Passport, visa and Biometric Permit before you travel (electronic copies sent to your email are best as you can easily access them when overseas). Also, a travel insurance policy might cover you for some of the costs if they are lost or damaged.

We deal with an increasing number of cases where passports and visas have been lost/stolen both in the UK and overseas. It is known that thieves operate in European capital cities and target tourists. We therefore recommend that you do not carry your passport/visa with you unless absolutely necessary  (for example, when crossing borders or where required to do so by the police in the country you are visiting). It is much safer to leave it in a secure place in your home, or perhaps in a safe in the hotel where you are staying. Remember that if you do lose you visa when overseas, in most cases you will need to apply for a replacement before you can re-enter the UK, and this can take a number of weeks.

Please note that whenever you receive a new passport/ visa you are required to provide Sussex with a copy.

If your passport/ visa is stolen outside the UK. You should:-

1) Report this to the Police

Report the loss to the Police in the country you are in.

2) Report the loss to

You need to inform the team so that we can assist you if necessary. The team will provide you with scans of your passport/ visa and also a letter confirming your current student status.

3) Report the loss to the Home Office (if you have lost your BRP)

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), you will need to report the loss to the Home Office. Use the online form on their website. Please note that as soon as you report the loss your BRP will be cancelled, so even if you subsequently find it, you will still need to apply for a replacement.

4) Contact your embassy (if you have lost your passport)

If you have lost your passport you will need to contact your embassy in the country where you are to apply for a replacement passport (if necessary).

5) Contact the Home Office visa application centre

Contact the Home Office visa application centre in the country where you are to apply for a replacement visa (see below for more information).

6) Contact your travel insurance company

Contact your travel insurance company (if applicable) and your bank as they may be able to assist you with money or claiming some of the costs back.

If you have lost your visa, the process will then differ depending on whether you had a vignette (sticker) in your passport, or whether you had a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Details on this are below.

Please note that most Visa Application Centres (VACs) now offer priority services (for an additional fee) which mean your application will be processed quicker than normal. Details on this can be found in the 'added value services' section on the VAC pages. If you want this option make sure you choose it as part of the application process. A standard application can take up to 3 weeks to process. Please let us know if your absence from Sussex is going to cause any academic problems for you (for example missing exams, classes or deadlines) and we can liaise with your school about this.

If you have a Sticker or Stamp in your Passport

If you are outside the UK, see the Home Office's Entry Clearance Guidance, Paragraph ECB17.2 Replacing a visa (or leave) , which confirms that you must make a brand new application in order to replace it. You must pay the full application fee [£154]. No CAS is required but you should submit evidence of your current student status (we will provide you with this when you contact us to report the loss). The online form will require you to submit a CAS number - you should write "Visa replacement - not needed". You should explain in the additional information section of the online application about the loss/theft of your passport/visa and provide a copy of the police report. You may also want to include a covering letter with the application to make it clear that you are applying for a replacement visa after a loss/theft.  

If you make the application online you should choose the following options:

Reason for Visit - Other

Visa Type - Others

Visa sub type - Vignette Transfer

The UKVI guidance says that "If required, [the Entry Clearance Officer] may ask for supporting documentation to establish that [the applicant's] circumstances have not changed". UKCISA recently asked an Entry Clearance Manager at a European post what evidence may be required for such applications, and in what format. She responded as follows:

On maintenance: "We should not require evidence of maintenance, because this would have been satisfied when they originally applied, but this would be assessed on a case by case basis".

On evidence of studies: "[We] would expect to see evidence of continuing studies (usually in the form of a letter from the establishment they are attending)".

On format of evidence: "Whilst original documents are always preferable, a good quality copy would be acceptable, or internet documents (mentioning the full details of the applicant)".

As the replacement visa requires a Tier 4 application it tells applicants they should pay the immigration health charge, although this may not be required if you have already paid it. If you have previously paid this charge as part of a visa application, then you will need to pay it again and should receive a refund. You could state in the additional information section of the online form that you have already paid the charge and request that a refund is processed. If you have not previously paid the charge you will need to pay it and a refund will not be issued.

A successful application should give you a 30 day vignette which you can use to travel to the UK and you will then collect a BRP (visa) on arrival. The BRP should contain the same conditions and length of leave as your original visa. Please follow the instructions at the end of the above guide to completing the online form so you can collect your BRP from Sussex. It is possible that you may receive a vignette with a visa expiry date which is the same as your original visa. If this is the case you will not need to collect a BRP on arrival in the UK.

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

What do I need to do before travelling to the UK?

Follow the guidance on the Home Office website. This explains that you will need to apply for a Replacement BRP visa (normally valid for one month) which you will use once to return to the UK. On the online application you should choose the following options:

Reason for Visit - Other

Visa Type - Others

Visa sub type - Replacement Biometric Residence Permit


What do I need to do once I am back in the UK?

Once back in the UK you will need to follow the instructions below on how to apply for a replacement BRP card. It is important you do this before your short term visa expires. Failure to apply within one month of returning to the UK can result in a £1,000 fine or curtailment of your visa. Also note that your replacement BRP visa has the following condition on it - "Employment Prohibited". This means that you should not work until you receive your replacement BRP.

The guidance on the Home Office website states what to do if you lose your BRP. You will need to apply for your replacement BRP card within one month of returning to the UK.

If you have more than 3 months' leave left (the guidance to the BRP(RC) says 4 weeks, but the UKVI has confirmed that it is 3 months in line with the information on their website, apply for a replacement BRP within 1 month of returning to the UK using:

- this Home Office weblink 

Download our guide to completing the Replacement BRP card (online form)

You must apply for a replacement if you have more than 3 months' leave remaining even if you plan to leave the UK soon. If you don't do this you may receive a fine, have your leave curtailed and/or any future immigration applications you make to come to the UK may be affected. However, it can take up to 8 weeks for a replacement BRP card to be issued. It is very important that you do not let your leave expire while you wait for the Home Office to send you a new BRP, as you will become an overstayer (which is an illegal status in the UK). Please contact one of our immigration advisers if you think you will need to leave the UK soon, and the Home Office have not returned your BRP.

There are two ways you can make this application, by post (£56, you receieve your replacement BRP card within 8-10 weeks) or in person (£666+, you receive your replacement BRP card within 2-3 weeks).

It is possible to select the Premium Service option for the replacement BRP application. The service can be booked online when you complete the online form . You will be able to choose when and where you wish to attend (there are 7 Premium Service Centres). You will be required to pay the full fee (£666+) online first, print out the confirmation, and bring the completed form and documents when you attend the appointment. You will normally receive a decision at the Premium Service Centre and your BRP card will be sent by post within 7-10 working days.

Do not make travel plans until you have received your new BRP card to avoid having to cancel your trip.

If you wish to speak with an Adviser please ensure that you have completed the online form to the best of your ability and bring the required documents with you to a Quick Question session.

What do I do when I receive my replacement BRP card?

  • Take it to the Student Systems and Records Office so the university can scan the new visa to your record
  • Update your Police Registration Certificate with the new BRP (if you have a Police Registration Certificate)
  • Keep your BRP somewhere safe with your passport 


International Student Support

T +44 (0)1273 67 8422