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How long does it take to get an emergency British passport in South Africa?

South Africa is home to several hundred thousand British expats who enjoy the warm climate, friendly locals and other advantages that the country has to offer. 

MyBritishPassport is every UK expat’s one-stop shop in South Africa when it comes to renewing their British passports. 

While UK passport renewals are fairly straightforward processes, even if applied for from South Africa, emergency British passports are a bit more complicated. 

Here at MyBritishPassport, we regularly receive queries regarding emergency British passports or travel documents and have decided to put together this helpful guide to assist you: 

Can I apply for an emergency UK passport in South Africa? 

Yes, you can apply for an emergency British passport from South Africa! 

You will need to begin the process by applying online as soon as possible on the www.gov.uk website. 

To qualify for an emergency passport (or emergency travel document, as it is sometimes called), ALL of the following would need to apply to you:

  • You are a UK citizen or national
  • You are currently located outside of the United Kingdom
  • Your current British passport has been either stolen, misplaced, lost, damaged, expired, is now full or with the passport office or British embassy
  • You have imminent travel plans with not enough time to apply for a new passport
  • You are able to provide written confirmation of your travel plans (such as confirmed airline tickets)

It’s normally not possible to obtain an emergency passport if you have never held a British passport. In such cases, you’d need to apply for a UK passport. 

Once you have applied online, you will be given instructions on what to do next. This might involve having to attend a face-to-face appointment with the British Consulate, High Commission or Embassy nearest to you. 

In the case of theft, you will likely need to visit the closest police station to file a police report. 

If you do not meet these criteria but will be traveling in the next few months, you will need to apply for a passport in the normal way. You can click here to start the application process today.

Since British passport renewals take longer if you are located in South Africa and have been delayed due to the Coronavirus, you can select the fast track option. This will ensure that your new passport will be issued in the next 3 weeks. 

Need some advice or assistance with applying for your British passport from South Africa? This is MyBritishPassport’s area of speciality and we would be delighted to help you! Click here to get in touch.

How long will it take for my emergency British passport to be processed? 

After you have completed all the necessary forms, your emergency travel document should be ready within 2 working days. With the current Covid-19 pandemic, things are taking a little longer, so it’s best to apply as soon as you know you’ll need an emergency passport. 

An emergency UK passport normally takes longer if the application is for a child below the age of 16. Delays can also be expected if you have not paid the required fee, you have not provided the correct supporting documentation or you have not given enough information for the document to be processed. 

Can I apply for an emergency travel document for another person? 

Yes, it is possible to apply on behalf of another person. The person may be required to attend an appointment at the British Embassy themselves, though, and they will also need to collect the emergency passport in person. 

If you are applying for an emergency passport on behalf of a minor, the child will need to be accompanied by the parents to the embassy appointment. If the parents are not able to attend, they will need to provide a signed consent letter. 

What is the emergency passport valid for? 

The emergency UK passport is valid for a limited time period and travel itinerary only. 

When you apply for your emergency travel document, you’ll need to let the British embassy have your confirmed travel details and itinerary. 

They will then issue the emergency travel document to cover those travel plans only. 

This means that if you change your flight routing or dates between the time you receive your emergency travel document and when you depart, it may well become invalid. 

When applying for an emergency British travel document, we recommend that you double check your travel arrangements and confirm that you will indeed be using those flights. 

You should also note that an emergency passport only allows you to travel through up to 5 countries. 

If your final destination is the United Kingdom, your emergency travel document will likely be kept by border staff and you will need to apply for a new passport as soon as possible. 

For more information on how to speed up your British passport application from South Africa read this interesting article; “5 ways to speed up your British passport application from South Africa”

Contact MyBritishPassport

MyBritishPassport specialises in British Passport renewals from abroad. Contact us below today.

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Being of the older generation, I found that dealing with My British Passport an absolute pleasure, all aspects of the... procedure of applying for new passports were handled very professionally and timeously, I have absolutely no trouble in recommending them to anyone.read more
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Sincerely thanking 'Hanel' at MyBritishPassport for her professional assistance in helping me secure my renewed British... Passport swiftly and without any hassle whatsoever! I can thoroughly recommend this service!read more
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Highly efficient, fast, service, with no hidden extra costs. Kept informed at all times during application, courier... service, progress report, and delivery. 24 days from collection to delivery. Would highly recommend to anyone needing a new or renewed British Passport. Thanks especially. to Hanel Smithread more
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Miguel, who handled my renewal was so professional and helpful at all times. He was so patient when I got things... wrong. Once my documents were on their way he kept me posted on what was happening. Thank you so much, I will recommend your service to anyone who needs a seamless passport renewal. Regards Mary Tuckerread more
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