There are four key cases when someone should apply for a new passport:
When you have never held one
When your original passport is about to expire
When your original passport got lost, stolen or badly damaged
When there are changes to your name, gender or appearance
If you hold a child passport, you can keep it until its validity expires, even if the validity goes over the time you become legally an adult.
It’s essential that you start the application process a couple of months before expiration as the length of the procedure can be substantial.
In case your passport gets stolen or lost, it’s very important that you report the loss as soon as you are aware of it, for the Passport office to shut your passport number down as soon as possible.
One can never be careful enough but there are several precautions which you can also do, to ensure that your passport stays safe.
Keep your passport in one specific closed place and always the same place. When you are not at home it’s best to make sure it’s closed at all times. If the place is not as obvious its even the better. If you have an old style drawer which often comes with hidden spaces it’s wise to keep it there.
Have your passport photo section scanned and with you at all times. This will save you from all sorts of problems when it comes to proving your passport status, checking or eligibility or provide with the passport number in case it gets lost, stolen or damaged.
Before travel, ensure that you have your passport with you. Do not ever pack it in your suitcase; it should be with you in your hand luggage at all times.
When you are abroad, you should either keep your passport in a safe of a hotel or it should be with you at a very secure space. Never leave your handbag alone and make sure it’s never out of your sight.
You should not hand your passport to anyone except if it’s confirmed to be a police or governmental worker.
Keep track of the expiration date: you would need to apply months before in order to ensure you always have a valid passport with you.
If you are a frequent traveller, you can also get a jumbo passport (48 pages instead of 32 pages) this way you won’t need to apply for a new passport if the 32 pages are not enough to handle all the stamps and visas.
Get all your visas inside your passport scanned as well. This way, if a passport gets lost or damaged, you will have proper definite information of the visa at hand.
Check through your clothes before washing and also get a waterproof holder for your passport if you want a double protection.
It’s always good to take the precautions to make sure your password won’t get lost or stolen. Also, the scans will make sure you will instantly know your passport and visa details to report it effectively. Call the British Passport Contact Number in case of any emergency or if you have any further questions.