How to Replace a Damaged Passport
Significantly damaged passports
are automatically invalidated and can no longer be used for
international travel. The definition of what actually constitutes a
significantly damaged passport is not easy to ascertain. Even Federal
Regulations do not offer a lot of help on this subject.
In the section on passport invalidity, the regulation states, "A United States passport is invalid as soon as:
"The passport has been materially changed in physical appearance or
composition, or contains a damaged, defective or otherwise
nonfunctioning chip, or includes unauthorized changes, obliterations,
entries or photographs, or has observable wear or tear that renders it
unfit for use as a travel document, and the Department either takes
possession of the passport or sends a written notice to the bearer."
The most difficult description to
understand is "observable wear and tear". How "observable" does the
damage have to be in order for it to be rendered invalid. Are
dog-earred pages sufficient wear and tear to render the passport
unusable? Not usually. What if the gold on the emblem has been rubbed
off? Not a big deal. What if you accidentally washed a passport
resulting in faded pages or a loose binding? This one is a little more
difficult to answer.
And how are you to know if the RFID chip
is "damaged, defective or otherwise nonfunctioning" until it is scanned at the airport?
Tears and holes are definitely considered significant damage
especially if they are found on the cover or personal data page.
Unofficial markings on the data page can get it invalidated. It is much
more difficult to determine the degree that water damage has affected
Due to the relative nature of the regulation, we always
encourage American citizens to replace a damaged passport if they have
any doubt at all about its usability. Yes, you will have to pay the
fees to get a new passport but it is probably better than the hassle of
having to reschedule or cancel an international trip at the last
If your passport has been damaged and you want to apply for a
replacement, you can do this by following the same steps that are
required in order to obtain a new passport
The only additional step is you have to submit the damaged passport
along with the application form and supporting documents. For security
reasons, damaged passports may be retained.
Passport with only normal wear and tear can be renewed by mail.
Replace a Damaged Passport Fast
The application to replace a damaged passport using standard
service takes 4-6 weeks to process. You can accelerate the process by
requesting expedited service. The replacement passport should be
delivered to you within 2-3 weeks. What if you need a new travel
document much quicker?
Regional passport agencies can process same-day passport
applications for citizens of the United States who have urgent travel
plans. There are two ways to get this done. One, schedule an appointment at the nearest regional agency
You will have to travel to the agency and submit the application
yourself. If you live far away or do not have the time to commit to the
process, you can use the second alternative. Authorize a qualified passport expediter to submit the application for a replacement for you
Click for expedited passport courier service in 24 to 48 hours!
Expedite Your Passport Now!
Click to Call for Expedited Service!