A passport can be damaged as a result of many factors. If the damage was from water, a tear, unofficial markings, missing visa pages, or a hole punch, you must replace the passport. Normal wear and tear will not necessarily mean you need to change your document as long as there is no damage to the photograph or the chip found inside the book. If you try to use a damaged passport, the State Department can confiscate it or send you a written notice to replace it.
When to Replace a Damaged Passport
It is best to replace a damaged passport when there are visible damages to the book. The damages could be to the covers or inside. If pages are torn or missing, the letters on the pages are fading due to water exposure, or the RFID chip is damaged. There could be other damages that are not visible to the eyes. So, if you think you should replace your damaged passport, go ahead and apply for a replacement.
So, you should replace your damaged passport if:
- It is torn an any way
- The binder is loose or is frayed
- Faded pages because of water exposure
- The RFID chip is damaged
Documents To Replace a Damaged Passport
When you apply to replace a damaged passport, use the list on the application form to gather the supporting materials. You must also submit the damaged passport with the application. So, you must provide Form DS-11, Application for a New Passport and:
- The damaged passport
- A signed statement explaining the damaged document
- Passport size photo
- Proof of identity
- Proof of citizenship
- Application fees
To submit the documents, you can visit any acceptance facility in your county.
Submitting Your Passport Application
You can submit your papers at a post office, county clerk’s office, or a public library. You have two options for processing. The standard processing takes 4-6 weeks then you get a new passport in the mail. The next choice is expediting and takes 2-3 weeks. It will cost an extra $60. You will also get the document in the mail after processing.
If you have an emergency and you must travel sooner than two weeks, you can hire a private expeditor or visit a regional agency. Both can get you a passport in 24 hours if necessary. You must pay for the service and the cost of the passport.
Protect Your New Passport
Now that you have your new document, you should shore it in a safe and secure place. Avoid any damages so that you don’t need to get another replacement. Keep in mind an adult passport is valid for ten years and a minor for five years. So, you will have it for a while before you need to replace it. Protect it, and you may have it for its entire life.