If a passport gets sufficiently damaged and it becomes unusable, it is easy to see that it must be replaced.
However, how much wear and tear constitutes enough damage to make a passport unusable? In order to travel internationally, it is essential to know when it is necessary to replace a damaged passport.
Check out these pointers to decide if your passport needs to be replaced, and what steps to follow.
How Do I Know if My Passport is Damaged?
In most cases, if a passport’s appearance has been fundamentally affected, it contains a damaged chip, or has incurred other superficial wear and tear, it will not be accepted as a travel document.
Therefore, significant passport damage includes:
- Water damage
- Faded pages
- Loose binding
- Tearing on the cover or pages
- Damage to the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip.
If your passport has sustained any such damage, then it should be replaced immediately as it will be invalid for travel. How to Replace a Damaged Passport
How to Replace a Damaged Passport
The process of replacing a damaged passport depends on the national passport issuing authority in your country of citizenship.
Some nations allow you to apply for your new document online, whilst other governments require you to apply in person at a processing facility.
Steps to Substitute a Damaged Passport
Once you’ve determined the severity of your passport’s damage, this is how you apply for a replacement:
- Complete an application form for a replacement passport
- Follow the ID requirements of your national issuing authority
- Provide a new passport-sized photo of yourself taken within the last 6 months
Some countries may also require you to relinquish your damaged passport and/or attach a signed statement detailing how the passport was damaged.
Once these documents have been submitted, it is necessary to pay the relevant passport application fees before the request can be submitted for processing.
What Happens to Visas in My Damaged Passport?
If you have any unexpired visas, online visas, or visa waivers for foreign countries registered with your damaged passport you will also need to replace these as well.
A visa is only valid with the same passport used for its application and approval. If you have to replace that document you will get a new passport number and will need to reapply with the country that previously issued your travel authorization.
Replacing a Damaged Passport for a Minor
If you need to replace a damaged passport for a minor, it is important to note that both parents must provide their details on the application form.
If the application must be submitted in person, both parents must also accompany the child to request a replacement in person.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Damaged Passport?
It usually takes several weeks for a passport application to be approved. In most cases that is between 3 and 6 weeks but it could take longer.
In some instances, it is possible to expedite the process in urgent cases by paying an extra service fee, but remember that depends on the issuing government.
How Do I Replace a Damaged Passport if I Am Abroad?
If you find yourself abroad when your passport incurs damage, you need to first find your nearest national embassy or consulate. The consular staff there will then either process an emergency travel document or submit a new application for a replacement document.