Damaged Passport Affected Slightly or Unacceptably: Bent, Water, Torn & More

June 4, 2024

3 min. read


what is considered a damaged passport

Have you washed and dried your passport while doing laundry? Or did your dog have a good taste of it? Ah well! Things happen, but so many questions come up at once. Is your passport slightly damaged still valid? What is considered a mutilated or damaged passport? Shall I do something about it?

Let’s draw a roadmap for you here step by step.

In Focus

What is a damaged passport?

A damaged US passport meaning is a mutilated passport that has significant damages and can prevent border authorities, government officials, and recognition software from identifying you with your document. The state of your passport is no longer considered valid.

Generally, a U.S. passport is issued for 5 or 10 years. No matter how carefully you’re with it between renewing, it might fade and experience a little tear and wear. Though your passport shouldn’t be all spick-and-span, the undamaged passport government rules are pretty strict.

How to tell significant passport damage from normal passport fade?

The normal “wear and tear” of a U.S. passport is a standard course of its usage, extensive opening and closing, and wearing in a pocket without a case. This isn’t considered passport-damaging. The normal condition also includes the bend of a passport or fanning of the visa pages.

The significant damages are water passport damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, torn-out visa pages, a hole punch, or other mutilated passport injuries. It’s specifically vital for the book cover or the key page with your personal data and photo.

What is considered a damaged passport or mutilated: full list?

unacceptable damaged passport

We put together almost all the possible issues you can come across with your damaged or mutilated passport. Once you find the significant damage that you can trace in your passport, be on the safe side and get a new passport.

Apply for damaged passport replacement with a relevant passport application form and two 2×2-inch passport photos. You can easily get your picture taken with PhotoBooth Online now without leaving home, or visit a pharmacy or a store, say for a Target passport photo, in person.

Now let’s tick all the boxes and go through the list of significant damages of a current passport:

  • A loose or missing passport cover
  • Frayed or loose binding
  • Torn, cut, or trimmed pages or covers
  • Twisted out of normal shape, hanging threads
  • Peeling or broken plastic
  • Unauthorized markings and stickers of any kind (except for official border or visa stickers)
  • Spill and liquid water damages
  • Damage of Radio Frequency Identification Chip
  • Hole punches

How do I replace a damaged passport with a new passport?

The process of damaged US passport replacement differs from a standard passport change. Once you define your passport damages, it’s time to learn the list of necessary documents for processing and where you can submit your paperwork to the passport office

You can only do it in person at an acceptance facility, embassy, or passport agency with an appointment. You will need to have the necessary documents to be able to replace your the document:

  1. The passport itself
  2. Proof of citizenship as birth or naturalization certificate
  3. Photocopy of citizenship evidence
  4. Proof of Identity as driver’s license or state-issued ID
  5. Photocopy of your ID
  6. 2 passport photos
  7. Paid passport fees (A mutilated passport fee is the same as for standard passport replacing)
  8. A signed statement explaining the damaged or mutilated condition of your passport
  9. Damage Form DS-11 that you can find here The best way is to complete it online, save it for printing out, then submit.

How to be sure the damaged passport needs replacing?

If you are still hesitant whether you need to do something about your damaged or mutilated passport or can’t find the new passport application out of the many passport applications, we recommend dropping by a local passport office to make sure you need to take action about the passport slight damage.

As a rule of thumb, with passport damage, there is always a conservative approach. If you can’t get a firm confirmation that the damage to your document is insignificant, then your safest bet is to replace a passport. It will help you to avoid issues at the countries’ borders and airport checkpoints while traveling.