A damaged US passport is considered invalid and needs to be replaced at the
earliest. The damaged passport is retained and a fresh and new one is issued.
Title: Quick and easy 3 steps for getting replacement for a damaged or mutilated US passport
Severely damaged US passport is considered as invalid. Such a passport cannot be used during
international travel. The most interesting thing is that there is no clear or specific damaged passport
definition that can be obtained from anywhere. Even Federal Laws and Regulations have not been able
to throw much light on this matter. As per the regulations, a passport is ascertained to be invalid for
many reasons. Some important ones are:
There should be change in the composition and the physical appearance of the passport
There should be defective, damaged or nonfunctioning chip
There are unauthorized obliterations, changes, photographs or other entries in the passport
There is observable and significant wear and tear in the document
In all these conditions, the passport is considered to be invalid and cannot be used for international
travel. There are two things that the US State Department does in such situations. It takes away the
passport from the candidate or provides a written notice to the passport holder.
Understanding what extent of wear and tear is considered damaged is the main thing. In general a
mutilated US passport will contain severe damages like:
The main passport cover is cut or torn
Any internal page of the passport is cut, torn or has fallen out by chance
The passport cover has come off completely
There has been peeling off of lamination from the information page or from the photo
Water has caused damaged to the information page and the photo
Ink has run off making writings blur on the passport
Mold spots are seen
How to get damaged passport replacement done – 3 easy steps
Since very clear guidelines are not available as what is considered as ‘really damaged’ for the passport, it
is always better to be safe than sorry. The best thing to do is to replace the damaged passport and get a
fresh one instead. The steps are the same for getting a brand new passport.
Step 1 – Fill up the passport application form DS-11
Many people think that there is a separate damaged passport application form available. But there is
nothing of that sort. Application has to be done via Form DS-11 only. The form fill up can be done in two
ways. The first way is to fill up the form online and then get a printout of the same. The second way is to
download an empty DS-11 form and get it printed. Fill up this form legibly with black ink pen and make
sure that there are no errors in the same.
Along with this application form, there should be a letter, which is to be addressed to ‘US Department of
State’ and it should clearly state as how the passport got damaged. Sometimes the exact reason s not
known and that should be mentioned too. The letter should be signed in original and be in black or blue
Step 2 – Arrange all the necessary documents that have to be furnished with the form
Various kinds of documents have to be attached to the application form. They are as follows:
US citizenship evidence – it can either be an expired passport or original or certified copy of
Copy of any kind of ID, which has been issued by the state or driver’s license
Passport size photo in the right dimensions
Proof of travel plan or flight itinerary
Step 3 – Visiting the Passport Acceptance Facility
To get a new passport in lieu of the damaged one, the applicant has to go to the Passport Acceptance
Facility in person. This is also necessary when one looks to renew damaged passport. In the Passport
Acceptance Facility, a passport acceptance agent checks the application form and all the documents
thoroughly. Application fee for replacement of the damaged passport needs to be paid in favor of ‘US
State Department’. Along with this fee, there is also an acceptance agent fee, which needs to be paid.
Along with the application form, documents and the fee, the damaged passport also needs to be
submitted. Infact these passports are retained as well for security reasons. In case the passport has
normal wear and tear, it can be renewed via mail only.
Time taken for replacing the damaged US passport
With standard service, it takes minimum 4-6 weeks for processing a fresh passport against the damaged
one. Expedited services can also be availed if one is in real hurry. The time taken for delivery in these
cases is about 2-3 weeks only.
For emergency situations, people can seek assistance from general passport agencies who offer same
day services for various passport issues by asking additional charges for the services offered. Regional
passport agencies can also help in processing and acquiring same-day passport applications for US
citizens, who have urgent and emergency travel plans on the cards.