How To Fix A Damaged Passport

by erin on July 6, 2011

Your passport is a very important document that needs to be handled carefully. Mishandling could make it invalid. While some damage is obvious, the main point that causes much frustration is that officer who inspects your papers has the power to decide the validity of your documents. His judgment could be based on something that is arbitrary. So to prevent this from happening to you, do the prudent thing and apply for a replacement for your damaged passport.


The requirements for a replacement passport are similar to a new application. All applicants need to get a copy of the Application for a US Passport or Form DS-11. After filling out the form, submit this in person to the nearest acceptance center. This document cannot be submitted by mailing it.

DS-11 Form

There are documents that you need to bring when you submit your DS-11. One of them is your birth certificate. Be aware that recent changes of applying for a new one require that the full names of both parents should be present in the certificate. This rule is a potential setback if you manage to get your papers damaged in the future. To avert this possibility, have your documents inspected now and make the necessary corrections. Other required data that has to be indicated in your birth certificate are your full name, your date birth, and your place of birth.

Document Submission

When you submit your documents to the acceptance center, these will be inspected. You will also be asked for an ID picture of the requisite size. The next step, if your application is accepted, is paying for the processing fee. You may also add express delivery of your replacement document by mail if you want fast door-to-door delivery.

Travel Regularly

Most applicants have to wait for a month to one and a half months for the arrival of their new papers. When you travel regularly, you need to apply at the soonest possible time. Excuse yourself from work, fill out Form DS-11 and personally apply for a new one. Remember that the agent who will inspect your papers has much discretionary power and the basis for assessing your documents could be very flimsy at best. A smart person will get a replacement the moment he sees the slightest damage to his passport.

Expedited Process

For those who need their new papers in a hurry, they can choose to pay extra for an expedited processing. With waiting time reduced to three weeks, the extra cost could be well worth it. An express delivery by mail is included in the payment.

Application Status

There is also a way to monitor the status of your application. This is called online tracking. With online tracking, you need to provide your last name, you birthdate, and the last four digits of your social security number.

Travel Documents

It is very frustrating to find out that your travel documents are unacceptable. No matter what, you cannot do anything about it but cancel your travel plans. However, you have the right to have your documents replaced anytime with the proper passport forms. So do it at the earliest time to avoid the hassle of losing time and money because of a damaged passport.

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