Can you travel with a damaged passport? Many people have posted this question on different forums and try to get a correct answer when they find their passports are worn or damaged before they go abroad. They don’t want to ruin their honey money, study tourism or business trips. Anyway, the answer depends on how much a damaged passport it is. 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. On your flight, your passport must pass through U.S. Department of State regulations, airline employees, TSA security officials, and a local immigration official. Any party could refuse your entry if they feel your passport is mutilated. It’s better to be safe than sorry – if your passport is starting to look rough, get a new one!

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Step 1: Know what is considered a damaged passport

Sometimes you are confused about “How do we know if a passport is damaged or normal wear and tear?” or “Should we apply for a passport renewal or get a passport replacement?” What about a subtle beverage or food stain on one of the pages? Undoubtly you will feel so stressed when you find something wrong with your passport. Let’s see what is regarded as a damaged passport.

In most cases, if your passport is just showing wear and tear from your travels, you can apply for an early passport renewal, which is far from easy to get an eligible new one. The following would be considered normal wear and tear:

  • Minor water damage, but the information/photo page remains legible.
  • Curling and worn edges on pages.
  • Creased or bent covers.

If your passport has been severely damaged, it will be considered “mutilated” by the US State Department and you need to re-prove your US citizenship in order to replace your damaged passport. According to the State Department’s definition, examples of such severe damages are:

  • The passport cover has been torn or cut.
  • The passport cover has fallen off.
  • Any internal page has been torn, cut, or dropped.
  • Lamination on the photo/information page has been removed.
  • The information/photo page has been damaged by water and is showing mould spots or the ink has run out.
  • Addition of illegal entries, markings, or photographs.

If a passport’s composition, physical structure, or microchip, has obviously changed from its original form, the Department of State regards it as damaged or ineligible for use. If you have a damaged passport and need some biometric photos in a hurry, you can use online passport photo tools which helps you generate government-compliant photos anywhere in the U.S.

Step 2: Provide all documents required to apply for a damaged passport replacement

If your U.S. passport bears any of the damage described in the previous section, it’s time to apply for a new passport. No matter your passport is damaged, lost or stolen, follow these instructions below to get a damaged passport replacement.

  • Proof of US Citizenship – a birth certificate (an original or certified copy) or an expired passport. Please note that an expired passport may not be accepted as proof of citizenship, if your appearance has changed significantly.
  • Passport Application Form DS-11 can be completed offline or online at and printed.
  • A letter with your blue or black ink original signature is addressed to “US Department of State” that explains how your passport came to be damaged.
  • One 2×2-inch new government-compliant passport photo.
  • Photocopy of your driver’s license or other state-issued ID (front and back)
  • Two checks for the replacement of damaged passports, one to the U.S. Department of State for $130 and a secondcheckfor $35 for the Passport Acceptance Agent fee.

Step 3: How to Replace Your Damaged Passport Photos with AiPassportPhotos

Trust me, it is frustrating to deal with a damaged passport, especially with upcoming travel. But you can take the stress out of getting government-compliant passport photos by using online photo editing tools, such as AiPassportPhotos, which is available on any devices to get new passport photos quickly and easily.

  • Open AiPassportPhotos’ website on your devices.
  • Select document type and select U.S. and U.S. passport photos.
  • Select and upload an image from your photo library. The process takes some time.
  • Automatic crop size. U.S. passport photos have strict size and proportion specifications that you must follow. AI technology intelligently scans your passport photos online, resizes the photo, changes the background, and improves overall photo quality.
  • Save printable templates and get them printed in stores that offer photo services at a better price and quickly.

Get your perfect biometric photos with a compliance guarantee online and you don’t need to go in person large chain stores with printing facilities, camera stores, and post offices offerring passport photo services in U.S.

Step 4: Find a Passport Acceptance Agent

Once you have prepared all the requirements, find and go to the nearest Passport Acceptance Agent from the U.S. Department of State’s Facility Search Page, which will review your damaged passport replacement application and then will seal it into an official envelope. Some agents require that you call ahead to make an appointment.

Step 5: Submit your passport application to replace your damaged passport processed in one of three ways:

By Mail – The Passport Acceptance Agent can mail the sealed envelope with your passport replacement application to be processed at the National Passport Center.

At a Passport Agency – Make an appointment to go in person to one of the nearest Passport Agencies for faster service than is available by mail.

By a Passport Expediting Company – Passport expediting companies offer a fast and convenient way to have your damaged passport replaced. A reputable company can process your passport replacement as little as one week.

Step 6: Wait for your new passport

The routine application for a damaged passport replacement sent by mail can take up to 8 weeks to complete. Or you can have your new passport back in your hands in 4-6 weeks, and apply for an expedited passport replacement service by mail, which will cost you an extra $60 in government fees.


Find out if your passport is badly damaged enough to require the procedure listed here or simply apply for an early passport renewal instead, which could be easier. If your passport is badly damaged, you will not be able to use it until you have gone through the mutilated passport replacement procedure to obtain a new passport. Remember to protect your passport.