Passport damage: official definition of ‘wear and tear’ and how to get a new one
After the former Miss Universe was stranded in Bali because her passport was considered too water damaged to be accepted, do you know if your passport is in good enough condition to fly?
With countries around the globe cracking down on their restrictions regarding passports, this is how to ensure you won’t be stopped when trying to travel.
What is defined as a damaged passport?
According to the UK government website, a damaged passport is one that goes beyond the definition of “wear and tear”.
When looking at a passport that might fall under the definition of wear and tear, the examiner would look at details such as the travel history of the passport - multiples visas and stamps would indicate heavy use and therefore wear and tear is more likely to occur.
A passport that goes past wear and tear and into damaged territory is one that is not in a condition to be accepted as proof of identity.
Damage may include:
- Details that are indecipherable
- The laminate has been lifted, this could indicate the possibility that the photo has been switched
- Discolouration to the bio-data page
- Chemical or ink spillage on any of the pages
- Missing or detached pages, or pages that are on the verge of coming loose
- The chip has been identified as damaged after investigation
For new style e-passports, if the chip or antenna shows through the end paper on the back cover, it would also be considered as damaged.
How do I get a new passport?
If your passport is damaged, or expired, you’ll need to get a new one.
It costs £75.50 renew or replace your passport if you do so online, and £80 if you fill out a paper form.
It should take around three weeks for you to get your new passport - however, it may take longer if the form hasn’t been filled out correctly, or additional information is needed.
What if I need it sooner than that?
If you urgently need a new passport, you can go about applying three ways:
Using this service, you’ll apply, pay and book an appointment online. The earliest appointment you can get is two days from when you apply.
You’ll get your new passport at your appointment. These appointments can last up to 30 minutes. It will cost you £177.
You can only use this service for a red adult passport that has already expired, or is about to expire. You can book an appointment online here.Paper premium
You’ll need to fill out a paper application form from a Post Office and then book an appointment online and pay the fee.
You’ll normally get your new passport four hours after your appointment, but if your appointment is later in the day, you might get it the next day - you’ll be told when you’ll receive your new passport when you choose your appointment time.
This service costs £177. Once you’ve filled out your application form, you can book your appointment online here. You can use this service to renew an adult passport, or change the name on your passport (with a marriage or civil partnership certificate).
One week fast track
Your passport will be delivered to your house within a week of your appointment - someone will need to sign for it. Similarly to the paper premium service, you’ll need to get an application form from a Post Office, book an appointment online and pay the fee.
You can book your appointment online here.You can use this service to renew an adult or child passport and replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, as well as make changes to your personal details. This service will cost £142 for an adult passport and £122 for a child passport.
If you need advice about passports, you can also talk to the government passport advice line.
You can phone them on 0300 222 0000 between 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, or 9am to 5:30pm on weekends and public holidays. Or you can talk to an adviser using their web chat service here.Alternatively you can also use their online enquiry form for more general questions - you can’t book an appointment using this service.