Nothing can be as frustrating as finding out that your passport is no longer useful because it has been damaged one way or another. We all know the stress US citizens pass through to get a passport, so if it is damaged, the frustration the owner feels is understandable. If you plan to apply for a visa or take a trip in the coming weeks or months, the smart thing to do is to plan ahead and ensure that everything is in order; one way to do that is to check that your passport is in good condition. If not, you need to apply for a replacement damaged passport.
US citizens can apply for a passport card or passport book replacement as long as they have all the documents required to complete the application. But they cannot apply for a replacement for a lost or stolen passport or a damaged passport. To have your damaged passport replaced you have to apply for a fresh passport at any of the passport offices.
Replacing Your Damaged US Passport
Passports damaged by water or fire cannot be used again; no embassy will accept them, nor can you use them to board an airline. Furthermore, you cannot apply for renewal since the Department of State will not accept it as proof of your current passport or identity. However, the US government has made it possible for citizens to replace their damaged passports with new one.
Requirements For Applying For A Damaged Passport
Here are the items you will need to apply for your damaged passport.
The Damaged Passport: You will need to present the damaged passport to officials as evidence that you once had it, which is no longer useful.
Signed Statement: You must write and sign a statement explaining the extent of the damage. This statement must be signed by you, not someone else, on your behalf.
Form DS-11: You must complete this application form for a new passport. This is the only application form allowed for passport replacement.
Evidence of Citizenship: Since the current passport is damaged, you cannot use it to prove your citizenship. Rather you will need some other document like a naturalization certificate, birth certificate, and the like. Also, include a copy of the citizenship document you use.
ID Card: The passport facility will request an ID card. This must be presented to you in person.
Passport photo: One clear passport 2x2 photo.
Application Fee: The application fee must be paid with a money order or bank cheque.
Note: Kindly note that you must apply for a passport replacement in person and not by mail or by proxy. Only parents or guardians can apply for a passport replacement for their kids or wards using the required documents.
Also, those who have lost their citizenship evidence and can’t apply for a replacement may request a file search. The officials at the passport facility will search for data for the previous passport on their system and generate a new one using that information.
It takes about 7-10 weeks to get your new passport after applying for it. If you don’t want to cancel your travel plans, it may be wise to apply for the passport on time.
Traveling As A Matter Of Urgency
In case you need to travel, as a matter of urgency, going the normal route will not serve your interest; what you need is to apply for expedited service. This will ensure that you get the new passport in 2 weeks or less so you can embark on your trip. Expedited service costs an extra $60, but you must book an appointment with the passport agency.
A date will be scheduled for you to turn up with your documents and explain to officials as to why you must make the trip so soon. If they are convinced, then they will expedite the processing.
Passport Card vs. Passport Booklet
Many people are confused about the passport card and the passport booklet, but they are the same thing but with slight differences. Passport booklets are for air, sea, and land travel and are more expensive to replace ($130). Passport cards, on the other hand, are for land travels instead. While it may be possible to damage your passport card and request a passport booklet replacement if the official in charge accepts your request, this is not always the case for most applicants. The standard practice is to replace the damaged passport with the same passport type.
If you likely travel frequently by air, consider applying for a 52-page passport instead of a 25-page passport.
You can apply for a replaced damaged passport in the US only in person, not by proxy or mail. Visit a passport agency in your city today to request a replacement—endeavor to go with your documents for verification.