The moment you notice that your passport is damaged, you should move to have it replaced immediately. The sooner you act, the less it will affect any future plans you have in mind for traveling. It is fortunate that there exists a clear-cut procedure that shows how this is done. This short note summarizes the important steps one has to do to get a replacement.
Get A New One
Even though you think that the damage is minor, it is still a good idea to get a new one. You do not want the scenario where you are in a foreign land only to be denied entry because the inspector thinks you possess invalid documents. He has the last word and you cannot do anything more. So avoid this expensive hassle and just get a replacement.
Those getting a replacement for a damaged passport are considered new applicants. So they have to gather the required paperwork for a new application. These documents are a certified birth certificate and a completed Form DS-11. They also need to get a passport-sized photo.
For those who had their passports for a long time, they should know that on April 2011, a new rule was introduced regarding the use of the birth certificate when applying for passports. The rule says that the full names of the applicant’s mother and father should be present in the document. If these names are missing, the application cannot proceed. You must take steps to correct the missing data in your certificate.
You May Have To Go In Person
After completing the paperwork, the applicants have to present themselves at the nearest acceptance center. They will be interviewed and their documents inspected. After satisfying the documentation, they will be asked to pay for the replacement processing fee. There are two types of fees. One is for a regular application and the other is for the expedited processing fee.
The expedited processing fee is more expensive. Aside from handling your request in an urgent manner, the fee already includes the express delivery of the replacement passport using a door-to-door courier service. Expect this process to finish in three weeks. Regular processing finishes in a month to a month and two weeks. You can even get a next day passport.
After one week has passed after paying the processing fee, the status of your application can be monitored on line. This web tracking service is available to all applicants provided they log in with their last names, date of birth, and the last four parts of their Social Security Number. Note that this is a free service.
After getting the passport replacement, the owners should be more careful in handling their passports. This could be one of the most important personal documents anyone can possess. While it is true that money was spent in replacing this document, the cost is very small compared to cancelled flights and tickets the moment it is realized that your passport is invalid. Soon after you notice that your US passport is damaged, move quickly to have it replaced as soon as possible.