Have you renewed your passport recently? Check it over closely to be sure the information on the personal data page is correct. Mistakes are rare, but they do happen, and must be corrected before traveling. As you admire your new passport, check for the following passport renewal mistakes:
Passport Renewal Mistakes: Your Name is Wrong
Is your name spelled correctly? Even if you have an easy one like “John Smith,” check and make sure. Typos and spelling mistakes are not unheard of and could wreck your trip if not corrected in time. For example, this unfortunate gentleman on FlyerTalk may have missed out on a major business trip:
“I got the Passport back today and my last name was misspelled. I double checked the application and I spelled it correctly there (it was also spelled correctly on my old Passport). Not surprisingly, the Korean visa also has my last name misspelled.
I don’t know how we are going to get this fixed in time. I need the Passport and visa back by Saturday morning at the latest. Since I have the Passport here now and we can’t get it back in the hands of the visa guy until tomorrow morning, there is probably not enough time to get it fixed.”
Passport Renewal Mistakes: Your Birthday is Incorrect
What if your birthday is wrong? While some of us might not mind being either a little older or a little younger, if your passport comes back with the wrong birthdate you should get it corrected before you try to travel. You might think no one would notice, and years ago you might have been right. Since 2010, the TSA’s Secure Flight Program has required that you provide your birthdate when you buy a plane ticket, and the information on your ID needs to match.
Passport Renewal Mistakes: Wrong Photo
Picture this: you open your new passport, expecting to see a familiar face looking back at you. Instead, you find yourself staring into the eyes of a stranger. This is extremely rare. But it has happened. It happened to Raven Brunson, a contributor on The Points Guy:
A few weeks later, my passport is delivered. Wait, let me rephrase that: My information is displayed on my passport, but not my face. I may be blond haired and blue eyed, but this girl in the picture was not me.
Passport Renewal Mistakes: Wrong Gender
Surely you don’t have to worry about the gender on your passport being wrong, right? Wrong! Typos happen, even to the “girliest” girls and the “manliest” men. And while it might seem like an easy mistake to overlook, someone will probably catch on eventually. For example, Alex shared the following story on The Points Guy website:
My brother’s passport was marked as female, and it took until entering Israel before anybody noticed. That was about a dozen countries in with the new passport!
Alex doesn’t share how his brother’s story ended, but I’d imagine it could end in considerable hassle if you got the wrong customs officer. Your travel time is valuable — best to play it safe!
How to Correct A Mistake on Your Passport
Fortunately, most passport mistakes are easily corrected…as long as you have enough time. To correct a mistake, simply
- Fill out Form DS-5504
- Send it in with one new passport photo and evidence to support the correction (usually a birth certificate, a marriage certificate or a court order).
Printing errors are corrected free of charge, and you should have your corrected passport back within six weeks. Pay a $60 expedite fee, and you can expect your passport back within three weeks.
But what if you need it sooner than that? Remember Raven Brunson, the blogger who got a passport with the wrong photo in it? Here’s what happened to her:
In the end, they took the mistake passport back and promised expedited shipping for the return of my corrected one — which didn’t even come on time by the way. Maybe it’s a good thing my Paris trip was cancelled. It’s not like I would have had my passport in time anyway.
If you don’t want to miss your trip, you have two choices:
- Go to the nearest Regional Passport Agency (find the closest Regional Passport Agency here) OR
- Use a third-party expediter like RushMyPassport
At RushMyPassport, we hand-deliver your passport to the Department of State for processing in as little as 24 hours. Whether you need a new passport, a passport renewal or a correction, we’re here to help you get it done in a hurry.
Ready to get started? Try our easy passport renewal process today!