So, you just got your new passport in the mail? How exciting! An adult passport is good for 10 years if cared for properly. To avoid having to apply for another passport before your renewal date, here are some tips on how to take care of your new passport and protect it from being lost, stolen or damaged.
- Invest in a passport case. A case will keep your passport from being bent or frayed in your pocket or purse. As long as your passport stays closed, nobody should be able to read the information stored in the RFID chip in your passport. However, an RFID-proof case can provide an extra layer of protection.
- Always store your passport in the same place when you aren’t using it. This will help keep it from getting lost.
- When you travel, make copies of the information on your passport. Leave a copy with family at home and keep a copy in your bag. Keep the passport itself close to you, on the front side of your body and underneath your clothing, so you’ll feel it if someone tries to get a little too “friendly” with it.
- Keep your passport dry. A little bit of moisture won’t hurt it, but if it goes through the washing machine, you’ll have to get a new one.
- Store it out of the reach of children and pets.
If your passport gets lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll need to fill out and application for a new passport along with the lost/stolen/damaged passport form DS-64. Expect to wait at least 6 weeks if you apply with normal processing, and at least 3 weeks if you use the government’s expediting service.
Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged passport is easier and faster when you use a private passport expediting company. An expediting company can save you time and frustration by providing you with easy instructions on how to apply for a new passport. Then, they’ll deliver your new passport application by hand to the US Department of State, resulting in processing times as quick as 24 hours.