Your US passport is one of your most valuable possessions, and you are probably very careful with it. However, no matter how careful we try to be, accidents happen. When it comes to passports, the most common causes of accidental damage are pets, toddlers, washing machines and for frequent travelers, normal wear and tear.
Whether your dog chewed it or you accidentally sent it through the spin cycle, you should never try to travel with a damaged passport. Any damage to the passport book makes airport authorities and border officials start thinking about potential fraud, and there is a very real possibility that you will not be allowed to travel.
To replace a damaged US passport, treat it just like you would a lost or stolen passport. Fill out Form DS-64, Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport, and describe how it was damaged. Then, you can either send your old passport in to be canceled and leave it at that or you can go ahead and apply for a new passport in person at a passport acceptance facility (see How To Apply for a New Passport for details.)
If you currently have a damaged passport, however, there’s a good reason to apply for a replacement now-the Department of State is planning to raise passport fees later this year.
Expect it to take at least 6 weeks to replace your damaged passport if you request regular processing, and at least weeks if you request the government’s expedited processing. If you need a passport sooner than that, the easiest way to get one is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport.com. We’ll walk you through the paperwork to help you avoid common mistakes that could cause delays, then personally walk your US passport application directly to the Department of State for super-fast processing-often as quick as 24 hours!