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Do Not Travel With a Damaged Passport

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Do Not Travel With a Damaged Passport

A traveler should not travel with a damaged passport because this can cause serious international security issues. The last thing a traveler needs is to be detained by customs officials and interrogated by a foreign government. Replacing the document prior to the next trip is the best way to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Having a damaged passbook makes the individual ineligible to apply for passbook renewal through the mail. The person will need to begin the passbook application process from step one, as if he or she was applying for a passbook for the first time. The government has placed these stringent guidelines in place to prevent security breaches and assure the safety of all U.S. residents.

The person with a damaged passport will need to obtain the DS-11 application document through the State Department Web site, Passport Acceptance Facility, or Passport Agency. The online version of the form may be completed either electronically or by hand, but it must then be printed. It cannot be submitted online, due to current government policy. If the form is completed by hand, the applicant should print legibly, because anything that cannot be read by the government agents will delay processing.

Applicants must take this application and other required documentation to a Passport Agency or Acceptance Facility. They should not sign or date the DS-11 application until they are instructed to do so by the government agent. The agent will require that applicants provide their Social Security number and this information will be verified.

The documents required in addition to the passbook application prove the individual’s citizenship and identity. A certified birth certificate or previously issued undamaged U.S. Passport may be supplied. The birth certificate must have a registrar seal, signature, and filing date. Those who were born in another country may provide a naturalization or citizenship certificate or a certification or report of birth abroad issued by a consulate. Those who do not have any of these may submit certain forms of secondary documentation as listed by the State Department on its Web site.

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Each form of identification must be accompanied by a photocopy of the item. There are very detailed instructions regarding how these photocopies must be made, so applicants should refer to the government Web site. An identifying witness that testifies to the identity of the applicant must submit a photocopy of identification as well. All of these stipulations serve a purpose and that is to verify that the applicant is legitimate.

The application and documentation are not the only items that must be supplied. Payment and identical copies of color photos also need to be presented. The photos must be exactly two by two inches, recently taken, and feature a full-face frontal view. For additional details, refer to the government Web site because submitting photos that do not fall within the guidelines will cause the application to be rejected. The application fee that should be submitted is $75 plus an additional $25 fee for execution. Getting a passport card in addition to the passbook will cost $20 more. The passport will be mailed to the applicant within six weeks of paperwork submission.