How to confirm if your Passport is damaged

A damaged UK passport is classified as a passport that is in such a bad condition that it can no longer be used as a valid proof of your identity. In most cases this is classified under the terms ''Beyond Reasonable Wear & Tear'' and this can in many cases be down individual interpretation of what is classed as reasonable. We have compiled a guide to help those who are unsure what constitutes a Passport that is damaged enough to cause issues at border patrols when travelling, please see more details below:


How do I know if my passport is damaged?


Damage may include any of the following -

• Personal details are indecipherable (non-readable).

• The laminate has lifted enough to allow the possibility of photo substitution.

• Discoloration to the bio-data page.

• Chemical or ink spillage on (any page).

• Missing or detached pages

• The chip or antenna shows through the endpaper on the back cover for the new style e-passports

• The chip has been identified as damaged following investigation or you have been told the chip is faulty during a border-check.

If any of the above applies to your passport, then we strongly suggest you renew your passport in good time before your next due to travel. You also need to be aware that because your passport is damaged you will need to get an individual to countersign your renewal application. Damaged Passports are also restricted via urgent renewal services and can only be done via the Fast-Track One Week Service, if you would like to book an urgent appointment you can find your nearest office.



What is reasonable wear and tear?


When looking at wear and tear, it's worth noting that if you travel a lot and have plenty of visas and stamps in your passport it's certainly more likely that your passport will be more worn. There are certain things to look for when deciding whether it needs replacing or not.

The keys things that need to be looked at are -

• Making sure the are no stains or water marks on any pages

• All the information is clear and readable

• The laminate on your photo page is securely in place

• There are no damaged or missing pages

• The chip is in place and undamaged

• The passport binding is secured and not disintegrated


In most cases the fact that the gold emblem has been worn away from the front cover, as long as the rest of the passport is in very good condition i.e no peeling pages, tears or marks this will not effect your ability to travel. When it comes time to renew your passport, if the passport office deem there to be reasonable wear and tear, you will need to get your application countersigned, see our counter signatory guide.


If you are still unsure whether your passport is damaged or if it is just wear and tear you can book an appointment at a local passport office, they are able to check your passport an inform you if it is indeed damaged beyond reasonable wear and tear.


*Remember if your passport is damaged whilst you are abroad you may not be able to travel, if your current passport does get damaged in another country contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for more help and information.


Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm


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Our blog is full of useful tips and interesting facts about the world of Passports and Travel.

Passports Office provides relevant information about new passports, renewing an existing passport, and the contact details of key UK passport offices.

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