HomeTravelWhat type of damage will void your passport?

What type of damage will void your passport?

Many people have tried and failed to travel on an expired passport. But it’s a little-known fact that if your passport is damaged you may wind up waving the rest of your party off from the airport lounge as you cry into your overpriced wine.

But what constitutes ‘damage’ as far as international border security is concerned?

Well, it’s a little more nuanced than you’d imagine.

What is considered ‘damage’?

Obvious damage to the photo is a big no-no. So too, damage to the numbers along the bottom of the photo page or anything that is meant to be readable on the photo page.

The machine-readable zone is designed to improve passport processing. It contains lines of code with the same information about the passport owner as the photo page.

However, other damage that may void your passport includes cuts and tears in the pages. As will removing pages and altering or tampering with it in any way.

Australian passports also contain a chip. It’s that chunky bit in-between the sealed pages, which will also have your details from the photo page. Any damage to this may also void your passport.

The passport office claims it’s difficult to damage these chips. If you suspect the chip doesn’t work, call the Australian Passports Office on 131 232. Or you can visit any state or territory passport office. Or, if you are overseas, contact your nearest Australian diplomatic mission.

The damage doesn’t have to be obvious.

Australian football star Sam Kerr was denied approval to travel with a tiny tear to one of the pages near the binding.

Kerr finally got a flight with another airline.

However, some airlines are wary of allowing passengers to travel with a damaged passport. This is because if they are deemed damaged at the destination, the conveying airline must take the passenger back to the point of departure at its own expense.

How do you protect your passport?

To keep your passport safe, keep it in a plastic sleeve or another secure device. You should also avoid liquids and don’t put any foreign object such as sticky tape in the pages.

If you are not sure if your passport is in a suitable condition to travel once again, call the passport office or contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission.

Emergency passports are issued at all overseas posts except for London and do not have a chip. They are issued for Australian citizens who meet all the requirements but cannot wait three weeks for a full passport.

Have you checked your passport lately? Would it pass the damage test? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Also read: Best destinations for the Aussie dollar

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


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