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When the error was realized and the passport retrieved from the pocket of a shirt in the dryer, it was certainly damp and the cover and many pages had curled, but perhaps it can be reflattened by a stack of heavy books or something. The ink on the pages, including one important visa, seem to be fine and still legible. Not sure if there's some microchip or something which is now hosed, though. This is a fairly new US passport issued late 2013, if it matters.

Asking for a friend.

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+1 since I accidentally washed both my NZ and British passports almost exactly as the question was asked. I've checked with both issuers, the NZ passport office said replace, the British one said it was probably Ok. I'm returning to the UK in three weeks with the damaged British passport to try first and a new NZ passport as a backup to at least me in on a tourist visa, so I can get a new passport while there. Will report back how that goes. –  David Hall Feb 7 at 5:11
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I think I'm going to just go ahead and get a new passport and visa. Now that the damp one has had time to completely dry, it really does look ratty, and I have enough time before my next trip to go through all the process. It will be expensive, but I'll have to chalk that up to a life lesson. …I mean, my friend. My friend is going to get a new passport. And life lesson. –  Garrett Albright Feb 8 at 5:21
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3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There is a guideline from the department of state when to replace one's passport if it has been damaged.

Take a look at State Departments FAQ to see if your friend will requirethis this. And from what you describe he does.

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Years ago I jumped in a swimming pool with my passport in my back pocket (college days...) and had the same dilemma, so I understand your situation. It's a pain (especially for a brand new passport) but I'd definitely recommend changing it if there is significant damage. Many immigration personnel will turn you away at the border and whether you get a new passport really depends on whether you are willing to risk that.

Something to consider regarding the important visa currently in the passport: Countries where the passport holder is required to have a visa to enter are likely to be even more strict about a damaged passport...

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I accepted Karlson's answer since it had the link, but I appreciate your story as well. –  Garrett Albright Feb 8 at 5:22
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Some years ago I forgot my passport in a pocket and put it in the washing machine. It looked pretty bad, but dried up well, the stamps were all still visible. I crossed borders of more than 10 countries with it without issues, got all kinds of visas in it and did not get a new one until it was full. So I wouldn't worry about it, and it makes you look like a very seasoned traveller. It was not a US passport though.

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