Damaged passport

I need your help about my passport. On my passport front page, the last line of the MRZ is damaged. Do I need to apply for new passport, or is this not an issue?

  • 7
    Long story short: your passport is no longer valid and will have to be replaced. The old one can still be used to speed-up the replacement process.
    – Mast
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 11:12
  • 1
    Have you made the fix yourself? I have a similar problem because of water but have been able to travel with it no problem, but sometime I get stopped for further controls. Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 14:04
  • How did it go for you? Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 16:51

3 Answers 3


If the machine readable section of your passport is damaged, as it is in this photo, your passport must be replaced. A passport scanner cannot read this. If your passport is a newer e-passport with the chip embedded, this damage also makes the chip unusable. In both cases, the airline and immigration will not accept the document for travel.

You can renew your passport now, but you can only use the online portal to do so if it has less than 7 months to expiry. Otherwise you will need to apply via a Regional Passport Office in Pakistan, or your nearest high commission or consulate if you are outside Pakistan.

  • 17
    "this damage also makes the chip unusable": not necessarily; the data necessary for decoding the chip can be entered by hand. Airlines and immigration are indeed extremely likely to refuse the passport as having been legally invalidated by the damage, but the passport isn't entirely useless from a technical point of view. The advice in the answer is definitely correct, though: apply for a new passport. Even if some sympathetic officer might accept the passport, the chance of that happening is extremely small, and you don't want to be worrying about it.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 20:56
  • 3
    Have you seen many readers altogether? The one I'm most familiar with is my smartphone, and the first RFID app I tried on my passport had no OCR capability, so the only way to read a passport was by hand entering the data necessary for decryption. I have also heard stories of immigration officers entering data by hand when the scan failed, but not necessarily for the purpose of reading the chip data. I am not in fact aware of any specific hardware or software used at any border, but it seems that it would be a horrible oversight not to provide the capability.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 1:57
  • 1
    @phoog Well, the Android app I use has no manual data entry option, just OCR and then scan the chip. As for readers, no, I suppose I haven't seen many of them. Only one model, in fact. But you're right, it most likely depends on the software used with it. Fortunately that's not my job. I appreciate the info. Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 5:24
  • 3
    @Krebto - It was in the tags underneath the original question.
    – Justin
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 14:33
  • 2
    @krebto there's a country tag on the question
    – Kat
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 14:35

This passport is not just damaged, it has been tampered with!

You should under no circumstances have fixed the digits with ink yourself. That blue is clearly an attempt to make the numbers legible again.

This passport is no longer fit for use, and the only option is to replace it.

Be prepared to be questioned when you go to renew this passport, even if the fix was made in all honesty, it is not taken lightly. You can possibly be fined for it as well.

Forget the airline or whether someone will accept it or not. If you go to an airport in Pakistan with this passport you might possibly be arrested and asked to explain the fix.

Thanks to a comment by @uberqe, here is some relevant information from The Passport Act, 1974

  1. Penalties for certain offences relating to passport.- (1) A person shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both, if he:-


(d) forges, alters or tampers with any passport or any document which he uses for obtaining a passport; or

(e) uses a passport which has been forged, altered or tampered with; or


Nowhere does the law say that if the alteration is done with a good motive it would be fine. I am not a lawyer but in my opinion, a hand made alteration to fix the passport number or any relevant ID information is a significant alteration. When the passport was water damaged, it was just damaged and that wasn't a big deal. When more ink was put on it, it was altered.

I would never use this passport, except for a renewal.


The scanners that are used in airports regarding passport control scan (sliding) the passport through the passport control gadget that they have, which in this case is impossible due to the damage on the critical points of your passport, so in the case it will alarm the officer that the passport is damaged. Of course the officer may input the numbers manually; however I'm not sure if someone will let this slide, so I recommend that you get a new passport.

image of a passport being scanned

  • 1
    That is correct. MRZ on e-passports is used to read the information required to derive BAC (Basic Access Control) key. The passport depicted in the example picture is clearly a European passport which is enabled expedite immigration clearing at Automated Border Controls. The machines will use OCR technology to read passport number and validity date, then derive a secret key. That secret key is transmitted to the passport's NFC (Near Field Communication) chip to read all the remaining information and the photo used for biometric identification. (Continued) Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 11:16
  • 1
    There exist mobile phone apps that allow users to test their own passport and show how the photo is read from the document. They allow either to scan the passport with camera (use OCR like at the border), or input information manually before NFC scan. This makes the answer correct Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 11:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .