I am travelling to India next month, and to do so I ordered a new passport. In the short time I've had it, I've somehow managed to get 4 blobs of oil stain (explained as oil by the fact that the paper has become slightly more transparent in the way that paper exposed to oil does). I am very concerned that this is damage sufficient to result in my being rejected entry. I have time to get a new passport entirely if needs be, although obviously I don't want to. I have attached some images below showing the four blobs on the other side of the bio-data page, as well as some photos of the bio-data (cropped for privacy reasons) showing that they are visible on the all-important bio-data page itself.

Simply put: based on the images shown below, should I get a replacement passport before I travel to India in 4 weeks time? Thanks for your help.

The four oil marks shown on the other side of the bio-data page: The four oil marks shown on the other side of the bio-data page. enter image description here

Three of the oil blobs shown on the bio-data page:

3 of the oil blobs on the bio-data page

The other blob can be seen on the passport photo itself, albeit slightly to the side of my portrait.

Other blob shown on my passport photo

  • 1
    Here is another source showing the Country page, where you can see that this is perfectly correct. Feb 3, 2020 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


Your passport is not damaged.

These are not oil marks or any other form of damage, they are an element of the passport design itself. The same pattern can be seen in the example passport data page below (taken from p.5 of this Passport Office document, published when this passport design was introduced).

Example UK passport data page taken from official publication

They are presumably a security feature, although the exact nature isn't mentioned anywhere within the document.

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    I guess they're a security feature, but they certainly look like damage! I expect that OP will not be the first or the last person to be confused by this. Fortunately, border officers shouldn't be confused as the UK (like all states) sends samples to all other countries it has relations with. Feb 3, 2020 at 7:43
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    Whoah, that's nuts. You might want to add a photo of the sample on p.5 to drive the point home. Feb 3, 2020 at 8:55
  • And here's somebody else panicking about it: thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=960188 Feb 3, 2020 at 8:56
  • @lambshaanxy good suggestion, I've added the image
    – Chris H
    Feb 3, 2020 at 8:58

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