I've read a passport is invalid if

  • pages torn
  • pages ripped out
  • identity unreadable
  • stamps unreadable
  • passport substantially damaged

Now my passport got a minor water damage with one of the stamps bleeding through (see below). It is a Polish passport, and I'm already traveling.

Is my passport invalid? Do I have to expect issues at the border, especially for south east asian countries like Laos and Indonesia. Any experience on that?

enter image description here

  • 1
    For completeness, which country issued the passport? The UK definition mentions for example damage or discoloration to any part of the passport. If I were you, I would replace it before travelling.
    – Traveller
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 8:58
  • 4
    It is more than just missing stamp. There are white stain on pages. And possibly on many other pages. How an officer can be sure that you didn't replace/deleted some important information on that pages? The "damage" rules are mostly about could be tampered? (it doesn't matter if you didn't do it, but the possibility matter). So: have it replaced. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 9:25
  • 1
    @GiacomoCatenazzi those white areas are not stains; the pages are printed like that. See consilium.europa.eu/prado/en/POL-AO-05002/image-324926.html So yes, they're on many other pages, but they are not a reason to replace the passport.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 3:05
  • @Traveller I updated tte question. The passport is Polish
    – Stefan
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 9:43

2 Answers 2


If your passport has suffered water damage, it likely cannot be used as a valid travel document anymore in most cases. Whether replacement is necessary depends on the severity of the damage. If you're currently in a foreign country, it's best to visit your embassy to have them properly evaluate the damage and confirm if replacement is truly needed.

  • 1
    And if you are home and have the time to do so, replace it.
    – Willeke
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 5:10
  • What happens if the OP’s embassy thinks the passport is ok but an airline (often they err on the side of caution) or another country’s Immigration does not?
    – Traveller
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 8:17
  • @Traveller Thats exactly my main concern. The damage visible on the posted picture is the only one (plus the pages being abit wavy). It is also clearly visible where the ink comes from.
    – Stefan
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 9:41
  • 1
    @Stefan The comment above by Traveller is the closest one can get to an actual answer: there is some risk here: while the chip doesn't appear to be damaged, the visa stamp on at least one page is damaged. An official or airline staff may say it's too damaged to use. A prudent course of action would be to replace the passport. If you're risk-tolerant, and can handle (schedule-, time-. and money-wise) the consequences if it's rejected, you can proffer it and see what happens. Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 15:46

I have personally travelled in Asia with severe water damaged passport with no problems, including far eastern countries such as Japan and South Korea, but I cannot vouch for the US.

Nowadays the passport officials do not want to see your stamps so much, so it matters little to them. Whats more important is evidence of fraud or tampering.

I find that the Taiwanese airlines (especially EVA AIR) tend to be very strict about things like the condition of the passport, but most normal airlines do not care so much.

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