Is it cool to re-glue visas in your passport?
August 12, 2019 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Two visas are now loose and just tucked into my passport, due to old and feeble glue. What’s the right course of action? Do I glue them back in myself?

I had a friend who very very nearly went to Cambodian prison for doing the reverse and removing a visa (to free up extra space for another visa, instead of renewing the document - inexplicable that he decided that it was a good idea) and although I’m not quite that dumb, border guards are powerful and capricious assholes, and anything that could be construed as me “interfering” with my passport makes me nervous. Otoh, they’re sure to fall out and get lost someday and then it’ll look like I followed my friend’s example. (Visas are stamped so there would be evidence that they were there once and have since gone missing.)

Renewal is an option, but one I’d prefer to avoid as I have a lot of international travel coming up and I live in a foreign country where my passport is my main source of ID, and also it’s really expensive and time consuming and there’s still plenty of space and a long period of validity on this one. UK passport if it makes a difference. Thanks!
posted by chappell, ambrose to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
Use a glue stick, not liquid glue. Quick swipe of the gluestick where the original sticky part was, close the book, let it set.
posted by erst at 9:36 PM on August 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I don't see a downside. As long as you aren't re-gluing in a different passport or removing visas that were previously there (which could signify trying to hide illicit travel), I don't see any harm in reinforcing the visas' existing-but-weak adhesive. I'd just make sure there isn't any accompanying damage - unclear photo, torn or scratched security features, etc. I worked in an adjacent field and if it's a US visa, re-gluing it could potentially interfere with the ability to scan and capture the information automatically, but that also happens all the time when a visa is placed askew on a passport page. The next step would be to manually check the visa information against the passport in which it's placed, which should take an extra two minutes and have the same result. Can't speak to other countries but I would guess it'd be similar.

That said, in my experience US visas don't just fall out without enough accompanying damage that they'd be otherwise unreadable. If yours are visas to different countries, might be worth writing to the embassy/consulate that granted it and asking about the right course of action.
posted by exutima at 11:16 PM on August 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you don't want to glue, you could take the visas that are currently just tucked in and bind them to one of the covers with a rubber band. Or keep everything together in a ziploc or passport wallet.
posted by trig at 11:42 PM on August 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I’d just keep them together. But I am damaged because I got a lecture once about how I was not allowed to reinforce a sticking up bit of cover on my passport using clear tape. Admittedly there were many border crossings where nobody cared before that but no harm in just keeping it all together.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:13 AM on August 13, 2019

When my UK work visa started coming unstuck from my US passport I was advised by an official at Heathrow passport control to reaffix it with a glue stick.
posted by theory at 2:09 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

The border officials in Israel attached their visa to my passport with paper clips.
posted by davcoo at 2:50 AM on August 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, sometimes it's staples. I'd probably go with the less damaging option of paper clips.
posted by Grither at 3:51 AM on August 13, 2019

I came in to suggest staples, even if the countries in question don’t use them, as it clearly indicates no attempt to defraud.

Someone who has sent more than one passport through a washing machine and cannot believe its 2019 and we don’t have a better systems for most of this stuff.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:37 AM on August 13, 2019

Many thanks everyone! I’m still a little undecided about what to do, but it’s been really helpful to read the suggestions. (Paperclips are an excellent idea, although I’m worried I may damage the passport further as it gets carried fairly frequently.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:10 AM on August 13, 2019

My suggestion is to keep them tucked in. I would put the passport in a small ziplock bag so that you don’t lose anything. The authorities who put the visas in your passport should be the ones to make changes to them. Also, I never want to alter the state of a US document that now comes from the homeland security department. I’ve always carried my passport in a ziplock bag, I’ve had to carry it constantly because I’m a freelance engineer and since I don’t “look” American, I have to always prove that I am. It has been the best way to keep the passport in good condition (and I’ve spilled water in my bag many, many times!)
posted by Yellow at 8:42 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'd probably use the glue stick, but I would also add a small binder clip to hold it all together.
posted by theora55 at 9:27 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Book darts are less obtrusive than paper clips while performing the same function; their low profile would keep ancillary damage to a minimum compared to paper clips.
posted by Mitheral at 9:41 AM on August 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

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