My passport has been around
April 26, 2006 6:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting ready to travel to South America. A couple of years ago, I washed my passport in a washing machine. It looks beat up, but all the pieces are there. Is there the possibility that I could be denied entry? How quickly could I get a new one if needed? Picture inside.

Picture. As you can see, it's sort of rumpled. All the lamination has held, so the pictures and all relevant is there. Has anyone ever had troubled with a beat-up passport? I think I have only ever seen nice and slick ones. Also, I am leaving in less than three weeks.
posted by billysumday to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total)
[all relevant information]
posted by billysumday at 6:59 PM on April 26, 2006

You can get passports pretty fast if you pay for it. Best bet may be asking whoever isshues them in your area (postoffice?)

This is the official site for passport info, might be good to dig around there
posted by edgeways at 7:04 PM on April 26, 2006

stooopid spelling
posted by edgeways at 7:05 PM on April 26, 2006

There are stories on here about beat-up passports being rejected, but the ones i remember have mostly involved lamination problems.

If you press that one in a book, it should look fine. It'll look the way it does now after a week of being in a sweaty pocket or being poured on in the rain, too. (Mine's been in this condition several times in the 4 years since it was issued, and no problems.)

I'm so jealous. where are you going?
posted by whatzit at 7:11 PM on April 26, 2006

One other thought: You mentioned you're going to South America? If you're headed for Brazil in particular make sure your visa is not bungled. The airline you fly on and the immigration when you arrive will check the visa quite thoroughly.
posted by whatzit at 7:16 PM on April 26, 2006

I dropped my passport in a river. It looks bad. I've never had a problem getting in to any country, throughout SA, Asia, and Europe.

However, I routinely get chastized by US immigration folks on the way back in. Especially in Chicago, for some reason.
posted by soulbarn at 7:21 PM on April 26, 2006

I'm going to Peru. No need for a visa. However, I was thinking about potentially taking a train into Chile or Argentina. Would I need a visa for that? That's just thinking out loud, there. I'll look that one up.
posted by billysumday at 7:30 PM on April 26, 2006

No. Argentina is pretty open-door, Chile you pay on arrival (IIRC it's steep, but I haven't been there, just heard others gripe.)
posted by whatzit at 7:47 PM on April 26, 2006

Wait... are there trains into Chile and Argentina? You might want to look into that before thinking about taking one! Argentina's rail system is pretty underdeveloped, and these are all bigger countries than they seem to be on the globe. Plus there's that whole mountain thing going on...
posted by whatzit at 7:52 PM on April 26, 2006

Take it into the bathroom the next time you have a shower. When you're done, stick the passport under a big heavy book for 8 hours. Then it'll be all flat and nice enough.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:02 PM on April 26, 2006

I also think your passport doesn't look much worse than my travel-worn one. Nobody's ever given me trouble about it.

Chile requires a US$100 reciprocity fee for entry, collected at the port of entry. You get it once for the lifetime of your passport, so if you think you'll go back sometime, you might want to replace your passport before paying the fee. But yeah, you don't need to get visas ahead of time for Chile or Argentina.

I think whatzit is correct about there being no trains. When I was there a year ago, I think the only Peru Rail route in regular service was the Cuzco-Machu Picchu route. There are flights from Lima and probably buses from places closer to the borders.
posted by aneel at 8:21 PM on April 26, 2006

Yeah, I would say that it's fine too. I've had passports that looked worse than that without any problems.

As for how long it takes to get a new one, you can get one in as little as two days if you have a regional passport agency somewhere close to you. The link that edgeways provided has all the info. Normally you need about two weeks though, and you pay a bit extra to get it expedited.
posted by gemmy at 8:30 PM on April 26, 2006

I had my passport confiscated and renewal denied due to a washed passport. Canada is now the world to me. This was years before Homeland Security. My personal scientific survey says: you are fucked.

Of course, I haven't reapplied in over ten years.
posted by mwhybark at 9:26 PM on April 26, 2006

billysunday - make sure you read up about necessary shots!!!

An episode from my travels in Latin America in the mid-90s - I had a big surprise waiting for me when I got off the plane from Ecuador to Brasil: I had to produce a certificate for typhoid and yellow fever vaccination, neither of which is necessary when you travel directly from Canada.

Read, read read the visa requirements and vaccination requirements for travelling between South American countries. Make sure you are prepared. Horror stories abound.

Fortunately I was up to date, but it could have been tragic if I wasn't innoculated already. I would have been vaccinated at the airport.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:04 PM on April 26, 2006

I'm getting my shots tomorrow, but thanks!
posted by billysumday at 10:21 PM on April 26, 2006

Well since this has already been sorta derailed to include general S. America travel advice, mine is to find reputable, reliable companies when crossing the Andes by land. Here's why. Friends have told me harrowing stories about their drivers falling asleep at the wheel. One said her driver actually asked her to stay with him and keep him company. She sat on the floor next to the driver's seat, talked to him for hours on end, overnight, just saying whatever she could think of to keep him awake. Another told me of a passenger mutiny (led by his wife) to not allow an obviously about-to-fall-asleep driver to take them one kilometer more.
posted by donpedro at 11:18 PM on April 26, 2006

FWIW: I travelled on worse, back in my backpacking days, particularly near the end of an epic 2-year trip. I don't even think there was lamination back then on Canadian passports.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:05 AM on April 27, 2006

I have had problems travelling with a beat-up UK passport - a German guard seemed to be on the verge of stopping me flying out of Berlin. Yours looks worse than mine on the outside but I'd have to see the inside to compare. Basically mine had a slightly broken spine, the writing on the front inner cover ("Her Britannic Majesty requires and requests...") was damaged (because check-in desk people kept putting my baggage reclaim stickers there and every time I peeled them off it took paper with it) plus the plastic on the laminated picture was pulled up a little between the picture and the edge of the paper (general wear and tear). They finally let me have it back 20 minutes before take-off but it'd no fun to miss a plane because of being held back at customs and even less to think about being invited into the back room for interrogation. Get the new passport ASAP!
posted by biffa at 3:06 AM on April 27, 2006

Well, I've seen worse! Follow the advice previously to smooth it out if you're worried.

As for travelling in S. America, the bus is your friend. Chilean buses (the "more expensive" ones) are a joy to ride in, offering semi sleeper (semi cama) and sleeper (cama) rides for the really long trips. I took a 28 hour ride from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama, very comfortably. The Peruvian ones are a bit more hit and miss, but they're not bad either! Argentina, the buses there are like the Chilean ones, also modern and comfortable.

Enjoy your trip!
posted by defcom1 at 6:41 AM on April 27, 2006

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