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Torn passport photo page - big problem?


I'm a UK citizen, but the other half has a Bangladeshi passport. We booked a holiday in Europe at the end of May, so she has to apply for a Schengen visa, which we did via an agency. We got one for a year 2 years ago, without problems.

This time, the procedure has changed and you need to have a biometric appointment, to which she went this week. She went to an 3rd party company used by the French embassy called TLScontact. As soon as she entered the place, they took her passport, and scanned/ swiped it. She then went to her biometric appointment proper, at another booth.

They then checked them again, but this time the woman at the booth pointed out the main passport photo page was torn. This was at the margin of the page where it's joined to the rest of the book, but only along a quarter the length of the page. So most of the page is joined to the book fine.

Immediately she rejected the application because of the torn page. My wife is convinced that the 1st person who scanned/ swiped the passport tore the page by accident. My wife is paranoidly meticulous about her documents, and keeps her passport in a protective cover. She and myself are convinced it wasn't torn before.

Anyway my wife argues her case, and the woman at the booth goes behind a couple of times to speak to her supervisor. She then comes back and tells my wife that CCTV shows that the page was torn before she came to the building!!

So my wife asks to see the CCTV. At first they refuse to show her, then after a bit more arguing they concede and show her. Contrary to what they said before, there is no evidence on CCTV to suggest the page was torn. My wife confronts them about this and they then change their story and say that CCTV shows that the woman who swiped the passport was simply doing her job properly, thus suggesting that she probably didn't tear the page!

Anyway, a couple more hours of waiting and arguing later, my wife writes a hand written letter of complaint, ends up at another booth, sees someone more understanding and the application gets submitted! The letter is attached to the application. All her other documents are fine.

We are now in a quandary. We half suspect the application will be rejected. But it might be accepted. What happens now apparently is that the passport goes to the French embassy, and the Schengen visa gets put into it.

Do any of you have any experience of damaged/ partially torn passports? Is it simply a case of maybe finding a different embassy who are more easy-going, should this one fail?

The other option I guess is to go to the Bangladesh High Commission and either get it repaired (dunno how easy this is with one page torn at the margin) or replaced (a process that will take 2-3 months which means bye bye holiday at the end of May!)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Even if the Visa get put into it, you could still be refused at check in, boarding, security in Europe. in fact anywhere the passport will be checked. Especially before you board the flight. The Airline will face a fine if they allow someone through with a dodgy looking doc, that is then returned to the point of departure

Although you may be going by Eurostar, about which I know very little :D
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Moderator/Games Reviewer
My brother was detained in Miami airport for 10 hours due to a smudge on his passport.


Distinguished Member
I think you need to get a new passport. A tear is likely to cause problems at any point in the journey - so even if you get the current authorities to accept the tear doesn't matter who knows where in the line it will next get stuck.

The problem is that a common forgery method is to carefully cut out existing pages and glue in fake ones.

So whilst your wife's passport is genuine, an official is likely to play safe and assume it has been tampered with.




I understand what you guys are saying. But what about the other supporting ID documentation. Won't they supplement the photo page of her passport when leaving or entering another country? Can't the validity of someone's ID be checked easily with a phone call to the UKBA?

For instance, she has a biometric resident permit (spouse Visa) for the UK, which is a separate card with her photo and biometric data on it. And an old passport, and driver's licence.

Sure, we'll need to get it repaired or replaced, but I also wonder whether the French embassy or TLS might give us a letter to explain the situation to border authorities, as a temporary thing before the passport is repaired.

I've been on Eurostar before, several years ago, and I honestly don't remember how rigourously the passport check is performed.



I hear you. And to be honest, I doubt my wife will succeed in getting her Schengen Visa.

However, strictly speaking, the damage done to my wife's passport doesn't fall under the description of 'Definition of a damaged passport' in the 1st link you provided.

The other thing is that the flight will be about one and a half hours, so if it (worst case scenario) did mean we had to simply come back, it wouldn't be as punishing as that poor chap who had to return from Indonesia.

I just hope the French embassy or Bangladesh High Commission can help us out with a letter to support us during travel, but I'm not counting on it.



Prominent Member
I agree with others, new passport is the only safe option.

My OH nearly got bumped from Australia on arrival despite being let on the flight because there was damage to the main page. It's was just wear and tear and bit battered. I would have thought a tear would poke even more dodgy.

Be patient and get the new passport so you can holiday without worry.


Moderator/Games Reviewer
djdhrubs said:
Was he let in eventually, and if so how?

He was let in but went through one fairly intense questioning and the officers were even trying to catch him out speaking Spanish. Still to this day he lists it as one of the worst experiences of his life. The authorities did not treat him well at all.


Distinguished Member
However, strictly speaking, the damage done to my wife's passport doesn't fall under the description of 'Definition of a damaged passport' in the 1st link you provided.

Think you are flogging a dead horse.

Let's say you manage to convince the French Embassy to give you a visa.

Trouble is that your current fight is being done from the comfort of your own home. The next time you encounter the problem you could be at the airport of a foreign country. You will be taken to a room and you will have to conduct your defence on your own, without friends, and with no idea where you will be sleeping that night.

Even if the French Embassy give you a letter that isn't going to cut any ice - officials don't like being told what to do especially by another country - so I expect there is every chance they would simply dismiss whatever the French Embassy had written.

Not worth it in my opinion - safer to get the passport replaced.




Distinguished Member
He was let in but went through one fairly intense questioning and the officers were even trying to catch him out speaking Spanish. Still to this day he lists it as one of the worst experiences of his life. The authorities did not treat him well at all.

US immigration authority is extremely hostile and aggressive , by far the least civil of any that I've come across.

Once had an immigration cop unbutton his sidearm and do the "stance" whilst asking me about some rubbish removed from a boat that wasn't even mine.

Had another one at JFK take me out of the security line and leave me sat on a chair with no shoes and no belt in full view of everyone for 15minutes for no reason other than the rivets on my jeans were setting off the metal detector. I was perfectly calm and civil with him. He still treated me like a crim.


Distinguished Member
It really does not matter whether you get the visa or not. The problem is that anytime your wife goes through passport control the officer on the desk can refuse entry- visa or no visa. As others have said, any tear could be due to tampering, usually by sliding in a different photo.

My advise would be to get a new passport for your wife. Its just not worth the worry every time you go through passport control.:)


I hope you get it sorted out, FWIW I've never been treated with anything but courtesy when entering the US, even in NJ!


Established Member
I hope you get it sorted out, FWIW I've never been treated with anything but courtesy when entering the US, even in NJ!

I have found the us boarder control overly officious, rude and militant, bearing in mind I was there for holidays I found the experience irritating
Cellotape the tear.

No one will ever notice if you join the line behind a family with some kids and poke the smallest kid in the eye, or whatever, to make it cry.

When he calls, "Next", this event will cause a total distraction, particularly when you can conversationally tell the immigration officer how you're glad it wasn't your kid making all that noise....



Distinguished Member
I can't assist with your quandary but this reminds me of an incident...

Disclaimer: We were all very young and very stupid!

Aged 18 I went to Amsterdam with a friend. I was a casual smoker but he really enjoyed his weed, insisting on trying as many different types as possible and held much greater tolerance than I

One afternoon we were relaxing in a coffee shop and came across a breed which really took my mates fancy. Much to my surprise he removed a notepad and pen from his pocket (no iPhones back then!) to note the name of both the weed and establishment

The following day we met outside our hotel and he had a package in his hand to post. I asked what it was, to which he simply said 'a present for back home' and not really thinking about it, we arrived at a post office. Once inside he handed over the package to the lady behind the desk and began the process of sending it back to the UK

Having paid the necessary monies, everything seemed to be ok but the lady stopped to smell the package, began speaking Dutch to a colleague and they both looked rather puzzled

I noticed my friend had turned white and was sweating beyond reason. I asked him what was in the package to learn he'd bought a box of cigars, emptied them out and stuffed them back up with around £100 of the weed from the night before

Stood in disbelief, I noted the many security cameras inside the post office, panicked and bailed. He did likewise and we ran back to the hotel, unsure what to do. Our state of mind certainly didn't help and it was decided we'd change hotels and avoid that part of town for the remainder of our trip

A few days passed and it was time to go home. On checking in at Schiphol my mate was intercepted by some officers and told to follow them to another room. I was terrified and my mind went into a bit of a spin

After a 10 minute wait he reappeared and it'd transpired the authorities were not happy as his passport was worn and battered. They insisted he replace it as soon as possible and sent him on his way. I inspected it myself and apparently he'd mistakenly put it through the wash a month or so before!

Incidentally the 'cigars' he'd posted made their way to the UK before we'd even returned


did the OH get her shenegen visa bud
and how much did it cost in the end

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