What to Do With an Old Expired Passport?

When your passport is reaching its expiration date, or if you’ve already surrendered it for renewal purposes, what do you do with the old one? While there isn’t any universal answer on this matter, understanding how to properly handle an expired passport can protect against identity theft and other fraudulent activity.

What to Do With an Expired Passport?

Renewing your passport requires sending in your old one along with other documents. Once canceled, the old passport will be returned to you. After renewing your passport, your old passport, in the following instance, might be valid to keep your old passport handy.

  • Proof of Citizenship: An expired passport can still be used instead of a birth certificate in some cases.
  • Identification Document: Some countries still allow you to use your expired passport for identification purposes only.
  • Visas: If you have a paper visa on your old passport, it is recommended to travel with both passports. However, this varies by country, and we advise against it as it increases the risk of running into problems with immigration.

Why Do You Have to Submit an Old Passport When Renewing a Passport?

If your old passport is damaged but still readable, you can still use it as proof of citizenship. However, you must also include a damage statement form along with it. The damage statement form should be a typed and signed statement that explains how your passport became damaged. It should include a detailed explanation of when, where, and how the damage occurred.

Should I Keep My Old Passport or Destroy it?

An expired passport may not be valid for travel, but it still holds sentimental value as a time capsule of your past adventures. Many people keep their old passports as a keepsake.

How to Dispose of Old Passport?

Some individuals opt to specifically remove the biometric page from their passport while preserving the remaining pages as a memento. However, it is important to note that the entire passport, including the biometric page, should be destroyed by burning it in a fireplace or bonfire. If a shredder is not available, this method also serves as an efficient way to dispose of old passports.

  • Cut out the biometric page of the passport with scissors to protect personal information from thieves.
  • Plug in and turn on a shredder, feed the biometric page into the machine’s feeder slot, and wait for it to be cut.
  • Detach and feed each page into the shredder until all pages are destroyed.
  • Open the paper basket and ensure that the passport is destroyed beyond repair.

Always ensure proper disposal of passports. Even if a passport is canceled by the government, it holds the potential for misuse by thieves involved in forgery or identity theft.

Do not discard a passport unless it has been officially canceled. Even if it has expired, you might be required to provide it to a passport agency when applying for a replacement.

What Does a Hole Punch in Passport Mean?

US Passport with Holes punch in it
Canceled US Passport book. The passport is canceled by punching two holes in the cover – San Jose, California, USA

Your current passport needs to be submitted along with your application. However, it will be returned to you. The canceled passport will have two small holes punched at the bottom of your identification page to indicate that it has been canceled.

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