What to Do with an Old Passports When It’s Expired?

May 30, 2024

3 min. read


should you keep old passports

It seems like yesterday you applied for your passport to travel internationally. And before you know it, its expiration date comes to an end. You need to apply for a new valid passport and do something about the old one.

That said, government agencies issue durable passport books these days. It doesn’t disintegrate or fall to pieces in ten years it’s usually good for.

Should you keep old passports then? Some people keep their old passports for memories instead of shredding and trashing them.

Before putting your old passport into a draw as a nostalgic souvenir, let’s get a few ideas on what to do with old passports.

In Focus

What to do with an old passport?

Though it is no longer a legitimate document to travel internationally, you cannot force yourself to bin it. And you are right. It is a good idea to learn why you should hold on to it. If you still intend to get rid of it, ensure that you’ll do it properly.

Meanwhile get passport photos online or at a store, fill out an application form and apply for your new passport at a passport office or by mail.

What happens with an old passport?

Typically, the passport agency reviews your application and your most recent passport. Then, they issue a new one and cancel your expired passport regardless of its expiration date. To get annulled, the old passport gets a punch hole or a corner cut off.

When you renew your document, it’ll have a new number and a government-compliant passport photograph. It’ll be a completely different document compared to your previous passport.

If you renew your passport by mail, you get your new passport the same way. Your canceled passport comes in a different package by mail too. It takes up to 8 weeks to arrive, which is nothing to worry about unless your visa remains valid in your previous passport.

What to do with an old passport with a visa?

how to destroy old passports

It’s not a rare occasion when your visa and passport expiration dates are not in sync. Your document can expire within the next six months while your “country permit” is still usable for another year or two. What to do with your old passport then?

In most cases, you can’t transfer your visa from an old expired passport to a new one. What you can do is keep your document in a safe place. And when you travel to a foreign country, you carry both passports with you: a new one and an old one.

When you apply for your new passport, ensure to state in a passport application that you still have a valid visa linked to your passport. Plan the timing correctly to get both passports in time before your trip.

What else can you do with old expired passports?

The general recommendation by the US Department of State is to keep your old passport in some place secure. Though your passport is no longer active, it can still be used when you apply for documents.

  • An expired passport is proof of US citizenship. You can confidently use it instead of a birth certificate when you submit a renewal application and need to prove your citizenship.
  • You can verify your identity and legal status by using an expired passport when your ID is lost. It’ll serve as a legitimate form of identification instead.
  • Your expired document will serve you when you’re getting a new driver’s license or a new birth certificate.
  • Alongside all the official reasons, there can be other ways to use your old passport to remember and romanticize your travel in a way.

Let’s open up more ways to use your expired passport esthetically. Perhaps, you’ll get some insights and inspiration.

Go creative and artistic

You can frame your old passport photo and stamped pages and design a collage. Such an artistic composition incorporated, say in your loft-styled living room is a fantastic way to spice up your interior design. It’s like playing with different ideas and framing your graduation pictures—it feels warm and fuzzy.

Record your travels abroad

An old passport is really an achievement and perhaps even a trophy for your adventurous spirit and love for discovering other cultures. Keep it as a record of your international travels to many countries. You can flicker through the pages over a cup of coffee many years from now when you feel like it.

Reminisce your dear-to-heart memories and inspire a new generation

Keeping old visas and entry stamps is a heartwarming way to reminisce about your travels to this or that foreign country. Additionally, it’s a vivid example to inspire the new generation to explore the world and new cultures and understand them better.

Prevention of identity theft: how to dispose of expired passports

how to dispose of old passports

If you prefer to keep your old passports, ensure it is in a safe place since it stores your personal data. If you want to dispose of your expired document, learn the safest ways how to destroy old passports.

It’s risky to throw it away just like that. To prevent any identity theft and protect your sensitive personal information, you can ask to destroy it for you when you apply for your passport. Alternatively, you can cut it into small pieces.

Burning an expired passport is another method recommended on the web. You can always consult with the acceptance facility if you’re not sure about the way to dispose of your old passport.