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What should you do with your old out-dated passport?

I recently renewed my passport by mail and had to send my current one in with my application. I now have my new passport and my old one has been returned. It will expire in about 5 months. Should I keep this old passport or get rid of it?

Posted by
2336 posts

Shred it. Usually returned with holes in it. Anyway, once you have a new one the old one is invalid.

Posted by
20638 posts

Mine came back with a big hole punched in it. It is dead. I have seen the stamped pages cut out and used with photos in picture frames.

Posted by
8889 posts

If it has any visas which are still valid then you definitely need to keep it. You would in this case need to show your current passport and the visa in your old passport to get into that country.

Are you sure your old passport is still valid? I don't know where you are from, but in the case of British passports they cut the corner off which invalidates it. See photo here: https://c7.alamy.com/zooms/a23d76c18e084a26ab088aa773f26edd/expired-british-passport-with-corner-cut-off-dt64g8.jpg

I keep my old passports, with my important documents like my birth certificate. I've still got my first passport from when I was 18.

Posted by
11154 posts

Your old passport has been invalidated; look for the two holes punched in the cover. As Chris says, if you have valid visas in it, you should keep it handy. Otherwise, it's a souvenir.

I have a large collection, not only of my old passports, but of my father's and my grandmother's too. For my grandmother, I can see progression in all kinds of ways. The change from black and white to color passport photos, the reduction in the size of the passport book (it used to be "taller" than now), the change in the cover from green to navy, the change from 5 years validity to 10 years. Most interesting of all, as late as 1976, she and her husband could be on one passport; by 1981, she had to have her own.

Posted by
5320 posts

Yes, my first passport (1969) wasn't mine at all -- I was a spouse on my husband's passport. But since I was the one working at a bank, all the travelers checks were in my name, so neither of us could just run off without the other. A lot has changed!

Posted by
2518 posts

Whenever I go through passport control, I make certain to have my passport stamped. My old passports are my most cherished and meaningful souvenirs.

Posted by
5035 posts

Shred it. If you don't you might accidentally mix it up with the current one. Happened to me once when I needed an ID, fortunately not on a trip.

Posted by
12104 posts

When I get the passport back with the holes, I keep it as primary evidence of my trips. I have every single passport since 1971. Then it was green. I have kept them all. The current one was renewed in 2015.

Posted by
6811 posts

I've kept all of them since 1970. I love how the pictures change but I don't.

Posted by
5019 posts

I keep my old one as a souvenir - it's got some pretty exotic stamps in there that I want to keep (the one from Republic of Palau is a jellyfish, so cool...).

But - do be careful to clearly mark it so you never confuse it with the current/valid passport - the small punched hole is actually easy to miss if you're multitasking at high speed! I almost did that before my last trip as I was gathering my documents...running around in the last-minute pre-trip frenzy before rushing out the door, I briefly pocketed the wrong one. If I hadn't heard that nagging little voice questioning what I just grabbed (my internal paranoia, not my dear spouse's) it could have made for a very rude surprise at the airport!

Posted by
6047 posts

The pages with stamps are great for scrapbooking. If you don't have any interest, maybe someone you know does - just don't give them the page with your info on it.

Posted by
2467 posts

Shred it. If you don't you might accidentally mix it up with the
current one. Happened to me once when I needed an ID, fortunately not
on a trip.

There's an easy fix for that. Don't keep them in the same place. My current passport, and other valuable papers are kept in our home safe. The old passports are kept with our other memorabilia.

Posted by
5738 posts

I keep them as memories of our trips. I have several oldones with punched boles in them and keep them in a lock box.I am renewing our passports soon and need to keep the old passports as we have eight years left on our expensive China Visas.

Posted by
1192 posts

I got my renewal passport book this spring but the last one, now hole-punched, still has an entry to the mercosur countries that is valid through 2021, so of course I will keep it for trips to those countries, and even after that it has sentimental value. Note that the new one is not only intact but also has a different number, so avoiding confusion shouldn't be too tough. I don't think we're allowed to cut out the still-valid item(s) and stick those in the new book!

Posted by
1159 posts

I am on my third passport. I saved both my passports and put them in my scrapbooks with photos of my trips. I would keep it and put it with stuff you save from your trips, business cards, brochures, photos, anything you may have collected from your travels. It may be nice to look back on your passport photos and stamps.

It is up to you, you can shredd it as others suggested or keep it.

Posted by
6412 posts

Go with your first instinct on what to do with it.
I keep mine as souvenir with all my travel photo scrap books.

Posted by
4500 posts

Your old passport is no longer valid. No matter, what, keep it away from where you store your valid passports (unless you have a current visa in it).

If you don't want your old one for sentimental reasons, then dispose of it however you wish. Shredding is a bit overkill as passports contain less information about you than your drivers license and the old one has been invalidated (so no one can use it).

Posted by
2336 posts

Shredding is a bit overkill as passports contain less information about you than your drivers license and the old one has been invalidated (so no one can use it).

Really! Name, date of birth, old passport number. You’d give that stuff away? Shred!!!

Posted by
5705 posts

When I applied for my Russian Visa I was required to list all my international trips for the past 10 years. Without my old passport there is no way I could have come close to an accurate list of these trips. I have no other record of them. Just throw the old thing in a drawer with other old things related to travel until the day you need to use it to identify previous travel dates.

Since old passports are punched, I have trouble imagining someone confusing them. But I keep the current passport along with my Navigo cards, leftover train tickets, and Euros (and other currencies together in a money belt, so they are always at hand if I am planning a trip -- I know right where that stuff is.

The international cords for the computers, the plug adapters, international hair dryer etc are also in their own designated bag so we always know where that stuff is without a search.

Posted by
4500 posts

Really! Name, date of birth, old passport number. You’d give that
stuff away? Shred!!!

While there is nothing wrong with shredding, it is overkill. Old passport number is worthless as it is invalid. Name and date of birth are all readily accessible with just a few seconds of online searching (many people put that on Facebook for example). There is a paranoia that pops up here from posters sometimes, people that don't want to hand over their passport to hotel clerks or email the info to hotels. The answer always is that nothing in your passport can be used for identity fraud. And yet people think nothing of handing over a drivers license to just about anyone, and those have far more personal information on them that are useful for identity thieves.

Posted by
4637 posts

If you are not into souvenirs, shred it. But I personally keep them. I still remember all countries I visited but nobody can rule out dementia in their late years and then you forget which countries you visited. So you look at your old passport and - bingo!

Posted by
12104 posts

I would never shed old passports, basically unthinkable.

The old perforated passports serve as souvenirs since all the border check stamps are there and in the one I had in 1987 the French demanded of American tourists going there in 1987 the visa is shown too, just as the two Czech visas, one in 1973, the other in 1977, from the commie days are shown.

Posted by
431 posts

At least rip the cover off of it. My husband (trying to help) picked up the passports as we ran out the door for a trip. Thank god we got there in record breaking time, because when we went to check in, we had the old passport. Husband had to go all the way back and get the right one. Ran into rush hour traffic coming back, just made the plane. I sat the entire time with a lot of luggage (wedding and gifts for family) but wish I was traveling light. The security guard kept telling me I had to stand if I was there. I wound having to call his manager threatening to sue if my ankle got worse. Nightmare

Posted by
2509 posts

We keep our current passports in our travel pouches and our old ones are just somewhere in our travel drawer. I think if I weren't keeping them separate I'd take a silver sharpie or whiteout and mark the front and back covers of my old passport. That little punched hole is easy to overlook...

Posted by
12104 posts

In 1995 I had to renew my passport that lasted ten years.. I renewed that one in 2005 lasting until 2015. This current one since 2015 is obviously the one being use with all the UK, Schengen, and USA stamps All these passports feel different, in texture, thickness, touch. etc. No way can I get any of them mixed up with the current one.

Posted by
3322 posts

Once you get a new passport, the old one is no longer valid no matter what the expiration date says. It is nothing more than a souvenir at this point.

Posted by
14 posts

I keep my old passports, with my important documents like my birth
certificate. I've still got my first passport from when I was 18.

Same here. Got some interesting old stamps and visas. Great souvenir.