What to Do With Old Passport after Renewal?

What to Do With Old Passport after Renewal?

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Many of us have fond memories associated with our old passports: stamps from old trips, visas from once-in-a-lifetime adventures, or perhaps a photo that reminds us of our younger selves.

But when the time comes to renew these documents, what’s the best course of action?

This article goes into the dos and don’ts of dealing with your expired passport.

Would an Old Passport Still be Important?

When we think about an old passport, it’s easy to just consider it as something no longer useful since it has most likely been punctured.

But let’s pause for a moment and look at why holding onto that old passport might just be a smart move.

First off, your old passport can act as an extra form of identification.

There are instances where you might need to prove your identity, and a passport, even an expired one, is a valid government-issued ID.

african lading holding travel documents and asking what to do with old passports

It can be particularly useful in scenarios where you might misplace your current passport and need to undergo a process to get it replaced.

Moreover, an old passport serves as a record of your travel history. This can be important in certain situations, like applying for visas where you need to showcase your travel experiences.

Those stamps and visas provide tangible evidence of your previous international movements.

Old passports also carry sentimental value for many.

Looking at the stamps and visas can bring back memories from your trips, keeping the emotions and experiences alive. It’s like a personal travel diary that has been officially stamped by every country you’ve visited.

Lastly, there’s the bureaucracy angle.

Sometimes, when dealing with governmental or administrative tasks, having a physical track record of your travel history, in the form of an old passport, can simplify processes that require thorough verification.

What to Do With Old Passports After Renewal?

Now, what should you do with your old passport? I’ve been there too, and I found out it’s not as simple as just tossing it into a drawer and forgetting about it. Here are some thoughtful steps you can take:

Keep it Safe:

While it may not serve as your primary travel document anymore, it’s still an important personal item. Think of it as a backup identification document.

In the unfortunate event that you lose your new passport, having the old one can make the process of getting a replacement slightly smoother.

Man keeping his old passport safely

It provides proof that you were issued a passport in the past.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep your old passport in a safe place, maybe along with other important documents like birth certificates or old IDs, since they could have pretty good information like your address, and other credentials.

Consider using a document holder or a safety deposit box.

Use as a Travel History Document

If you’re someone who frequently applies for visas, your old passport is invaluable. Many countries like to see evidence of past travels, especially if you’re applying for longer-term visas or permits.

The stamps and visas in your old passport can help build your credibility as a genuine traveler and not a potential over-stayer. It’s your tangible travel resume.

So, next time you’re lining up your paperwork for a visa application, remember to include your old passport too.

Related: How to see if my passport is flagged

Memorialize it

While we’re keeping things practical here, we can’t overlook the emotional value your old passport may hold.

Flipping through the pages can evoke memories of past adventures, experiences, and the people you met.

Some folks I know have turned their old passports into keepsakes. You could place it in a scrapbook alongside other travel mementos or photographs. It’s a beautiful way of chronicling your life’s journeys.

Destroy it Carefully

If you feel that your old passport has served its purpose and you don’t see any sentimental or practical reason to hold onto it, the safest route is to destroy it.

Keep in mind that it contains personal information that could be misused if it falls into the wrong hands. Don’t just throw it in the trash.

Make sure to shred it or cut it up in a way that all the personal details and your photo are completely unrecognizable. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.


While it might be tempting to disregard that expired document, your old passport still carries both practical utility and emotional significance. Holding onto it ensures that you have an extra ID, a record of your travels, and a treasure trove of memories securely stored in its pages, that’s if you want.

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