Do you need to keep old passports?

So your passport is about to expire. You send off the application for the new one – but what should you do with your old passport?

When you apply for a new passport, you’ll have to send several documents to the passport office. As well as your new passport photo, your old passpòrt will need to be sent. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll kiss it goodbye. When your brand new passport arrives, the old one will be enclosed, too.

Your old passport will be clearly marked as invalid. Usually, this means that a hefty piece of the corner is cut off, making it immediately obvious that it’s no longer useful for travelling. Given its invalid status, you might be tempted to throw the old passport out. However, this is generally not recommended. Your old passport may not be valid anymore, but it could still make you the target for identity theft. Strictly speaking, you don’t NEED to keep it – but for your own peace of mind, you’re probably better off tucking it away in a safe spot like a desk drawer.

Many people like to keep their old passports for sentimental value. After all, your old passport photo can bring back memories, along with the stamps or visas from countries that you’ve visited. But there are practical reasons for keeping it, too. Your old passport contains information such as entry and exit dates for the countries that you travelled to. These can be vital if you’re going back in the future, as you’ll need this information for visas.

Sometimes, your passport might expire before a visa does. In this case, it’s important to inform the passport office when you send off your application for renewal. Even if you have no plans to visit that particular country again, you shouldn’t skip this step. When it comes to passports, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and you never know when your circumstances might change.

All in all, you may find that you never use your old passport again – but it’s still worth keeping, just in case. Given that it hardly takes up any space, you might as well tuck it into a drawer and hold onto it.

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