At the time of renewing your passport, you’re supposed to submit your old passport with the other supporting documents for processing. Your old passport will then be stamped as “cancelled” and returned back along with the new passport. We are often asked by our travelers, “What should I do with my old passport?” We say, “Hold on to your old cancelled passport!” Even though you can’t use your expired passport for travel, it’s still a very useful document.               

Cancelled (expired) passports should not be treated the same as expired medicines, food or coupons and just thrown away. Many people assume it’s a good idea to shred or destroy their old passport, just like they would cut up and discard their old credit card on getting a new one, as there is always a fear of losing the document and if gone into the wrong hands could lead to identity theft or doctored into a fake ID and misused.

We’ve come up with top reasons for the value of an expired Passport and why it should be kept in a safe place:

Your expired Passport is still a proof of your identity:

Irrespective of the validity, your passport is still an internationally recognized travel document that verifies your identity and citizenship. Even if expired, it is still an official document issued by your country authorities. Every new passport issued contains details of the old passport you held. So your passport does not really stand invalid and is a continuous record of your identity.

Your expired Passport contains valid Visas:

If you are a frequent traveler, your old passport may still hold valid visas. On renewal of your passport, many countries require that you renew your visa once your passport is changed. But in case of few countries, you can travel on the same visa affixed on the old passport. The validity of an existing visa does not expire if you acquire a new passport (in case old passport has expired), as long as your personal particulars and nationality has not changed. You, as the visa holder can travel carrying your old passport with a valid visa along with your new passport. Several countries that issue long-term multiple entry visas have special rules that may allow you to use the visa in your old passport. For eg: US visas are issued for ten (10) years with a multiple entry facility. Irrespective of your passport renewal, you can continue using your US visa until the day it expires. Only ensure to carry both passports with you when you travel – your new passport, and your old passport with the US visa.

Your expired Passport is a proof of your travel history:

Your travel history is considered as the most important element for approving visas. A well-traveled passport will indicate that the person is stable and will return back to his/her home country. At the time of applying visas for any country, visa officers check your travel history and what better way, than to present your old passport, as the entry and exit stamps of all visited countries on your passport will show that you have a history of travelling abroad. A strong travel history with visas (valid or expired) of major countries increases the applicant’s chances of acquiring a visa successfully. For eg: having a US visa, UK visa, Schengen visa, Australia visa, Canada visa or New Zealand visa is definitely an added advantage.   

Also when you apply for a job that requires security clearance or background check which includes travel history, at that time it’s next to impossible to recollect when and where you traveled without your old passport and the stamps in it, unless you think you remember every trip with dates or that you haven’t traveled much at all. In either ways, its best to have your old/expired passport handy to provide accurate details of your travel history.

Your expired Passport is a mandate document for your visa application:

Some countries require you to submit your old passport as well (if applicable) along with other documents for processing a visa application. This is needed in order to check if the applicant has traveled recently to that particular country. If the used visa of that country is in a previous passport, a copy of the previous passport, visa and entry record is required. If the previous passport is not available (e.g. old passports have been lost/destroyed etc.) the applicant must then submit a letter to the Embassy/Consulate explaining what has happened to his/her previous passport. Such a tedious process, right? Instead of going through this procedure, why not simply keep your old passport securely and present it as and when needed for a hassle-free visa experience.

Your Old Passport serves as memories of all your travel:

Your passport is still a treasured document that represents all of the wonderful trips you’ve taken all over the world till date in your life. It’s still something of a time capsule, allowing you to instantly transport yourself back to those visited places in your mind and relive all those memories that will last a lifetime. Many people choose to keep their old passport as a keepsake for this very reason. Hold onto yours! Looks like it carries tons of memories too.

It is always so hard to say goodbye to a passport! Each stamp, each visa, and each page tells a story of your journey through life. So, why not preserve your passport as a souvenir of all your travels.

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