Woman holding her stamped passport

Why You Should Rethink Throwing Out Your Expired Passport

By Kristin Conard


Once a passport has expired, you might think it no longer has value — but that’s not true. Old passports can confirm your identity or even become an identity theft issue.
In the U.S., if your expired passport is within 15 years from when it was issued, you can send it to the National Passport Processing Center via mail to receive a new one.
There are a couple of other qualifiers, so double-check with the State Department. You’ll get your expired passport back with a hole punched in it or a corner cut off.
When you receive that old passport back, keep it, especially if you used it for a still-valid visa. You’ll have to bring old and new passports when you travel on that visa.
In some instances, expired passports can help prove your American citizenship. It can also be used as proof of identification if you still look like your passport photo.
If you have exhausted the reasons for holding onto an old passport, turn it over to the U.S. State Department passport agency so no one acquires and uses it for malicious reasons.