What to Do With Expired U.S. Passport

If your US passport has expired, you might be wondering what to do with it now. 

Should you throw it out? Destroy it? Send it somewhere?

In this article, we will talk about exactly that – what to do with an expired passport. Read along and learn the answers to these questions as well as some other ones that might come up.


Options on what to do with an expired passport 

There isn’t one thing that you are required to do with your US passport when it expires. You don’t have to send it anywhere or stash it in a specific place. 

We can recommend, though, that you keep your passport. Below you can find reasons why you should do it and also some options of not keeping your passport. 

Why keep your expired US passport

There are many reasons to keep your expired passport and that is why we recommend it:

  • Passport renewal:  you will usually need your old passport for the renewal procedure of your new one. If you don’t have it you will probably be asked to apply for a new passport, not a renewed one. 
  • Identity theft: passports, when thrown out, can lead to identity theft. Someone could pick them up from the trash and use them as identification documents.
  • ID and age verification: old, expired passports still can be used as identification documents when, for example, proving your age upon entering a bar or buying alcohol.
  • Visa: some visas might still be valid in your expired passport (see the visa section below).
  • Citizenship proof: in some situations, an expired passport can work as proof of citizenship instead of, for example, a birth certificate.
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Why not keep your US expired passport

You can also choose not to keep your expired passport, though this option is a bit risky and can restrict your options in some fields – like passport renewal – in the future. 

These are the reasons as to why not keep your expired passport (at least not in the form it previously was):

  • Expired passports can pile up and create clutter. If you don’t like to store old things and prefer to get rid of the mess before it even appears, keeping your old passport might not even be an option. 
  • You can turn your passport into some sort of art or decoration. It can be a cool thing to display especially if it holds a lot of visas. 

We recommend that, if you don’t wish to keep your passport, you should destroy it somehow or change it into art. 

Expired passports thrown out into the trash can lead to major identity theft and it’s best to avoid that. 

What to do with US expired passports – a summary

As you can see, we recommend not throwing out your expired passport. Who knows when you might need it? 

Also, it’s good to remember that expired passports in the trash can subject you to having your identity stolen. 

The best thing to do with an expired passport is to keep it stored somewhere safe for future purposes (for example for applying for a renewal).


Can I destroy my expired US passport?

es, it’s not forbidden to destroy passports. If you don’t plan to keep it, it’s actually better to destroy it than throw it away.

Can I still use my expired US passport?

You can’t use your expired passport for traveling, but you will be able to use it for identification purposes in some other situations like getting to a bar or something similar.

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