Once passports expire, we assume there is no use for them anymore. However, there are so many ways to put them to good use.
Expired passports can be used as proof of identification or as a visa as long as the picture is still accurate. Passports that have expired can be destroyed by burning them or cutting them into tiny pieces. Repurposing expired passports is another great option, and there are many ways to do so.
Continue reading for information on what to do with your expired passport.
When Do Passports Expire
First off, it’s important to know when your passport will expire. You don’t want to end up stranded in a foreign country, or sometimes worse, have your dream Greece vacation planned out and find out your passport expires two days before you need to leave. Passports take a few months to come in after you reapply, so this would ruin the whole trip. It’s helpful to keep track of when your passport expires to prevent this from happening, which is 10 years from the day it was issued. If someone is younger than 16 years old, their passport expires every five years. The reason for this is so that their picture will stay accurate. Some countries won’t accept a passport as identification if the child looks completely different from their picture. (Source)
Visas and Proof of Identification
There are a few things you can do with your passport, but sometimes you can continue to use it for other purposes! It will no longer serve as proper proof of your citizenship, but it can still serve as identification. Once again, your picture will need to be accurate for this to work. Some countries accept old passports as an identification but make sure to research which countries follow this exception. When you aren’t traveling, you can use your expired passport to get a new passport, a new birth certificate, or any other forms that need proof of identification.
Another use for your expired passport is your visa. Visas have different expiration dates than passports, so your passport could expire with a visa still linked to it. In this case, you can use your passport for your visa, but you will also need to carry around your new passport for proof of citizenship. It can’t hurt to have two right? (Source)
Proper Disposal of Passports
If you are using your passport for the previous purposes listed, or just keeping it for memories, make sure to keep it in a safe place. You don’t want anyone getting ahold of that important information or your precious memories.
Government officials recommend not disposing of your passport, so if you wish to do so be extensive. If you choose to dispose of your passport, it needs to be disposed of thoroughly. Passports are made of thicker materials and even have a chip with your information on them. Even cutting it up might not be secure. Make sure to cut it up into extremely tiny pieces, so that no one can learn of your valuable information. The best way to get rid of a passport would be to burn it. But how sad would that be to watch all your memories turn to ashes? Personally, I recommend turning it into something new. (Source)
Passports showcase so many memories all at once, so it’s a great idea to turn them into something new that you can keep forever. If you have kids that want to travel it may inspire them, or even inspire you if you haven’t traveled in a while. There are endless options for what you could do with it. Some options include framing the pages, turning them into a book or journal, creating a gift, and decorating your house.
One important tool to have is a seam ripper. This allows you to cut the seam and take the pages out. It may already be emotional to take apart your passport, so you don’t want to risk ripping any of the pages. Some other supplies include scissors, invisible tape, glue, cardstock, foreign currency, pictures, writing utensils, a picture frame, your souvenirs, and a blank book or journal. (Source)
As for framing goes, you could put each page into individual frames with pictures from that specific country and other small souvenirs. You can then put them up around your house as decorations! This way you can display all of the places you’ve been to. The pages themselves are their own style, so they can really add a lot to your house.
If there’s a trip you went on with a best friend, you could give them the frame for the country you went to as a gift. Then they will remember your friendship and that trip forever. You could also frame the pages with the currency from that country, or put all the pages in one frame. Instead of keeping your old passport locked away in a filing cabinet, you can turn it into something that everybody can enjoy.
Another option is creating a travel journal. You can really personalize it and make it yours. Paste the passport pages on their own page in the journal and then add small souvenirs like bus tickets, restaurant receipts, coins, flowers, polaroids, and more. You can also print your pictures from the trip and paste them onto the pages. Then create a journal entry for each country. You can talk about the memories you made, the cities you went to, what you learned, what you saw, the activities you did, the food you ate, and where you stayed.
This can be your own personal memory book, or you could share it with others, possibly giving it away as a gift to a close family member or friend. You could possibly turn it into a real book. Proving that you went to these places and then giving your advice on what to do and where to go can be really valuable to some people. Expired passports are more than just a mini-book with stamps and identification in them. They hold memories, experiences, and a lifetime of adventure inside.
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