Can I throw away my passport?
When your passport has expired, you may feel like throwing it away. However, this is one of the many ways your identity can be compromised.
Not only that but if you are a victim of identity theft, this exposes you to fraud and will hinder any application to renew your passport.
As a passport is an official document of your nationality, travel history, address, Right to Work for British passport holders, and access to consular assistance overseas, it is vital that you protect this document.
Sarah Rapson from the Identity and Passport service suggests: ‘Your passport is not only increasingly attractive to fraudsters, but it will cost you at least £77.50 to replace, so it’s really important that you keep it safe both when you are at home and when you’re abroad.’
This still applies to an expired passport.
Passports are made to be durable documents that are not easily duplicated or forged. Because of this, it is advised you do not attempt to destroy your old passports yourself.
Instead, follow the steps below to return your expired passport to the The UK Passport Office where they will dispose of your invalid documents in a safe, thorough way.
Where do I return my old UK passport?
It is advised you refrain from simply throwing it away at home, and instead send all expired passports to the the UK Passport Office via postal service so they can dispose of it properly by incineration.
Passports are currently non-recyclable materials.
How to send an expired passport to be disposed of
To safely dispose of any old passports, simply send to The UK Passport Office:
- Securely package your old passports in a parcel or large envelope.
- Include a note within the parcel stating that you would like your passports to be disposed of.
- Seal the parcel and clearly write the address of the UK Passport Office on the front of your envelope. The UK Passport Office is a freepost address, so you will not need a stamp.
- Deliver to your local Post Office where they will post your old passports via Royal Mail.
You are required to renew your passport before travel if your passport:
- Has less than 6 months validity
- Has expired
- Has significant damage or rips
Without your old passport, a renewal application will be more complicated and time consuming.
You will be required to apply as if you have had your passport lost or stolen, which entails providing a counter signatory, who will need to provide personal details and will hinder your application process.
To renew your passport, you must apply online via the Gov.uk website. You will need:
- A digital passport appropriate photo of the applicant
- A credit/debit card
- Your current valid passport
To renew a passport, the current cost is £75.50.
Lost or Stolen Passport
You must cancel your lost or stolen passport immediately through Gov.uk. This is to prevent identity theft and safeguard your personal details.
If your passport is stolen, report it to the police by calling 101 in the UK.
If your passport is stolen abroad, report it to the local police department and ask for a written report which may be required of you by the British Embassy if you begin a replacement passport application.
You will need the name and contact details of someone who can confirm your identity.
Will Brexit mean I have to get a new passport?
UK citizens with a European Union passport will still be able to use their current passports after Brexit as long as it is valid for travel.
Post Brexit, all UK passports will retain their validity as British travel documents, but they will have less freedom within Eu travel.
Can I replace my passport via paper application?
Paper postal application forms are available to complete through your local Post Office. Alternatively, you are able to request an application form from Passport Advice.
To complete this application, you will need:
- 2 identical passport appropriate images of yourself.
For more information on paper passport renewal applications, click here.
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