Honesty vs sentimentality: should I return my old, *old* passport.
December 9, 2009 12:47 PM   Subscribe

UKPassportFilter: I have a passport from 1988 which has expired, but which I want to keep. Should I declare it on the form for my new passport application, or just keep quiet and hope it goes unnoticed?

The old passport has sentimental value since it has pictures of me and my wife only a short time after we were married. We do look almost embarrassingly young :) I have hair and everything ...

If I don't declare it, is officialdom likely to notice or check back that far (more than 20 years)? OR is there a way to 'fess up to it but ask to be allowed to keep it?

It's an old-fashioned one year passport of a kind which isn't issued any more, so I don't know if officialdom would even be interested. (You get 10 year ones now, and you can't get joint passports, you have to have one each.)
posted by BrokenEnglish to Law & Government (19 answers total)
Best answer: When I renewed my UK passport they sent it back with a corner of the front cover cut off. The contents inside were intact.
posted by IanMorr at 12:52 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

In the US you can fill out a special form when you get a new passport if you've lost your old passport [which legitimately happens, so there's a legitimate system for handling it]. They go through some process which invalidates your old passport number. It is likely that something similar would apply in your country if you had misplaced this one, iykwim.
posted by jessamyn at 12:53 PM on December 9, 2009

Send it back to them explaining what you want and they'll stamp it invalid, cut the corner off like Ian says, and send it back to you.
posted by dmt at 12:57 PM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you to all. IanMorr marked as best because he was first but I appreciate the other responses as well.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2009

Is it a BVP that you got from the post office?
posted by IanMorr at 1:03 PM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: IanMorr, yes, I think it is a British Visitor's Passport. I think the whole process was a lot less complicated then. Used it once only to take myself, Mrs B and our one-year old daughter off to Normandy, the Loire Valley and Paris in our 1959 Morris Minor.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 1:11 PM on December 9, 2009

Oh, then I don't think you can't use it as a supporting document anyway, you can only use a previous 10 year passport for a renewal. I had a BVP in 92 and got my first 10 year in 93. I kept the BVP and applied for the 10 year as if it was my first passport application with my birth certificate and the countersigned photo as my supporting documents.
posted by IanMorr at 1:18 PM on December 9, 2009

In your shoes, I wouldn't send it in. I'm not sure what you mean by "declaring" it and can't pull up a UK application online, but if it means what I think it does I would say at the appropriate points that, yes, I have had a passport, but I lost it.

It's not like the Home Office is going to send somebody 'round to your place to ransack it just to make sure that the old passport was really and truly lost, and if you don't send it, you don't take the chance that that odd type of passport can't be returned for whatever reason or that the bureaucrat dealing with your form is just having a shitty day or that a simple, honest fuckup happens and it doesn't get returned to you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:27 PM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: The problem with saying it's lost is they then ask you where and when you lost it ... which, if I knew, means it wouldn't be lost, surely? But the form doesn't lend itself to renewing an old and defunct passport, merely replacing or upgrading an existing one. But then there's a dire warning that all old passports must be surrendered. So although it's not a bad form as these things go, it is a bit tricky to know how to answer some of the questions. I think I might phone their helpline and see what they say.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2009

I renewed my US passport at the consulate in person and they punched a hole through my old one and handed it back to me along with the new one.
posted by skintension at 2:05 PM on December 9, 2009

You lost it "at home" sometime during the years "1997-2009" just like every other disorganized person in the UK did. They aren't going to deny you a passport just because you can't specify the exact details of your "loss."
posted by zachlipton at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2009

They'll void it and return it if you specify. While the exact method of voiding varies from country to country, (cut corner, big red stamp, hole drilled through middle) I think they all do this.

And yes, I have used an expired (and voided) passport as photo identification many times. But not in a foreign country.
posted by rokusan at 2:20 PM on December 9, 2009

Seconding IanMorr on the snipped-corner for the old 10-year passport on renewal -- good, because I had some lovely visas in it.

I'd be inclined to keep the BVP and just go with the standard first passport application, given that the BVP wasn't a "British Passport", as that is very specifically defined by law. Instead, it was created as a make-do equivalent to the identity cards that are pretty standard on the continent, in order to allow reciprocal travel. (This little diplomatic note kept by the UN is a nice bit of history.)
posted by holgate at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2009

The problem with saying it's lost is they then ask you where and when you lost it ... which, if I knew, means it wouldn't be lost, surely?

"I looked for it to send it in with the new application and can't find it, and have no way of knowing when or where it actually disappeared."

Again, Home Office is really REALLY *R*E*A*L*L*Y* unlikely to send someone around to your home to make sure that it's not there, or to polygraph you and question you about where your lost passport is, or to kidnap you and waterboard you or do mind-control shit to you to get you to admit that, fine, you didn't really lose your passport.

I would much rather tell a minor and utterly undetectable fib on the form and keep the passport I'm attached to with 100% certainty than send it in with a ninety-odd percent chance of getting it back.

If you call their helpline, explain your situation as "I had a BVP and lost it; how do I fill in your forms?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:05 PM on December 9, 2009

You might want to scan those photos and upload them somewhere in case you really do lose the thing.
posted by sageleaf at 3:49 PM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: "Home Office is really REALLY *R*E*A*L*L*Y* unlikely to send someone around to your home to make sure that it's not there"

I agree, but given that they're ramping up the paranoia about these things I'm more worried that they will tie me down with more bureaucratic interviews, etc, on the basis that I must be up to *something* if I didn't let them know about the old passport. Having once been put under tax investigation for indeterminate reasons for 18 months, I have no particular trust or liking for civil servants. So my concern was (a) they might demand to keep the old passport and I want to keep it, and (b) the process would take longer and be more complex if they thought they'd found an Al Qaeda sleeper lying on his application form. But having phoned their helpline after the pointers here I'm told it's OK to just not mention the old one.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: Oh, and again, thanks to all for the responses. Much appreciated.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 4:01 PM on December 9, 2009

They always give it you back - with the corner cut off the front cover. I have renewed mine twice now and both times I got the old one back, when they sent the new one.
posted by Susurration at 6:42 PM on December 9, 2009

Piping up as someone else who sent in her old, American, visa-filled passport for a new one, and got the old one back with holes through the cover. When you called them, did you ask if you would get it back voided? Or just whether you could not mention the old one? Everyone I know who's had their passport renewed has got the previous one back voided (I have friends from a few different European countries).
posted by fraula at 1:50 AM on December 10, 2009

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