I read about French passport renewals (Google Translate):

The old passport must be returned. If it included a visa, it can be kept for the period of validity of this visa.

Assume that the old passport did include a valid visa, thereby allowing the passport owner to keep it when retrieving the new passport. What happens if one doesn't return the old passport once the visa on the old passport expired?

Original quote in French:

L'ancien passeport doit être restitué. S'il comportait un visa, il peut être conservé pendant la durée de validité de ce visa.

1 Answer 1


Nothing happens. I have a stack of them. I have never been asked to return any of them later on. As far as I know, when they hand it back, it's permanent. Every time a Consulate employee noticed an active visa, (s)he said Je vais vous rendre le passport, annulé. ie I will give it back to you, canceled.

  • 2
    What’s the mode of cancellation these days? Cut corner or hole through the passport? Or just a stamp?
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 16 at 15:22
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    @jcaron a few years ago it was cutting the top right corner of the cover page, from what I recall. But maybe that depends on who is cancelling the passport? Commented Mar 16 at 17:15
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    @jcaron I don't think they cut/punch through the whole passport anywhere, that could easily damage visa stickers and the like. They do damage the front page, so it's easy to see there's something with it, and at least in Hungary they also punch holes into the machine readable zone.
    – tevemadar
    Commented Mar 16 at 17:49
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    My experience is cutting corners (including part of the MRZ) and stamping "cancelled" on the bio page
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 16 at 20:34
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    @FranckDernoncourt - the UK Passport Office gives Brits their old passports back with the corner cut off to show it is an old one. I think many other countries do this; it might be an international convention. Commented Mar 16 at 22:09

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