If one was to apply for a new passport before the old one expired, would it be possible to continue to use the old passport?

It being the case that the old passport was not physically marked with the words cancelled, etc, and was not reported as lost/stolen.

I know some countries allow citizens to hold two physical copies of the same passport. So I believe it would be akin to this, but not officially sanctioned.

  • 1
    In my case, New Zealand. They will however return the new passport with instructions to affix a 'sticker' to the old passport stating 'cancelled'
    – Asher
    Dec 6, 2016 at 10:45
  • @pnuts Many countries...
    – Neusser
    Dec 6, 2016 at 11:04
  • 1
    If they've told you to put that sticker on then they've probably entered the passport into a database of invalidated documents with a note saying it had been cancelled. Attempting this seems very risky.
    – phoog
    Dec 6, 2016 at 12:32
  • Are you still in New Zealand?
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 6, 2016 at 18:06

3 Answers 3


From the New Zealand government passport application form:

WARNING Once your passport application has been received, your old passport will be cancelled immediately and cannot be used for travel. Anyone attempting to travel on a cancelled passport will be refused travel.

The process is still the same as countries that require the physical passport for renewal: they will mark your old passport as cancelled in the relevant databases when they receive your application, and the document will no longer be valid for travel. Many countries will punch a hole or otherwise mark your old passport and return it to you (so that you may continue to use any visas contained therein, if this practice is accepted by your destination country); New Zealand asks its citizens to take care of the marking themselves to facilitate a more efficient process where the old passport need not be mailed in.


Some countries do issue multiple passports to their citizens, if and when the citizen has a good enough reason (in their opinion).

But using an invalid passport, stamped or not, is a very bad idea. So the question would be, at which point in the renewal process does your government invalidate the old passport? If they instruct you not to use it any more, as you mentioned in the comment, that point has been reached.

  • OP doesn't have his new passport yet.
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 6, 2016 at 18:04
  • @JonathanReez this answer seems to take that fact into account.
    – phoog
    Dec 6, 2016 at 21:51

The answer is yes in most of the cases! Otherwise, how would you be able to travel in this situation? I mean, if you apply for a new passport, it will take few days/weeks before you get it. So if you can't use the old one, you can't travel.

Indeed, it is better to apply for a new passport before the old one expires. This will allow you to fill the gap and avoid a period without any passport available.

And you are right, some countries allow you to carry two passports at the very same time, mainly because you could denied access in some countries if your passport has visas from other countries because of political reasons...

  • 7
    Passport authorities have no obligation to ensure that their country's citizens are able to travel at all times. The citizen has been instructed to affix a "cancelled" sticker. Surely the passport has been recorded as cancelled in a database of invalidated documents.
    – phoog
    Dec 6, 2016 at 12:35
  • 2
    For countries (including the US) where you have to send in your old passport, you can't travel until you get the new passport back.
    – stannius
    Dec 6, 2016 at 18:45
  • 3
    This answer is incorrect: it contradicts official statements of the New Zealand government quoted in other answers. "Otherwise, how would you be able to travel in this situation?" You wouldn't. Tough. It's your responsibility to schedule your passport renewal for a time when you don't need to travel. Dec 6, 2016 at 19:54

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