British passport renewal - do they now keep the old one?

A friend recently renewed her French passport and the old one was retained - the French no longer allow you to keep the old one. My question is ... has anyone recently renewed a British passport and are you still allowed to keep the old one?

Thanks Hilary -- interesting!


Mine was due to expire at the end of November 2014, so I timed a vist home to coincide with getting this done and as time was of the essence, I paid more for the 1 day service....(worth it, as there is no hanging about at all and they have re-organised the place to be as efficient as possible).....

When I came to collect my envelope just before 4pm, it contained the old on amongst my other documentation and the corner was snipped off.

Yes Dick - I've heard about that, but I'll be doing it in England on an upcoming visit (I've got 2 passports) and getting it/them sent to my sister.

What's more you have to pay twice - once for the new one and again for the old one to be returned. Mine delivered by DHL at the same time. Why they couldn't put them both in the same envelope and only charge me once is a mystery. Probably to reduce the deficit!

Exactly the same for me as John one year ago.


I had no Visas in my old PP. I filled out the application on-line. I do not recall whether I had to tick a box to get my old PP back, I do not think so, but when you apply, it might be worth making sure.

Thanks John - that's just what I wanted to know.

I renewed my passport in February this year using the new procedure, that is via the UK, and received my old passport back (as usual) with the top corner of the front cover snipped, and the bottom corner of the last page snipped.

New and old passports were in two separate envelopes delivered at the same time by DHL.

My youngest daughter renewed her passport at the end of last year. It was our first time doing it through the UK passport office, but despite my reservations everything went through very quickly. When we received the new passport we didn't get the old one back with the corner snipped off but because it was the first time we had done it through the UK (previously we have used the embassies in Luxembourg + Paris) and due to the fact that we were a bit rushed because we were going on holiday to visit the eldest daughter in Portugal I didn't think anymore about it.

However, some time later, a letter arrived asking whether she wanted the old passport to be sent to her or be destroyed. I opened the letter, but since she spends most of her time at her boyfriend's I forgot to tell her about it so we didn't reply but some time later she received a phone call asking what she wanted to do with the old passport.

In all my 25 + years of living abroad I've never experienced this, but that must be how they do it now.

That''s what I'm talking about ... I've always kept my old passports up to now .... with the corner clipped off. I want to know if it still happens.

You were never allowed to keep an old passport as it was, unless there were valid visas in it. The reason is that a passport isn't your property, although you pay for it. Usually if you ask, they put a hole in it or cut the corners off it and you can keep it as a souvenir!