Explained: MH17: Why Are There Expired "Pristine" Passports in the Wreckage? [Visa in Old Passport]

Brian Griffin

New Member
Here is an interesting one.

I made some stills from the videos where they were showing the passports. I noticed at least two expired passports.



The obvious question is: If these are the passports from the passengers on the plane, how could two people have boarded with an invalid passport?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
There's a variety of possible reasons. I think the most likely explanation is that some people had both their expired passport and their valid passport with them.

Old passports can contain long term visas still valid for travel in Malaysia, or other eventual destinations (such as the return to the EU).

http://blogs.usembassy.gov/malaysia/2013/03/29/valid-visa-expired-passport/

One of the most frequent questions asked of Consular Section Malaysia is “Can I still use a valid visa in an expired passport?” The answer is, in most cases, ‘Yes.’ The expiry date for your visa is printed on the visa page in your passport. You may continue to use your valid visa when travelling on your new passport provided that the visa was not damaged when your old passport was cancelled, that your new passport has the same nationality, name, and date of birth as the one in which the visa was issued and that your purpose of travel is the same. It is important to remember that you must carry both your old and new passports with you when travelling. If, however, the visa is damaged in any way, then that visa is no longer valid and cannot be used for travel to the U.S. If the front cover of your expired passport is clipped but the page with the visa is undamaged, you can still use the previously issued visa.
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And here's the policy in the US:

http://travel.state.gov/content/vis...y-asked-questions/about-visas-the-basics.html
My old passport has already expired. My visa to travel to the United States is still valid but in my expired passport. Do I need to apply for a new visa with my new passport?

No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports, as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism). Both passports (the valid and the expired one with the visa) should be from the same country and type (Example: both Uruguayan regular passports, both official passports, etc.). When you arrive at the U.S. port-of-entry (POE, generally an airport or land border) the Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer will check your visa in the old passport and if s/he decides to admit you into the United States they will stamp your new passport with an admission stamp along with the annotation "VIOPP" (visa in other passport). Do not try to remove the visa from your old passport and stick it into the new valid passport. If you do so, your visa will no longer be valid.

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There are other possible reasons.

For immigration purposes, your expired passport is still an important document as it contains a record of your travel. Some immigration processes require that you present all your old passports. Example:
http://banjul.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas.html
Visit the U.S. Embassy in Banjul on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, your current and all old passports, and the original visa fee payment receipt. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.
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Some people travel with an expired passport as a backup ID. I have done this myself. Carry the valid passport on your person, and keep the expired passport in a bag.

Expired passports are still valid for some uses in some places. People with duel citizenship might keep their old passport for this purpose. Example:
http://www.travelpal.eu/tourist-wiki/detail/switzerland-visa-information-866
However, EU and EEA citizens can still enter Switzerland without a valid travel document if their citizenship has been established. The burden of proof rests with the person concerned. Proof of citizenship may be furnished by any appropriate means (e.g. an expired passport, official document proving identity and/or citizenship of holder).
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The passport may have expired while they were out of the country, and they renewed it there, and they simply have the old passport.
 
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Brian Griffin

New Member
I happen to be Dutch and I know for a fact that you are not allowed to have two passports at the same time. In Holland they only punch a hole (actually 3 holes) in your passport as soon as you receive the new one. It is IMPOSSIBLE to travel with a Dutch passport like that!

I don't know anything about Malaysian passports, or any other passports for that matter so you may still be right. But this does not work for the Dutch passport.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I happen to be Dutch and I know for a fact that you are not allowed to have two passports at the same time. In Holland they only punch a hole (actually 3 holes) in your passport as soon as you receive the new one. It is IMPOSSIBLE to travel with a Dutch passport like that!

I don't know anything about Malaysian passports, or any other passports for that matter so you may still be right. But this does not work for the Dutch passport.

I've extended my answer above with info about VIOPP (Visa in old passport). Note the passports in the video are just cover clipped, or with a hole in the corner or side, so visas would be undamage.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
The obvious question is: If these are the passports from the passengers on the plane, how could two people have boarded with an invalid passport?

As Mick has already noted, my ex-girlfriend is Fijian and she had a visa for Germany (we are both in the British Army), visa for NZ and Australia, visa for the US and unrestricted leave to stay for the UK. In her case the old and new passports were stapled together.

As an O/T aside, she had a special page just for her name, as her surname is 34 letters long and didn't fit on the normal name page.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Another point the conspiracy theorists and/or hoaxer raise is that the passports are "pristine" or in "perfect condition".

This is nonsensical. For a start it's based on a video showing maybe 20 passports. There were 200 people on the plane. There were also very large segments of the plane that fell without burning. Large amounts of luggage that fell relatively undamaged. Many, if not most, people put their passport in their carry-on bag, or in the seat-back pocket. You would not expect much damage to a passport in that case. You only have to look at the various bits of luggage around the crash site to realize this:







 
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BombDr

Senior Member.
Another point the conspiracy theorists and/or hoaxer raise is that the passports are "pristine" or in "perfect condition".

This is nonsensical. For a start it's based on a video showing maybe 20 passports. There were 200 people on the plane. There were also very large segments of the plane that fell without burning. Large amounts of luggage that fell relatively undamaged. Many, if not most, people put their passport in their carry-on bag, or in the seat-back pocket. You would not expect much damage to a passport in that case. You only have to look at the various bits of luggage around the crash site to realize this:









Isn't it amazing how the debris organises itself into photogenic piles after falling from the sky?

I am quite appalled that the media don't seem to see contaminating a crime scene to be a problem, if the story comes first....
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
I was shocked seeing the early coverage with the reporters walking admist the wreckage and picking pieces up.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I happen to be Dutch and I know for a fact that you are not allowed to have two passports at the same time. In Holland they only punch a hole (actually 3 holes) in your passport as soon as you receive the new one. It is IMPOSSIBLE to travel with a Dutch passport like that!

I don't know anything about Malaysian passports, or any other passports for that matter so you may still be right. But this does not work for the Dutch passport.

As an airline crew member who operates into the US, I am required to get a special visa. It is in my old expired passport, yet it is still valid for entry into the US. There would be many such arrangements regarding visas around the world.
 

Brian Griffin

New Member
Thanks for all your thoughts! The whole thing just felt strange to me, because whenever I get I new passport they cripple the old one. Never thought about those Visa stamps.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for all your thoughts! The whole thing just felt strange to me, because whenever I get I new passport they cripple the old one. Never thought about those Visa stamps.

And visas are often more involved that just a stamp. Here's my old UK passport, which has a couple of full page visas, including my original work visa which was valid for three years.
 

RFMarine

Member
I always have my old passport with me, i'm from a third world country. why? because It just so happens my US visa is on the old passport. The us visa is valid for a few years and the passport is valid for a few years and it just so happened that the us visa was renewed when my passport was a couple of years from expiring. So I have no choice

the old passport is of course punched with holes
 
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