Tips for taking the perfect passport photo as a woman

We’ve all been there: we get our passport photograph taken at the height of a fashion revolution, only to cringe a few years’ later whenever we need to produce our ID. So, just how do we get it right in terms of makeup and beauty, so we love our passport photos, instead of loathing them?

Start with the basics

The first beauty tip, and probably the most important, is to start with the basics: your complexion. It is common for photo booth images to come out looking a little flat and dull, so taking the time to work on your complexion is a must. Try not to go for a foundation that has an SPF base as a flash can make your face look overly shiny. Instead, opt for a matt foundation and use a subtle highlighter down your nose and along your cheekbones. Natural bronzing powder will be great for subtly contouring your face, leaving you with a fresh, matte and gorgeous complexion on your passport photos.

Remember, less is more, and try not to over contour or highlight, as it is a subtle glow and not shine that you want in your photos.

Don’t try too hard

Your passport photo needs to last 10 years, so you want to keep your look timeless. Don’t go wearing anything that is overly trendy. For instance, a dramatic eyeliner, brightly coloured lipstick or metallic eyeshadow might be looking catwalk worthy now, but in five years’ time it may leave you blushing upon its reminder.

The secret smile

The rules of smiling on photos for your passport are extremely strict, there are ways to ensure you look as though you are smiling without actually doing so. Sounds odd, but with a little bit of practice in the mirror beforehand this trick works. When in the photo booth, get in position and look straight ahead. Breathe in, then out and relax your facial muscles. Lightly clench your teeth, widen your eyes and raise your eyebrows a tiny bit while silently telling yourself to think about smiling.

Photo: for passport by parramitta licensed under Creative commons 2

How to get a passport for a child

Organising a passport for a child can be a worry for some parents. Getting an appropriate baby passport photo can be one problem, whilst for some, understanding the passport eligibility criteria and completing the paperwork can be stressful.

The actual process is relatively simple. You will need to make arrangements for the child’s passport photo yourself. Then you can apply for a child’s passport either online or pick up an application form at the Post Office. If you are unsure about completing the form, the Post Office offers a Check and Send service where a member of staff will check your child’s passport application form before it is sent.

The application must be signed by an adult with parental responsibility and a counter-signatory who can confirm that this adult does actually have parental responsibility. This person must also sign the back of the passport photo to confirm that it is a good likeness of the child. The child must also sign the form if he or she is aged between 12 and 15. Children who are approaching 16 must apply for 10 year adult passports. This can be done without parental consent.

You need to provide originals of supporting documents to confirm your child’s identity. The application form will set out which documents are required depending on your child’s circumstances. These will be returned to you by post and you can pay an extra £3 to have them returned by secure delivery. As with applications or renewals for adult passports, you can track the application online – immediately for online applications or after three weeks if you have applied by post.

There are specific procedures in place for children who are adopted, fostered or born through either assisted reproduction or surrogacy. For example, there are different processes for children who were adopted from abroad compared to children adopted in the UK. If you are fostering a child who requires a passport, you may have to liaise with both the passport office and the local authority under whom the child is in the care of. Try and make sure you leave plenty of time for these organisations to do what is required.

Three reasons to have a passport even if you don’t plan on going abroad

It’s true to say that passports mainly function as a means of helping us cross the boarder into different countries. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in one just because you can’t afford to go away, or you prefer a ‘staycation’. Some people might never have had a passport, while others might simply have let theirs expire without giving any thought to getting a new one. This could cause many unforeseen problems, even if you aren’t eyeing up a holiday in the near future. Here are three times when you may find you need a passport.

1. Identification

Passports are the most commonly accepted forms of ID, alongside driving licences. Flashing a passport is often the answer to buying a whole range of age-restricted products, including cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. You may also not be allowed to see some movies if you can’t produce a form of ID beforehand. Even when you are well over the legal age, those lucky enough to look youthful may be called upon to show their ID on a regular basis.

2. Employment

You can be asked to produce your passport when starting a new job. This is because your new employer will want to see proof that you are eligible to work in the UK. If you can’t show your passport, you may be required to get a new passport before your first day of work. This can be pricey and could risk pushing back your start date.

3. Unplanned travel

You never know when you might need to hop on a plane or ferry. Just because you aren’t planning on having a holiday abroad doesn’t mean you won’t end up going away. Sometimes you could be required to travel overseas with work, or a close friend could organise a special occasion – such as a wedding – in a foreign country. Don’t be left trying to sort a passport at the last minute.

Sort your passport today

If you haven’t got a valid passport already, you should go and get one as soon as possible. The whole process starts with posing for a passport photo and afterwards you can use it for ID, official documentation and for unplanned trips.

Why you need an additional passport photo for your US visa waiver

In most cases, you won’t require a new passport photo until it is time to renew your passport. This means that – as long as your passport was issued after you turned 16 – you won’t need to change your passport photo for a decade. Unfortunately there are certain scenarios where you might need to submit another photo for your passport. One such instance is when applying for a US visa waiver.

Travelling to the US

If you’re travelling to the United States from the UK, you will need to apply for an ESTA visa. ESTAs give tourists the opportunity to spend up to 90 days in the US. You can apply for an ESTA online by filling in a rather detailed form. Generally, the majority of people will be granted access to the country, however, there are several occasions when you may need to apply for a visa waiver instead.

People are mostly likely to require a visa waiver if they have ever been arrested for a crime. This arrest doesn’t have to have resulted in a conviction, and instead only has to have occurred. Anyone interested in a visa waiver will have to attend an interview at the US embassy. During this interview a decision will be made concerning whether you are eligible to enter the US – and therefore if you will require a visa waiver.

An additional passport photo

If you are accepted for a visa waiver, you will require a new visa to be stamped into the back of your passport. This will call for an additional, up to date photo. This photo is subject to all the same conditions as your main passport photo. This means you shouldn’t be smiling, your eyes must be visible and you shouldn’t have any hair in your face that obstructs your appearance. Typically you will be required to submit this additional photo when you attend your meeting at the US embassy.

Enjoy your trip to the US

The process of getting a US visa waiver is long and thorough. Make sure you don’t cause any delays by taking an acceptable passport photo and bringing it with you to your interview.