Five things you must resist doing on a passport photo

You must obey certain rules if you want to take a successful passport photo. Essentially this means that you can’t just jump into a photo booth and start snapping away without checking the guidelines first. If your picture doesn’t meet the strict criteria it can be rejected, thus delaying your passport from being processed. Here are five things you must avoid doing if you want to get your photo right first time around.

1. Smiling

The rules are pretty clear on this one. According to the official guidelines, you must have a ‘neutral expression’ on your face. This means that you must resist the urge to smile even if you are tempted to show off your pearly white teeth.

2. Posing

It’s the age of the selfie and people are more in-tune than ever when it comes to their best angle. However, when it comes to your passport no one cares whether you look better with your head tilted down as your eyes gaze into the distance. Instead, you must face forward and look directly at the camera.

3. Editing

Mobile phone users are spoilt for choice when it comes to pictures. They edit their snaps to make them black and white, sepia, faded and many more shades. However, on your passport photo you must use a colour image on plain white paper.

4. Headgear

There are certain exceptions to when you can cover your head. This includes if it’s for medical reasons or because of your religious belief. Obviously, this doesn’t include hats, bandanas or caps, so don’t even think about wearing one of these for your passport photo.

5. Obstructive fringes

Every now and then a new fashion trend dictates that it’s perfectly acceptable to have hair across your face. But there’s little room for adventurous hairstyles on passport photos. If you take a picture with your fringe obstructing your eyes you’ll have to go back and do it again before your passport can be processed.

It’s photo time

If your first passport photo is rejected it can be very inconvenient. Therefore, be sure to avoid these five temptations and everything should run rather smoothly.

Photo: rejected by hang_in_there licensed under Creative commons 2

Three times you’ll need a new passport…and three times you won’t

The process of getting a new passport can be time-consuming, complicated and rather expensive. That is why it’s important to know when you’ll need a new one. If your passport was issued when you were over the age of 16, it should last for 10 years. However, you may need one sooner if you make significant changes within that time. With that in mind, here are three times when you will and three times when you won’t need a new passport.

When you will:

A change of name

If you change your name – whether it’s your first name or your surname – you’ll need to get a new passport. This can happen under a whole manner of circumstances but is most likely to affect newlyweds or divorcees.

A change of gender

If you have transitioned from male to female or female to male, you’ll need to apply for a new passport so that it coincides with your new gender.

A (big) change to appearance

If you make any significant changes to your appearance – such as undergoing plastic surgery – you will need to apply for a new passport so that your passport photo is up to date.

When you won’t:

A (small) change to appearance

Don’t worry, a new passport isn’t required just because you’ve made minor changes to your appearance. Therefore, if you’ve stopped wearing glasses, dyed your hair or grown a beard, you’ll be fine with your current passport.

A change to your marital status

If you’ve just tied the knot but you’re keeping your last name, you won’t need a new passport. Just going from ‘miss’ to ‘mrs’ is fine. On the other hand, if you’ve adopted a new surname, then you will need a new passport before travelling abroad.

A change of title

Some professionals become concerned that they will need a new passport if they acquire a new title. This can include becoming a doctor or a professor. In such cases, your current passport will still be valid.

Happy travels

If you do require a new passport but haven’t altered your appearance, it’s probably best to get new passport photos done so that it’s a better representation of how you look right now. If you have a holiday planned and need a new passport, minimise any delay by using Paspic to ensure your new photos are up to standard.

Why travelling with those extra passport photos is a clever idea

If you’ve followed all the tips on our blogs, you’ll already have a set of perfect passport photos. But don’t just file them away in a drawer, because there are some good reasons why you should carry those extra passport photos when you’re on your travels.

Emergency travel documents

It can happen to any of us – you lose your passport, or, worse yet, have it stolen. You may even discover that your passport has expired before your return journey. In all these cases you’ll need emergency travel documents from the nearest Consulate, and to provide the documents the Consulate will need up to date passport photos.

Trekking in Africa

If you’re fulfilling your dream of communing with wildlife, you may find you need to provide a passport photo for your trekking permits; another clever use for those extra passport photos you had taken. We’ve also blogged about needing extra photos for visas, so carry them with you in a small Ziploc bag to protect against moisture damage.

Foreign adoption

If you can’t wait to bring home that bundle of joy from abroad, you’ll need to take some extra passport photos for identification purposes. These will be attached to all the relevant paperwork, and not having them to hand can hold up the process.

Luggage ID

Pimp your luggage labels with a passport photo. That way there’ll be no disputes at the baggage carousel because you can definitively prove that, yes, that shocking pink suitcase is yours. Just pop a passport photo inside your luggage label. Works well for carry-ons, too.

Police reports

Should the very worst happen and your partner or child goes missing on holiday, you’ll need to file a police report. This procedure can be extremely distressing and you’ll be asked to provide an up to date image for the police to work with. A spare passport photo can be the ideal means of identification thanks to its clarity of image.

Carry a digital copy

Finally, remember to have a digital copy stored on your phone as backup, in case you lose the hard copies.

Baby passport photo do’s and don’ts

Taking a passport photo as an adult is hard enough – getting the right angle, keeping your eyes open, deciding on a photo that you’re happy to commit to for the next ten years. However, if you’re the parent of an infant, the idea of getting an acceptable passport photo of a temperamental newborn can seem like another level of difficulty.

To help make sure your baby’s passport photo is more likely to be accepted, here are a few simple do’s and don’ts…

DO lie your baby on a white sheet

For very young children, you’re much more likely to get a useable shot if your child is lying down than if you try to sit them up. This is totally acceptable, but you still need to create a white background for the photo. The easiest way to do this is to lie your child down against a smooth white sheet.

DON’T be in the shot

You might find it easier to keep your baby calm if you’re holding them or supporting their head. This is acceptable, but your hands can’t appear in the shot, so make sure you position yourself in a way that you can easily be cropped out without compromising the photo.

DO make sure your baby’s head is clearly visible

A baby’s head still needs to take up around 80% of the photo to be acceptable in most countries. Just like an adult passport photo, only the head and the top of the shoulders should be visible in a classic portrait style.

DON’T give your baby a pacifier

It might be the easiest way to keep your baby calm and quiet during the photography session, but a picture of a child with a pacifier in his or her mouth is unlikely to be accepted.

DO use toys behind the camera

If your baby has a favourite toy, holding it up behind the camera is a good way to keep them happy and looking in the right direction. You could also use the old trick of dangling a set of keys. In most countries, children under six don’t need to be looking directly at the camera as long as they’re facing in roughly the correct direction.

DON’T worry about getting the perfect shot

Baby passport photos are only temporary, so don’t get too hung up on capturing the perfect image. If you get stressed, chances are your child will pick up on it, making the experience much more difficult than it needs to be. If you remember that a passport photo is just a means to an end and focus on hitting all the standard criteria, there’s no reason you can’t have a perfectly acceptable shot in a matter of minutes.

Photo: IMGP8875-cropped by ☻☺ licensed under Creative commons 2