Why do babies need passports?

The fact that babies even require a passport may seem a bit strange, but next year will mark 20 years since the government introduced new laws requiring babies to have their own passport. That means we’ve almost had two decades of parents trying to get the perfect baby passport photo so that they can take their baby with them on their travels, but why exactly do babies require a passport in the first place?

Back in 1998, the then Immigration Minister, Mike O’Brien said that child abductions were among the reasons for introducing the new rules. In 1996, there were 374 children who were removed from the custody of their parents illegally and the government acted swiftly to bring in new laws in an attempt to bring the number of abductions down. O’Brien went on to say that child abduction was a problem that was ‘growing’ and with international travel becoming a lot easier, and more people having children outside of marriage, it ‘further complicated’ the situation and forced the government into introducing passports for children.

When the law was introduced, it affected half a million under 16s who would be applying for a passport for the first time. The new passports would last five years instead of adult passports which last 10, a rule which hasn’t changed since the passports have been introduced. Up until then, children didn’t require their own passport and would be entitled to travel on their parent’s passport.

One of the biggest challenges surrounding the new passports was the fact that a child would look very different in a short space of time, so if, for example, a child of three had a passport with a photo in it from when they were a baby, parents may have been required to replace the passport. In fact, the Passport Agency even stated that it was ‘incumbent on the parents’ to ensure their child got a new passport if their appearance changed.

Today, passports for babies and children are just part and parcel of travelling, although getting a baby passport photo can be challenging. If you need any help capturing the perfect passport photo for your baby or toddler, read our guide on how to take a passport photo of your baby.

Funniest passport photo fails

We all know that with the new regulations, getting your passport photo taken and ensuring it is fit for purpose is not straightforward. However some people fall at the first hurdle – and occasionally in the most entertaining ways…

Grandad’s photo fail 1

In 2015 an amused granddaughter shared her grandad’s passport photo disaster to Twitter. The unfortunate gentleman, clearly preoccupied with the list of dos and don’ts that he will have studied ahead of entering the photo booth, managed to press the wrong button. The resulting pictures had decorated his balding head with an assortment of fake cartoon wigs. It soon turned out that he was not alone. Several other grandchildren shared the results of their own grandparent’s efforts – all were modelling a series of cartoon additions to their heads and faces.

Tip: Lots of booths have a ‘fun’ option which will decorate your photograph with various animations and cartoon features. Double check which button you’re pressing.

Grandad’s photo fail 2

Also in 2015, another Twitter commentator shared the results of her own grandad’s expedition to the photo booth. On this occasion, he had somehow managed to select the ‘fun frame’ option, and the resulting picture had him chummily sat alongside famous comedy icon, Ali G. Much to the contributor’s amusement, her grandad was convinced that he had somehow received someone else’s photographs as he had absolutely no idea who Ali G was…

Tip: see previous. Check the buttons carefully!

Baby photo fail

At the other end of the age spectrum, in 2012 one Canadian internet blogger posted a magnificent passport photograph of his five month old son looking, well, a little worse for wear. The picture captured the baby with one eye closed, the other barely open and drool on his drooping jaw. The youngster was soon edited into various memes and photographs indicating he had been partying hard, much to the delight of members of the online community.

Tip: Be prepared to take several pictures to get the shot you want. Ideally go after baby has completely finished napping!

Tips to show personality on your passport photo

There’s little room to show personality on your passport photo – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The official guidelines – which ban people from smiling, looking into the distance or posing at an angle – mean that it’s difficult for people to capture some essence of what makes them unique. There are still some routes that you can go down if you want to make your image a little bit more individual. Here are just a few tips to get you started.


There’s actually quite a lot of freedom when it comes to your hair. As long as it doesn’t cover your eyes or face, it’s pretty much fair game. This means that you’re still welcome to experiment with funky ‘dos and adventurous hair dye if that’s what you’re into.


Admittedly, the vast majority of your attire won’t be seen on your passport photo if you take it in accordance with the guidelines. However, there can still be a small amount of your upper clothing on show – especially around the shoulder/neck area. Just make sure you don’t wear a hat or any other form of headgear because it’s not allowed.

Facial hair

Men can try all different styles of facial hair without worrying that it will cause their passport application to be rejected. Beards, moustaches and five o’clock shadows are perfectly acceptable, so there’s no need to shave for anyone who wants to rock one on their passport picture.

Make up

Makeup is fine for those people who want to cover those small imperfections. Whether it’s foundation to add a little bit of colour to your complexion or lip liner to add more definition to your pout, you’re free to wear whatever you want in terms of makeup.

Think carefully

There’s always going to be a temptation to show some personality on your passport photo. After all, the image will stay with you for years and can be used on other forms of identification. However, it’s probably best that you avoid anything that’s too modern or that’s a fleeting trend in case you live to regret the decision later down the line.

Can you wear glasses on your passport photo? Everything to know

The passport application process can be a tricky one if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. As well as having to fill out forms and find a countersignature, you also have to supply two images that accurately show your likeness. This can sometimes lead to confusion – especially for those who wear glasses. After all, people wear spectacles for years and would consider a picture with them to be a true reflection of their appearance. However, there are specific guidelines in place for people who wear glasses. Here’s what you need to know.

Can you wear glasses?

It all really depends on the type of glasses. In terms of reading glasses, you’re perfectly fine wearing them on your passport photo.

Should you take precautions?

The only real thing that you need to do is make sure that the glass in the lenses doesn’t show a reflection or cause a glare. If this were to happen, it could be cause for your application to be rejected until you provide a picture that more closely fits the guideline.

What about other glasses?

Under no circumstances should you wear sunglasses or tinted glasses. These would hide key features around your eyes, therefore causing your true likeness to be obscured on the picture.

Are the rules changing?

The USA most recently brought in stricter new guidelines warning people against wearing glasses in their passport photo. This is because they deemed that the eyewear could cause issues with the biometric systems now used at airports. In fact, last year the country revealed that the main reason they rejected submitted passport applications was because wannabe travelers wore glasses in their photos.

What’s the best plan for taking a picture?

Really, you just need to take extra care when taking a picture while wearing your reading glasses. It’s worth snapping another image if you think there might be the slightest hint of a glare. If your eyesight is extremely poor without your glasses, it would probably be wise to have a friend assist you with the picture.

Happy snapping!

The main thing to remember is that you should be extra careful when taking a passport picture while wearing glasses. For more information, be sure to familiarize yourself with the official government guidelines.

How to get a second UK passport

Have you ever thought that you might need a second passport for safety reasons or to save time? Well, it is indeed possible. Here is the information you need to know in order to obtain a second UK passport.

Who is eligible?

It’s unlikely that the passport office will grant you a passport simply because you’re clumsy and are always losing things. You need to prove that you really need one. For example, you travel frequently for business and you’re in the process of getting a visa which involves an embassy holding onto your current passport.

Is it a copy of my existing passport?

The answer is no. Your second passport will be brand new and will contain a different passport number, expiry date and passport photo. It will be valid for ten years from its issue.

How do I get a second passport?

It’s first important to note that you can apply for a second passport by post inside or outside of the UK. Or you can apply through one of the interview centres located in major cities across the UK. Make sure you apply for a 1st adult passport and make a specific request not to cancel the one you already have.

What do I need to submit?

Because it’s classed as a 1st passport application, you need to prove that you’re a UK citizen. You can do this by providing your birth certificate, current UK passport or certificate of naturalisation if this is how you became a UK citizen.

You will need to complete the application form, provide passport photos signed by somebody of good standing, and the fee. Additionally, you will need to provide proof of why you need a second passport which might include detailed travel plans for instance. A headed letter from your company explaining that you need a second passport and why is also required.

There you have it. Getting a second passport isn’t difficult if you organise all the required documentation and proof in good time. When it comes to getting quick passport photos, Paspic has got you covered.

Five reasons to keep your old passport

A new passport has the promise of future travel and exciting journeys, while your old one holds the memories of past adventures. When you receive your passport you will also have your old one returned, although the top corner will be cut and it will no longer be valid for travel, but that is no reason to throw it away. Read on for the five top reasons for holding on to your old passport.

1. Memories

Even if you’re the type who holds onto little and throws everything away, if you’re going to keep something it should be your old passport. Passports are often filled with old visa or permits to travel and many people like to hang on to them to show their children or grandchildren in later years, retelling stories of their past travels. In fact passports can prove helpful for future generations looking into their genealogy.

2. ID

An old passport, despite no longer being valid for travel, can still be used as identification for many purposes. Some merchants will accept an old passport as ID for buying certain items, unless your photo has changed dramatically. It can also be used for proving citizenship in some instances.

3. Current visas

It’s sometimes essential to keep an old passport if it has current visas or travel permits within it. You may need to travel with both your new and your old passport if this is the case.

4. Replacing a lost passport

Travelling with your old passport (keep it in a separate place to your new one) can prove invaluable should you lose your current passport when abroad. Simply take your old one into the UK Embassy and you will find getting a new replacement is a faster and easier process.

5. Applying for residency

Should you find yourself applying for residency in another country such as Australia, the authorities may ask which countries you have visited over the past 10 years. Using your old as well as your current passport can help fill out your application.

As you can see, holding on to your old passport can offer a range of benefits. Be sure to keep your old passport somewhere safe, preferably in a locked drawer to prevent identity theft.

Hair and passport photos: What’s the best plan of action?

You can only have one passport photo – therefore you should want to make it perfect. After all, the picture will stick with you for years to come and be seen in countries all over the world. It’s quite common for people to put a little too much pressure on themselves when it comes to snapping a photo that is both suitable and flattering. This is especially true when it comes to choosing what hairstyle to have on the day of the photo. If you’re in the process of filling in your passport application and are about to take a picture, here’s how you should go about choosing your hairstyle.

Read the guidelines

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that you’re familiar with the official passport guidelines. In particular, there are two rules concerning hair that you should pay special attention to. The first says that you should ‘not have hair in front of your eyes’ on the picture. This essentially rules out elaborate fringes.

The second rule states that you should ‘not have a head covering (unless it’s for religious or medical reasons)’. Therefore, don’t try to get out of styling your hair by wearing a hat, bandana or any other headgear, because this will cause your passport application to be rejected.

Avoid trendy styles

If you are over 16, you’ll be looking at keeping your passport for ten years. It’s worth considering that in a decade’s time you don’t want to look back at your photo and cringe. The best way to ensure that you don’t is by opting for a timeless style rather than one that is modern and trendy. Wearing your hair down but pushed away from your face is generally the recommended option.

Make an effort

For some people, there’ll be a temptation to throw caution to the wind by disregarding their hair completely on the photo. Remember, though: it won’t just be border control officials who see the snap. Instead, the images can come in handy when used for other forms of ID and might be needed again in future. Therefore, it’s recommended you give your hair a good brush or use some frizz-taming products before you take your passport photo for a smooth, smart appearance. Some plain hair grips will also help secure fly-aways or lose sections of hair which might obscure your face.

Happy snapping!

Whenever you’re faced with getting a new passport photo, you should take some time to consider your appearance. The ideal picture will be one that isn’t just satisfactory to you, but also for those assessing your passport application. If you want to ensure your passport photo is within the guidelines to avoid delays, Paspic can help.

Photo: Hair brush 2 by sh0dan licensed under Creative commons 2