Can you smile in a passport photo?

We are taught from a young age to smile when in front of the camera. Unfortunately, this can lead to some confusion when it comes to taking a passport picture. If you’re ready to pose for the all-important image and want to ensure that you get it right the first time, here’s what you need to know about smiling in your passport photo.

Can you smile?

Sadly, no. The official government guidelines are rather clear on this point, advising people that they must ‘maintain a plain expression’ with ‘your mouth closed’ when posing for your passport picture. This doesn’t just rule out flashing your pearly whites but also excludes you from flashing even the smallest hint of a smile.

When was the rule made?

The rule officially came into force in the UK in 2005. At the time the public were told that passports which were submitted where people were smiling would not be authorised and the photograph would have to be taken again. Other countries have since enforced the same rule, including France.

Why can’t you smile?

Contrary to popular belief, the reason you can’t smile isn’t because of some killjoy in the government. Instead, it’s all down to the biometric information contained in your passport. When you use an e-gate at an airport it measures key details of your face, such as the space between your mouth and eyes. Unfortunately, when you smile this information becomes distorted.

So what can you do?

You should find it beneficial to practise posing with a neutral expression on your face before having your actual passport photo taken. For some people this won’t come naturally, so trying it out beforehand should ensure that you’re able to submit a passport photo that you’re both happy with and meets the guidelines.

Our service can help

You’ll have no problem taking a successful passport photo if you do it through Paspic. Not only will you be able to take a picture from the comfort of your own home, but we’ll look over it beforehand to ensure that it meets the official guidelines and will be accepted by the passport office.

Can you wear makeup in a passport photo?

Everyone knows that sometimes getting passport photos taken can be tricky – it seems like there is an endless list of requirements to ensure that your picture gets approved. This can prove frustrating and end up wasting a lot of time when after waiting for weeks your passport picture is simply rejected. In some instances, this can be a serious issue, when quick passport photos are required in order to get a passport sent quickly prior to going abroad.

One query a lot of women have is whether or not it’s OK to wear makeup when getting a passport photo taken. The rules set by Her Majesty’s Passport Office are quite strict, but the good news is that there is an allowance for makeup in a passport picture. This is of course only so long as the makeup is subtle and does not drastically change an individual’s appearance.

If you normally wear makeup, make sure that you put on the same amount you would usually so that you are easily recognisable when going through security checks. For example, if you are not someone who would usually wear a bright lipstick colour, or add false eyelashes, don’t then change your look when you are getting your photograph taken. Passport photo requirements also state that your picture should represent your ‘normal skin tone’, so best not to go too heavy with foundation or any wild costume makeup! Other than this, there should not be any issues for anyone who has chosen to wear makeup in their passport photo.

To speed up the application process, many people now need to ensure that they get online passport photos rather than a hard copy like you might collect from a photo booth. This is in line with the fact that, increasingly, many countries require passport photos online as part of a digital application form. In the UK currently this is still just a trial, but it may soon be the case that it’s an easier, quicker process to renew your passport with an online application form, rather than sending off a hard copy application via post.

Here at Paspic, we’ll send you both a hard copy of your photo and provide a link to the digital version. We’ve found that 99.5% of our photos are approved first time – and we’re so confident that if your photos get rejected, we’ll give you your money back! For quick, easy passport photos, order with Paspic today!

Do you need to keep old passports?

So your passport is about to expire. You send off the application for the new one – but what should you do with your old passport?

When you apply for a new passport, you’ll have to send several documents to the passport office. As well as your new passport photo, your old passpòrt will need to be sent. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll kiss it goodbye. When your brand new passport arrives, the old one will be enclosed, too.

Your old passport will be clearly marked as invalid. Usually, this means that a hefty piece of the corner is cut off, making it immediately obvious that it’s no longer useful for travelling. Given its invalid status, you might be tempted to throw the old passport out. However, this is generally not recommended. Your old passport may not be valid anymore, but it could still make you the target for identity theft. Strictly speaking, you don’t NEED to keep it – but for your own peace of mind, you’re probably better off tucking it away in a safe spot like a desk drawer.

Many people like to keep their old passports for sentimental value. After all, your old passport photo can bring back memories, along with the stamps or visas from countries that you’ve visited. But there are practical reasons for keeping it, too. Your old passport contains information such as entry and exit dates for the countries that you travelled to. These can be vital if you’re going back in the future, as you’ll need this information for visas.

Sometimes, your passport might expire before a visa does. In this case, it’s important to inform the passport office when you send off your application for renewal. Even if you have no plans to visit that particular country again, you shouldn’t skip this step. When it comes to passports, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and you never know when your circumstances might change.

All in all, you may find that you never use your old passport again – but it’s still worth keeping, just in case. Given that it hardly takes up any space, you might as well tuck it into a drawer and hold onto it.

How to take a passport size photo at home

The time has come for you to sort out your passport for your forthcoming holiday. You have gathered all the relevant paperwork and all that is left is to take a passport picture. This can be done by a professional photographer, but this can often be costly and an inconvenience, especially if you have a baby or young children. A better option is to take the photo at home and to then use an online service to produce the passport size that is required. Below we show you how to take a passport size photo at home.

The right background and lighting

The first thing to consider is the background. This needs to be a neutral grey, cream or white. So, at home you could stand in front of a wall or place a sheet behind where you wish to stand. The space needs to be well lit, but should not cast any shadows. The image should be clear and in focus.

Head and shoulders

It is important that the photo is taken at the correct distance, but you shouldn’t be too worried about this when using our online passport photo service. Just be sure that your head and shoulders are in the shot, and that you are looking directly at the camera. You should not smile but have a neutral expression, and have your eyes open.

Babies and children

Rules are slightly relaxed when taking a passport photo of a baby or small child. A baby can lie on a cream or white blanket and does not need to have their eyes open. They do need to be in focus, should not be using a dummy or have any toys in the frame. Older children do need to have their eyes open but do not need to look at the camera.

We do the hard work for you

When you have taken your desired passport photo at home, all you need to do is to download the photo onto our website. We will then crop the image and make it passport sized.

To learn more about passport photos and how to upload them onto our site, then please do browse our website today and follow the step by step guide.

Who Can Sign A Passport Photo For A Child?

Applying for a child’s first passport can be a particularly arduous process, no more so than ensuring they have an appropriate passport photo. But who can sign for a child’s passport photo? If the child is under sixteen then they qualify for a child’s passport and is valid for five years.

Because a child is not a legal adult and are the responsibility of a parent or guardian, a passport requires a countersignatory to sign the forms and the back of the photograph. This person signs the form to confirm that they know who you are and that the information you’ve provided is true. There are several people who can sign the back of the photograph, dependent on the situation that your child is in, though this is separated into two steps.

Firstly, someone with parental responsibility over the child will make the application for the passport on behalf of the child. Generally, they may have to co-sign the back of the photograph. Depending on the situation, this can be a parent or a guardian who cares for the child on a day to day basis.

Secondly, the identity must be verified by another person who knows the child and can confirm the identity of the child. There are some requirements of the individual you choose to co-sign:

– They must have known you and/or the child for two years at least when the application is made.
– Be able to identify you as a friend, colleague or neighbour
– Be an upstanding member of the community or work in a recognised profession. This can include accountants, barristers and solicitors, teachers and lecturers, Members of Parliament or those who work in the emergency services. You should consult the website of the UK Passport for a full list of recognised professions.

The only exceptions to this list of countersignatories are employees who work for HM Passport Office and doctors and general practitioners, unless they know a person particularly well.

A countersignatory must also live in the United Kingdom and hold a valid British or Irish passport.

Photo: Child by be creator licensed under Creative commons 4

How long does a baby passport last?

There is so much planning and preparation that is needed when travelling to another country with a baby. You need to ensure that you have enough nappies, change of clothes and formula, if they’re bottle fed. However, the most important thing that is needed is that of a valid passport, and this can be rather confusing for first-time parents. Below we offer some help and advice about baby passports, including how long they last.

A baby passport

Your baby will need their very own baby passport. In the past, a baby could travel on their mother’s passport, but this is no longer the case. Your baby will need their own passport, and to gain this you will need to submit two identical baby passport photos with your passport application.

How long will it last?

Babies grow so quickly and their appearance changes on a weekly basis. A newborn baby looks completely different at four weeks old, and this is why many parents assume that they need an up to date photo of their baby when they travel, but this is not the case. No matter what the age of your baby, their passport will be valid for five years from the date issued. All passports that are issued to a child 15 and under are valid for 5 years. After this time you will need to renew the passport and an up to date photo will be required.

What is required in the baby photo?

It is fairly easy to take a passport photo of your baby. Children under the age of one do not need to be looking directly at the camera, nor do they need to have their eyes open. You do need to ensure that you have their head and shoulders in the shot, that the image is clear and that there are no toys in the photo. The background also needs to be a neutral white, cream or pale grey.

To learn more about how we can help you to achieve the perfect baby passport photos and to upload your own image, then please do visit our website today.