A step-by-step guide to sorting out your baby’s passport

When you have a baby, there are innumerable things to sort out. Your days will blend into one another, and you’ll end up purchasing bits and pieces that, up until a few months ago, you didn’t even know existed.

Day-to-day life can become incredibly tiring, and many young parents decide that a well-earned holiday will give them something to look forward to. However, with so many things to consider, and given that the daily routine never ends, it can be easy to forget that your young child will need a passport to be able to travel.

However, the process isn’t complicated, nor should it be daunting. With our simple guide, you can ensure that you and your child can jet off and enjoy the sunshine without any worries.

1. The application

Quite simply, if you have parental responsibility for the child, you can apply for a passport on their behalf. If you are a British citizen it is unlikely that there will be any difficulties, but if you do anticipate that something could go wrong, the government’s dedicated website should be able to help [https://www.gov.uk/get-a-child-passport]. You can also apply online via the same page.

2. The cost

The process of applying for a passport doesn’t tend to cost a lot of money. At the time of writing, it costs £46 if you want to apply for a passport either online or via post. This passport will then be valid for five years (unlike the 10 years for adults).

3. The paperwork

To prove the identity of the child you will need to provide a legitimate birth certificate. This is simply to confirm that the child is able to be granted the passport you are applying for.

4. The photo

Getting the right photo is key for any passport application, and that is no different when it comes to sorting out one for your child. You will need to supply two identical photos, and they must be up-close pictures of your baby’s head and upper shoulders. No other items – rattles, bottles or dummies – should be included. For children under the age of one, it doesn’t matter whether their eyes are open or not.

Getting the correct baby passport pics is essential, and Paspic can help! As long as you stick by these simple rules, you should be able to get it sorted in no time.

Will Brexit affect the current passport photo guidelines?

No matter what part of the country you’re in, or whether you voted to leave or remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, it’s inarguably been a confusing time since then. One of the biggest debates surrounding Brexit has been whether leaving the EU will mean a change in the guidelines for the passport photos you have to submit.

So, will UK passport picture guidelines change after Brexit?

As far as we know, no! The regulations on what makes an acceptable passport photo, whether it be for adults, children or babies, will stay the same. In a nutshell, here’s a quick recap:

– Your photo background must be plain and free of objects, shadows and other people.
– The photo must have been taken in the last month.
– You must be facing straight at the camera with your mouth closed, eyes wide open, have no hair covering your face, and be free of head accessories (with the exception of headwear on religious or medical grounds).
– You may wear glasses, but they may not be sunglasses or tinted glasses. The lenses also need to be free of glare or any reflections.

Now that we’ve confirmed that the UK regulations for passport photos will stay the same, the same can’t be said for passport regulations in general. Although the finer details have not yet been finalised, here’s what we can tell you about the new rules:

– If your passport was issued before we leave the EU, then it will retain the current burgundy design.
– Any passports issued after the 31st October 2019 will retain the same design, but remove references to the EU.
– Following this date, passports will have a completely new design.
– This will include a stronger polycarbonate photo page to prevent tampering; so it’s essential that you get your photo right and follow all guidelines.

Of course, there are more rules being finalised all the time, so to be sure that you’re complying with all regulations, check out the Government’s website for full details.

Are you getting a new passport and need your photos printing? Upload your photos to Paspic today and we’ll validate them, print them and send them to you! Try out our new BETA digital passport photo service too.

Photo: UK passport by nathan17 licensed under Creative commons 4

5 things that could get your passport photo rejected

Passport applications are stressful. There are so many forms to fill out perfectly and there are strict specifications you have to adhere to if you want your passport to be approved. However, the biggest cause of passport rejections isn’t improper countersignatures or misspelt names, it’s actually the passport photo. There are a lot of rules surrounding passport photos and one small mistake could delay the processing of your passport; here are five picture errors that could get your passport application rejected:

1. Your face displays too much emotion

We’ve been told all of our lives to smile big for the camera but this is something you need to forget about for your passport photo. Your expression needs to be completely neutral with eyes facing forward and lips pressed together; if you try and pose like a model, your photo will likely be rejected.

2. The background isn’t neutral

Passport photo booths aren’t the only way to take a photo; you can take one for yourself. However, the same rules apply to your photo and you have to make sure the background is neutral and a pale colour. Any wallpaper embellishments or shadows behind you will nullify your photo.

3. You chose to accessorise

A hat or extravagant hair clip might pull your outfit together but you shouldn’t wear them if you want a successful passport photo; you can’t wear anything that can disguise your features or hair. Even reading glasses should be avoided as these can cause camera flashback and cover up your eyes.

4. You’re holding your child

Getting the perfect passport picture for infants isn’t an easy task. They might not sit still for the picture and getting them to pose with a neutral expression can be extremely difficult. It might be tempting to sit your child on your lap for the photo, but if any of your body is in the shot, the photo won’t meet the specifications

5. The passport photo has touch-ups

There’s no doubt that Photoshop has revolutionised our Instagram feed and a quick filter can instantly improve the appearance of any photo. However, passport photos should not be touched up or augmented in any way.

Photo: Passport by seantoyer licensed under Creative commons 4

Tips for getting a good baby passport photo

We all know that passport photos have to be at a certain standard. You have to be looking straight at the camera, no cheesy grins, and no silly faces. Try telling that to a six month old who just wants to play! Here are some hints and tips on how to get the best baby passport photo, and avoid it being a stressful experience.

Not too excited, not too tired

A tired baby may be too fretful to take a good photo of. If they are in need of a nap and are going to start crying or becoming stressed, put your photo off until another time. Likewise, just after nap time might not be the best time either. When your baby is super lively, they are not going to want to sit still for you while you take your best shot. You know your baby best. Find the time when they are most chilled, as you will be able to get them into the best position more easily. And be prepared to take a few shots!

Use a favourite toy, sound, or TV show

What makes your baby stop everything and just stare? Use it. Whether that’s your partner or a sibling waving a favourite toy over your shoulder, or a favourite cartoon projected on the ceiling, anything that keeps their attention for a few seconds while you take your shot is ideal. Baby sensory videos available for free online can be really useful for this.

Avoid a busy photo shop

Taking a baby to a busy shop where they’re expected to sit in a white room or against a white background and stay still is expecting too much. Babies can become easily overwhelmed by crowds in shops, or alternatively, they might just want to be super social and giggle at everything around them. Taking passport photos for babies at home is quicker, easier on baby and parent, and in most cases, much more cost effective.

Speak to us here at Paspic today to find out how we can help you take baby passport photos at home.

Photo: Baby by smbuckley23 licensed under Creative commons 4

How can I apply for my passport online?

The prospect of completing a passport application is often a daunting one. You may be reluctant to apply due to preconceptions of needing to complete an excessive amount of forms.

Introducing digital applications

The rise of the digital era has thankfully eased the burden on passport applications. You can now apply for your passport online via the government website, as well as being able to update, renew and replace your passport. Online passport application also enables you to easily track the status of your application.

Benefits of online applications

The main benefit of an online application is the elimination of inky mistakes. If you make an error, you can simply press delete and re-complete that section of the form without having to source a whole new document.

You also save money by applying online rather than by post. That £9.50 saving in your pocket can help contribute to your holiday fund!

Things you should know

You need a debit or credit card to pay for your passport online, so make sure this is something you have prior to starting an application, or else you will not be able to process it.

It will take approximately six weeks to receive your UK adult passport, but this process may take longer during busy periods like summer. All other types of application take around 3 weeks, but this duration may also be extended depending on demand and incorrect details in your application.

Online passport photos

Digital passport applications also enable you to upload a digital photo. However, please bear in mind that your digital passport photo must still meet the requirements that are set by Her Majesty’s Passport Office. Our passport photo service is the perfect way to help meet these strict requirements, as 95.5% of our passport photos are approved on first submission.

If you upload your photos with us, you will benefit from our BETA passport photo service that provides both physical and digital copies of your passport photo. Your digital photo can be seamlessly uploaded to your online passport application, making the process even easier.

Can I wear a hat or head covering in my passport photo?

Summer is just around the corner and you might be looking forward to your holiday abroad in the sunshine. In the rush to organise your flights, hotel, and swimsuit collection, however, you might find yourself suddenly realising that you – or a member of your family – need a sudden passport renewal. During this busy period for the Passport Office, it’s particularly important to meet all the photo requirements first time in order to ensure that your application is processed quickly and smoothly. One of the questions that many travellers have each year is: can I wear a hat or head covering in my passport photo? Follow our tips and explanations below to make sure you’re on the right track:

1. Skip the hats

It might be tempting to think about reusing a photo that you love in which you’re wearing a baseball cap or a winter hat. Even if the photo meets all of the other requirements, however, this will not be accepted by the Passport Office. Instead, if you are in need of a quick new photo, opt for our new BETA Digital Passport Service. In addition to a hard copy, you’ll receive a digital passport photo that you can use to complete your application online. You’ll be away on your holidays before you know it.

2. There’s no problem with medical headgear

It’s important to remember that you are perfectly entitled to wear items on your head if it is required for medical purposes. There’s no need to panic about not getting to your dream holiday abroad because of medical equipment showing in your official passport photograph. If you have any concerns, you can always contact the Passport Office or your doctor for answers to any specific questions.

3. Religious head coverings are acceptable

Another exception to this general passport rule is religious attire that covers the head. If you are uncomfortable removing a head covering for a passport photo, there’s no reason to let this stop you travelling the world and enjoying a relaxing trip this summer. As long as other requirements about clarity and angles are all met, you can provide a passport photo that includes your religious garments.

For high-quality passport photos for the whole family, Paspic offers an efficient and reliable service with a revolutionary new digital option. Contact us today for more information or to take advantage of our 99.5% photo approval rate.

Photo: Picnic Hat by basykes licensed under Creative commons 4

How recent does your passport photo have to be?

Your passport application can’t be approved without first submitting a picture. This image will potentially stay with you for up to 10 years – so it’s understandable that you’ll want to look your best on it and be proud to flash it at the border. You might, of course, already have a few cherished pictures that you know would fit this bill and want to use one of these instead. The question is: how recent does your passport photo have to be? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Can you use an old photo?

No. This might not be the news that you want to hear, but the guidelines are clear that the image ‘must be taken in the last month’. You’ll be breaking the rules if your image hasn’t been taken within this timeframe and this could cause delays for your passport application – which could be extremely detrimental if you’ve got a trip planned.

Could you try anyway?

It’s not recommended that you breach any of the rules. Aside from the fact that it could delay your application, you’ll also be putting your countersignature in an awkward position. This individual – who must have ‘good standing in the community’ – must vouch that the photo you submit is a true likeness of you. This is unlikely to be the case if the picture is old.

What’s the reason for it?

The point of your passport photo is that it must be a clear representation of your appearance for when you leave and enter different countries. You risk causing delays or arousing suspicion if your passport photo isn’t accurate. Don’t forget that adult passport photos can last for a decade, which is a rather generous timeframe. This means that an older picture will just further compromise how recognisable you’ll be from your passport photo in 10 years time.

It’s time to start fresh!

It’s more than possible to take a new passport picture that you just love – especially since you can now do so from your own home. You can now take your time to take a photo that you’re happy with before having it looked over by Paspic. This way you’ll know it meets all the guidelines before you submit it alongside your passport application.

Could smiling one day be allowed on passport photos?

Your go-to facial expression might be to flash a huge smile when someone whips out a camera. This is fine in your day to day life. You can’t, however, currently do this on your passport photo. This can be a real annoyance for some people, especially those who rarely pose for a picture without showing off their happiest face. The question is: could smiling soon be allowed on passport photos? Let’s look at what you need to know about the future of smiling on passport pictures.

What’s the current rule?

The guidelines state that you must have a ‘plain expression’ with ‘your mouth closed’ on your passport photo. This guideline first came into effect in 2005 in the UK and is arguably one of the most unpopular rules that people have to abide by when submitting their passport application.

Could it change?

It seems that an argument is being built to remove the rule. According to a new study conducted by the University of York in 2018, it would actually be easier for border officials to spot fraud and forgery if people were allowed to smile on their passport photo. Research leader Dr. Mileva explained: “Our research suggests that replacing the neutral expression we usually use when taking identification photographs with an open mouth smile can make face matching an easier decision.”

Have officials commented?

The Home Office have previously stood their ground against questions regarding the function of the ‘no smiling’ rule. In 2017, a spokesperson re-iterated that the guideline had been put into place as a result of the software now being used by e-gates at airports. The explanation read: “When the mouth is open it can make it difficult for facial recognition technology to work effectively.”

It’s picture time!

While you still can’t smile on your passport photo, it’s more than possible to take an image that you’re happy with – especially if you do so from the comfort of your own home. You can then send the image to the team at Paspic, who’ll confirm that the photo meets the guidelines before sending the hard copies back to you.

Photo: smile 🙂 by gudka licensed under Creative commons 4