Do I need to remove my facial piercings for my passport photo?

In the UK, roughly 10% of people have at least one body piercing in a place other than their earlobes. This poses a dilemma for people when they come to take their passport photo. You’re right to wonder whether you should – or indeed, need to – remove any facial piercings before posing for the picture. Let’s look at what you need to know to ensure that you can successfully complete your passport application.

Are facial piercings allowed?

Generally, yes. The guidelines state that body piercings such as lip rings, eyebrow piercings, nose studs or small rings should not be the sole reason why a passport picture is rejected. You are, therefore, allowed to keep the piercings in as long as they don’t cause any other rules to be breached.

When aren’t piercings allowed?

You can expect your passport picture to be rejected if you leave in your piercings even though they are large and obstructive. In particular, it’s outlined that your piercings must not make it difficult for an official to be able to see the outline of your eyes, mouth, nose, chin or cheekbones.

Is there anything else?

The guidelines also state that in ‘extreme cases’ (essentially when a person has a large number of piercings), the photo should be rejected. This will be a judgement call made on a case by case basis, so there is no exact amount of piercings that will officially mean your passport photo will be rejected.

Is it worth taking the piercings out?

Ultimately, it’s your decision and whether you take them out will depend on how you feel without them and whether it’s convenient to do so. If you do decide to leave your piercings in then you should make sure that they don’t reflect any light when you take the photo because this will also invalidate your passport picture.

Don’t forget Paspic!

There are so many rules to remember ahead of taking your passport photo that it’s always safer to send the image through to the team at Paspic. We’ll give you the assurance that the photo meets the guidelines before you submit your application, as well as post you two hard copies for those who aren’t submitting a digital passport photo.

Photo: by rafael-castillo licensed under Creative commons 4

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