Shadows on passport photos – what exactly are the rules?

You’ll come across a point on shadows when reading up on the rules surrounding passport photos. This might have you questioning whether your picture meets all the criteria – and as a result, you might be worried about whether your photo will cause your passport application to be rejected. There are, however, more to the rules than explained on the official government website. With this in mind, here’s what you need to know about shadows on your passport photo.

What is the rule?

The passport guidelines state that you must ‘not have any shadows on your face or behind you’ on your passport photo. This rule is in place to ensure that you do not accidentally obscure any of your facial features. After all, if this happened the biometric software used at airports might not be able to get a decent reading of your face. This could cause delays when you’re entering different countries.

So shadows are a no go?

There is actually one exception when it comes to shadows on your passport photos. This is that your ears are allowed to cause small shadows, though – more often than not – these won’t be cast on your face. Passport officials are allowed to accept pictures when there are shadows caused by the ears ‘as long as there is a clear definition between the face and the background’.

What can you do?

You’ll really need to focus on the lighting around you when posing for your passport photo. This can take a certain level of precision because you will need to find a balance between standing in a well-lit area and not allowing the lights to create any shadows other than the ones cast by your ears.

Are you still unsure?

Admittedly, the passport photo guidelines can cause a degree of confusion. You don’t, however, need to suffer alone. Instead, you can enlist the services of Paspic. Just send us your photo once you’ve taken it and we’ll give you the thumbs up that it meets all the criteria and will be accepted. In addition, we’ll also send you the hard copies in the post in case you’re submitting a paper application and won’t be using digital passport photos.

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