Can I print my own passport photo?

Is it time to renew your passport? If so you’ll already be thinking about getting some decent passport photos done. Photo booths pictures can be grim affairs so taking photos in a more relaxed atmosphere like your own home makes sense. But what rules are there about passport photo sizes? And is it possible to print them out at home?

What passport photos do I need?

You’ll need two identical passport photos for your application. Follow the rules for taking a good passport photo and you’re halfway there. Now you need to print them out at 45mm high x 35mm wide size – you can’t print a bigger picture and cut it down!

Shoot and edit your passport pictures

First, make sure you’re well lit – natural daylight is best – and standing in front of a plain cream or light grey background. Don’t use a flash so you avoid the dreaded red-eye and keep a tight focus on your head and shoulders. Once you’re satisfied with your photo then you can move onto the next step.

If you feel the need to edit your photo, think again. Gov.UK rules state quite clearly that photos should be ‘unaltered by computer software’ so you may run into problems if you give yourself a virtual facelift!

Finally, you need to accurately size your photo so that the distance between your chin and the crown of your head is no less than 29mm and no more than 34mm, and set the photo size to the standard 45mm x 35mm.

Press print

Finally, you need to set your home printer to print your passport pics. Bear in mind that they must be printed to a professional standard on white photo paper – and check that your printer can handle borderless printing as your passport photos must be printed without a border.

‘Professional standard’ can be subjective but obviously, you’ll need to invest in some decent photographic paper rather than plain old copy paper!

Now you’ll need to set the printer to print at 100% of screen size and select the highest possible resolution before pressing print.

Picture perfect

If all that sounds like a hassle, it is. Especially when you can simply upload your passport pictures to Paspic where 99.5% of passport pics are approved the first time!

So why not let us take the fuss out of passport photo printing and get approved first time or your money back?

How to cut passport photos

There’s no doubt that one of the trickiest parts of the passport application process is actually getting a passport photo. Whether you use the dreaded photo booth or visit a local high street photographer, the whole business can send your stress levels off the charts.

There is a better way. If you follow a checklist for taking passport photographs then you can take a much more relaxed passport photo at home.

Why size matters

One of the main reasons passport applications are denied is that the passport picture doesn’t conform to the guidelines. We all know that it can be a nightmare to produce a neutral expression or keep the hair off your face, but if you’re taking your photos at home then you’ll have endless chances to get that right.

But when it comes to printing out and cutting passport photos for your application, size definitely matters. The rules are clear – your passport photo itself must measure 45mm x 35mm. You can also add a 5mm border around the image, so if you’re printing at home you can also specify an image size of 55mm x 45mm if you’re printing a border.

So far so good. But then you also need to make sure that the distance between your chin and the top of your head in the image is between 29mm – 34mm so your face is centrally positioned in the picture. And you can’t manipulate the image in any way or submit a cropped or cut down version of a bigger photo because that’s an instant fail.

Cut to size

Once you’ve selected a photo that looks like you and meets the guidelines, you’re going to need to print and cut out your passport photos. You must use glossy white photo paper and your printer’s highest resolution. Choose 4cm x 6cm paper and then manually cut out your pictures.

If you have a sharp craft knife and a cutting mat then you’ll get the best results. Otherwise, scissors and a steady hand should do the job. Just remember your photo needs to measure 45mm x 35mm and that you’re allowed a 5mm border all around and you’ll be good to go.

Trust the professionals

If that all sounds like too much hassle, why not let Paspic take care of your photos for you? We can ship to anywhere in the world and we have a 99.5% approval rate. Upload today and make your passport photos truly fuss-free!

Photo: scissors by ibotamino licensed under Creative commons 2

Who can countersign a British passport application?

Getting someone to countersign a passport photo is an easy process. Someone simply signs their name on the back of your passport photograph to confirm that it is indeed an accurate likeness of you. Not just anyone can sign a passport photo, however, and there are conditions the counter-signatory must meet.

Who can sign?

The first piece of criteria your counter-signatory must meet is that they have to have known you for a period of two years. However, they cannot be someone you’re in a relationship with or who lives in your household. Nor can they be someone you’re related to, either by marriage or by birth. Know Who can sign your passport forms and photos?

They must be able to identify you properly, and not be someone you just have a passing familiarity with. They must also be someone of good standing in the community. To qualify for that they must either be retired from or currently work in, one of several recognized professions. Read more about accepted professions here.

The counter-signatory must also be a UK resident and hold a current British passport.

What the counter-signatory must do

Once you have decided who you’d like to countersign your photo – and they have agreed, and they meet all of the relevant criteria to be an officially recognized counter-signatory – you must have them sign the back of your passport photograph.

To do that, they must write the following phrase on the back of the photo:

“I certify that this is a true likeness of (Title, Forename, Surname)”

They must then provide their signature underneath their declaration and provide the date they signed the photograph on, at which point you’re free to post off your application to the passport office.

It’s important to make sure you thoroughly understand the rules relating to who can and cannot countersign your passport photo. Failure to do so will mean your application will be sent back to you, which will only serve to delay the process.

Please make sure you inform the person counter-signing the photograph that the passport office may contact them to confirm their details and your identity.

Photo: Fountain pen by matsuyuki licensed under Creative commons 2

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.

Hair

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.

Clothes

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

Make-up tips for a stunning passport photo

Travel season is almost upon us again which means it’s nearly time to dig out that passport with the photo you’d probably rather not look at! It’s fairly common knowledge that people tend not to look their most attractive in their passport photos. When the time to renew your passport finally comes around, you can spend ages preening yourself to look your best, yet somehow still find the results are less than satisfactory. So why is it that we tend to look so different in the mirror than we do in the photo?

A very harsh flash

The main reason is that the standard ID photo booths tend to have a very harsh flash. It’s extremely bright and therefore highlights even the slightest shadows and imperfections and can almost make pale skin look green. For this reason, if you want a decent looking passport photo, make up is a good idea.

Try a corrective primer or foundation

Even if you don’t normally use it, try a corrective primer or foundation. You want to give yourself some colour. For paler skin an apricot tone under the eyes will counteract any purple discolouration. Add extra make up to those ‘bags’ or dark circles and you should achieve a healthier effect. You can use concealer on any spots or blemishes and it’s a good idea to put powder on top of the foundation. Ideally, you want a matt finish as the harsh flash picks up on the slightest bit of shine and amplifies it.

Define your lips

Use a liner on the lips to define them. You can add deep colour to lips if you wish or keep them more natural looking, but as long as they look healthy and not dry or cracked you should be ok. Don’t use lip gloss and again aim for a matt finish.

Another area to focus on is the laughter lines around your nose. They tend to protrude and stand out even more in the harsh light, so use some make-up to soften this area. You may find you look fairly different in the mirror, but hopefully you’ll find this works wonders for the photo. Good Luck!