You and your family are going on a cruise soon. You submit your passport photos for review only to have them rejected. What did you do wrong?
The answer to this is many things. Taking a picture for your passport isn’t the same as taking a selfie with your iPhone. There are certain rules and regulations that you have to adhere to or it will get rejected.
For example, you have to be clearly seen in your photo, so you can’t wear glasses or hats. To help you take the perfect picture next time, here are a few things that will get your passport photo rejected.
People have busy lives and you’re no exception. It can be tempting for you to submit a picture that you took years ago. How can they tell the difference after all?
They will check and make sure that the photo you turned in looks like you so, submitting an old one can and will end in rejection. Your picture can’t be more than 6 months old.
The photo filters that you use for Snapchat look great there but they won’t work for your passport. They have to be able to see that it’s you in the picture. Pictures that are overexposed or underexposed will be turned away.
Filters aren’t the only thing that will obstruct your face. Bad lighting and shadows can creep into your photo.
If you turn in the picture despite there being a small shadow on your face then it will get rejected. You’ll also get it returned to you for alterations if the lighting in the room has caused the color of your skin to be off a bit.
Speaking of obstructions, you can’t wear glasses in your photo. Your eye color and shape need to be seen. This isn’t possible if you’re wearing glasses due to the glare.
All it takes is removing your spectacles for a few moments. Long enough to take a picture. If you don’t your passport will be delayed.
The exception to this will be if you submit a letter from your doctor with your photo that declares you can’t take them off due to medical reasons.
First of all, you need to be front-facing when you take the photo. You can’t have your head tilted or leaning back at all. Your lips should be gently together. Look straight ahead into the camera with your eyes open and neutral.
Secondly, the photo needs to have you in the middle. If you’re not centered and are sticking off to the side, the picture won’t be accepted.
Your whole head needs to be in the photo from the top to the bottom of your clavicle. Selfies are cute for social media but not so cute for your passport photo. When pictures are taken this close up it won’t fit everything that they need to see and it will probably be at least a little bit distorted.
If you take your photo from too far away then you’ll fit in everything that is required but it will be distorted. To give you an idea of the right size it’s going to be 2 inches by 2 inches. Your head length can’t be smaller than 1 inch or bigger than 1.5 inches.
You have to have a clean face without any makeup. You can’t wear anything that obstructs your face such as scarves. Hats tend to cast a shadow so they can’t be worn.
If your baby is taking a picture they can’t have a pacifier in their mouth because it obstructs their face and casts shadows. There are even regulations about how you can wear your hair and again, no glasses.
The only exception to any of these rules is religious head coverings. If your beliefs require you to wear one then you’ll be fine.
You can take your photo with a white or off white background that isn’t casting any strange shadows. You won’t be able to use any colored or patterned backgrounds. This means you can’t to take a picture in front of your brick house and turn it in.
There can be no other person or object in the picture with you. Meaning, if your baby needs to have their picture taken for their passport, you can’t be holding them. It makes life awkward but these are the rules.
You have to have a neutral expression on your face in the picture. If you look too expressive then it will be rejected. So take everything you know about taking a picture and throw it out the window.
You can’t smile, put your hand to your chin in a neat pose, or look excited at all. A flat, normal look is what will get your photo accepted. Again, you need to be forward-facing in the picture.
Was your passport photo rejected? Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. It only means that you’ll have to take another picture that adheres to the rules and regulations.
Keep these tips in mind when you get back behind the camera. Sit still, don’t say cheese, and enjoy your trip with your accepted passport.
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