Hand with tweezers holding id photo over passport as if forging the travel documents

Did you pull out your passport and realize you look nothing like your passport photo anymore? You may be thinking it’s time to get a new picture. However, the U.S. Department of State only requires you to get a new passport photo if you have undergone “significant change.” But what counts as a significant change?

The bottom line, you’ll want to look like your passport photo because it is your primary form of travel identification. You can be denied entry through TSA if you do not look like your passport photo. If you no longer look like the photo in your passport, you’ll need to apply for a new passport. Read on to avoid applying for a new passport when you might not need to. 

You Have Made a Gender Transition

The U.S. Department of State recommends you swap out your passport photo if you have undergone a gender transition that has significantly changed your appearance. If you no longer resemble your current passport photo, applying for a new passport is the only way to get a new one. 

Applying for a new passport also allows you to change the gender marker on your passport. If you’re worried about medical documentation, or other excessive materials that used to be needed to confirm a gender transition, you won’t need any.

You do not have to show medical documentation, even if your previous identification does not reflect your new gender. This new process can be highly relieving for those avoiding going under specific medical or psychological procedures to be able to have their gender on their documents affirm the gender that they identify with.

For more information and tips regarding traveling as an LGBTQIQ+ member, the U.S. Department of State provides a page with most, if not everything, you need to know before and while traveling. Check out the blog, Changing Your Genger on Your Passport for a step-by-step guide on changing your gender on your passport. 

You Have Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma

More people may need a new passport photo, with the rise in plastic surgery trends by over 55% since 2021. However, this only applies to you if you have undergone a significant change. A few lip injections and Botox here and there only require a new photo if it is in excess. Whether or not you underwent significant facial reconstruction for aesthetic or medical reasons, you will still need to apply for a new passport to update your photo.

Additionally, If you have experienced any facial trauma that may have altered the face’s shape or marked the skin, you may need to apply for a new passport to get your new photo.

You Have Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos

If you’ve got a cool new face tattoo or added large jewelry that alters or stretches the appearance of your face, you need a new passport photo. You don’t need a new passport photo if you’ve got one or two small studs or pierced your ears a few times. 

You Have Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain

This one can be tricky. Mainly because there isn’t a set amount of weight you need to lose or gain that count as significant. Everyone’s body holds weight differently, and your weight might not affect your facial features. The general rule of thumb is to make sure your passport photo looks like YOU as you currently are.

What about children?

Children go through the most significant change, and they do so rapidly. It is no surprise that the passport picture you took of your newborn doesn’t look like the toddler they grew up to be. So, does your child need a new passport? No matter how different they look, your child only needs a new passport if it is close to expiring. A child’s passport is given to someone under sixteen and expires in five years. 

What does not count as a Significant Change?

Few things count as significant change, so there’s no need to sweat the small stuff. But, in case you were curious, here are a few things that do not require you to get a new passport.

  • Changing your hair color
  • Cutting your hair short or adding length
  • Ear piercings
  • Small facial piercings such as a nose ring
  • Growing or shaving a beard/mustache
  • Minor, aesthetic procedures such as filler and botox
  • The normal aging process 

How to Get a New Passport Photo

It is important to find a trustworthy vendor who understands how serious it is to meet all the requirements to take your photo.

Vendors like Walgreens, CVS, FedEx, and Walmart can assist in taking your passport photo. Although these can be great options, consider getting your passport photo taken with a more experienced vendor.

The Passport Office specializes in passports, including same-day passport photos, new passports, passport renewals, child passports, and more! We have been helping the traveling public receive their expedited passports quickly and stress-free for decades.

Are you in a hurry to get your new passport? Get your passport photo taken in Orlando today! We accept walk-ins as well.

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