by Kai Hendry
When it comes to getting passport photos taken, most people are more concerned with how they’ll look in the photo than anything else. But there’s more to worry about than whether or not your passport photo looks like a mugshot. Submitting photos that don’t meet the government’s standards can lead to your passport application being delayed or rejected until you submit better pictures.
There are two sets of passport photo guidelines that you need to be concerned about: guidelines for you and guidelines for the photographer. First, let’s look at the guidelines you need to follow when you get your picture taken:
Only submit photos taken within the past 6 months. Remember, you are applying for a passport, not signing up for a dating site!
Don’t wear a uniform to get your picture taken, whether it’s a work uniform or a uniform for an organization like Scouts. The only exception is if you have a religious uniform that you wear everyday.
No hats or other headgear.
Ditch the shades: Sunglasses are only allowed in passport photos if you have a medical condition that requires you to wear them all the time, and then you must include a certificate from your doctor with your passport application.
Embrace your inner nerd: if you normally wear glasses, you need to be wearing them in your passport photo. The same goes for wigs, hearing aids and similar items.
Face forward-this is not a magazine shoot, and the Department of State couldn’t care less what your “best angle” is.
No funny faces: Natural, closed-mouth smiles that don’t distort the face are permitted, however.
Here are the guidelines for photographers.
You can view visual examples here. Ideally, your photographer will know what he or she is doing, but you should read these just in case and reject any pictures that don’t seem to meet the requirements:
Photos must be in focus, not blurry.
Passport photos should not be overexposed (too light) or too dark.
No shadows on the face.
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.
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