Can you smile in a passport photo: a few nuances

By TravelWiseFeb 29, 2024 08:50 AMNews
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Can you smile in a passport photo?
Can you smile in a passport photo?. Source: Freepik

Often, we just instinctively smile when taking pictures. But when taking a passport photo, it's better to resist this urge. The travel document contains a set of guidelines for various aspects of the picture, from the background to the clothes and even the expression on the person's face.

If you don't follow them, it can delay your passport and cause problems with your travel plans. But that doesn't mean you have to settle for a picture with a frown on your face, Yahoo writes.

Can you smile in a passport photo: a few nuances
Can you smile in a passport photo: a few nuances. Source: Freepik

Can I smile in my passport photo?

Yes, but not necessarily the way you smile in other photos. Travelers need to close their mouths and make sure their eyes are open, according to the U.S. State Department website.

But your photo can be better even if your teeth are visible - to a certain extent.

If your smile is stretched and your eyes are squinting the way they might be after someone tells a "horrible joke," it's too much, according to David Alvadish, president and CEO of ItsEasy.com, a passport and visa concierge service.

A natural, relaxed smile will likely not be an obstacle.

Why can't I smile broadly in my passport photo?

The State Department calls for a more neutral look "because photographs with exaggerated facial expressions can make it difficult to identify the passport holder."

The International Civil Aviation Organization "sets global standards and recommended practices for travel documents," they added.

What should I do if my passport photo is rejected?

If an applicant's photo does not meet the criteria, "the passport agency will require a new photo that meets the stated requirements and their passport application will be delayed," the State Department spokesperson said.

As TravelWise wrote, before you embark on your next international trip, you need to make sure your document is still valid. To do this, you should check its status.

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