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Four Things You Can't Wear When Taking Passport Photos

Sunglasses are not allowed when taking passport photosMaking plans for international travel, for the most part, is exciting. Your very first step after making the decision to go, even before you purchase your tickets, is to do the not so fun, but totally necessary passport application. The easiest step in applying for a passport should be getting the passport photo, but the requirements are very exacting. So save yourself the headache of getting all the necessary paperwork together and being turned away from your appointment because your photo isn't right.

You cannot be photographed for your passport in any kind of uniform, including military or law enforcement uniforms. One exception is for diplomats or other officials who may get approval. Also, commercial employees who wear their uniforms during travel, like pilots or flight attendants, may get approval.

You cannot wear hats, scarves, or other headwear that completely covers your hairline. The exception is if it is part of your religious attire like a turban or headscarf. Even then, your face must be visible from your hairline to your chin and from the front of one ear to the front of the other.

Sunglasses or tinted eyeglasses are also not allowed in passport photos. If you normally wear eyeglasses, you can wear them in the passport photo as long as the frames don't cover your eyes. If you have tinted lenses for medical reasons, you may have to provide a signed medical statement. You also can't wear contacts that make your irises appear larger or smaller or obscure your eyes.

Lastly, you cannot wear anything temporary like Bluetooth devices, headphones, one-time facial decorations like team logos from a sporting event, or temporary tattoos. You'll be photographed in front of a white background, so contrasting clothing is best. Keep in mind that immigration officials and others you may need help from while traveling can be humorless, so use a neutral facial expression in your passport photo.

While you can take a passport photo with a digital camera, there are numerous locations with experienced personnel that offer on-site passport photo services.

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