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Can I change my passport photo even though my passport is still valid?

by Laura
(Flint, MI, USA)

Question: When my passport was issued, I had short hair and weighed a few pounds more. The last time I crossed over the border from Canada, the customs officer didn't think it was my passport.


Can I just change the photo on my current passport or should I just get a new passport? Can I get a new passport even though this one is valid?

Answer: Laura,

You cannot change just the photo in your passport. The only way to change it is to apply for a renewal. You can do this at any time but will lose the remaining validity in your current passport.

Passports issued to adults are valid for 10 years. People can change a lot during that time - gain weight, lose weight, dye hair, let hair grow long, shave it off, etc. It is not necessary to renew a passport each time a change occurs.

Although customs officers may take a second (or even third) look and, at time, question whether you are the person in the photo, they know that many changes can occur in 10 years.

In summary, it is not necessary to get the picture in your passport changed but if you want to you can. Just click the link below for complete instructions.

How to Apply for a Passport Renewal

Return to Passport Photo FAQ.

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