Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports are taking longer than normal for both standard and expedited services.

Do I need a new passport photo after losing over 40 pounds?

Question: My passport was issued 2 yrs. ago, and since that time I've lost more than 40 pounds on a successful weight-loss program. Do I need to have my photo re-taken, or my passport re-issued, prior to a planned trip to Ireland in May?

Answer: Passports issued to adults have a validity of 10 years. People change a lot in ten years, some more than others. Passport holders are only required to change the picture in a passport when there has been a significant change in their appearance.

One item that the Department of States lists as sufficient reason to apply for a new passport is "significant amount of weight loss or gain". However, there is a high degree of subjectivity to this requirement. It is not necessary "if you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport." In this case, you do not need to apply for a new passport.

Some travelers in similar situations have claimed to have no problem in crossing borders while others related that they had been detained for several hours. Some claim that carrying a few photos at various stages of the weight loss has helped.

In summary, you have to decide if the change is significant enough to warrant the effort to obtain a new passport. You cannot just have a new photo added to your current passport. You have to apply for a renewal and pay the appropriate fee. If you think your current passport may create delays at border crossings, you may want to invest in a new passport in order to avoid the hassle. If so, click the link below for instructions.

Passport Renewal Requirements

Congrats on the accomplishment and enjoy your trip to Ireland.

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UPDATE: Mailing delays and high demand are impacting passport processing. The Department of State's processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility. Standard service may take between 8 and 11 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 5 to 7 weeks excluding mailing times on the front and back end. Current mailing delays are significant. Requesting 1-2-day mailing service is recommended.

Regional passport agencies are offering two types of appointments: Life-of-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service.

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 3 business days.

If you need to travel due to a qualified life-or-death emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center for an appointment:

Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. ET, call 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY:1-888-874-7793) Outside of these hours, call 202-647-4000.

For Urgent Travel Service, you need to call 14 days before your scheduled international travel or 28 days if you also need to secure a foreign visa.

If you need to travel urgently for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency, please call the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. ET.

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