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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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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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