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Passport pictures are an important part of the application process. If the pictures are incorrect (wrong size, wrong pose, wrong facial expression), HM Passport Office will reject the photo and your passport will be delayed. To get the correct UK passport photo you should follow our tips. This way your passport application will be accepted, and you will soon be able to jet all over the world on amazing adventures.
Taking a photo for your passport is one of the most important steps in applying for a document. The UK passport office takes this extremely seriously, and you must provide a biometric image that meets the strict standards for document photos. It is not only the UK government that is strict with photos. Almost all Europeans have to provide biometric photos for important documents such as a driving license, ID, insurance card or passport.
Biometric photos have been present in the UK since 2006, which is when the first biometric travel documents were issued. The biometric photo looks quite specific as it looks a bit like a mugshot. The shot is taken with the subject looking straight ahead and the person being photographed cannot smile, not even a little. For this reason, many people complain that they look unfriendly and unattractive in the passport photo. However, all of this has a purpose − such photos are supposed to reflect the biometric features of the face. These are the individual features that allow special biometric programs to quickly and easily identify the person in the photo. All because each person has an individual set of biometric features.
There is another aspect, which is no less important − a bit of vanity. Your passport picture will be your companion for 10 years as this is the validity period of the document. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get a good shot because, after all, if we travel a lot, we will have to show our passport picture often. Perhaps it will be seen not only by passport officials, airline employees or border officials but you may need to show your passport to your boss and colleagues. It soon becomes clear that you will want a good UK passport photo that you look good in, so will be happy showing it to other people.
To quickly take a UK passport photo you only need a smartphone and our editor. You don't even have to prepare the background or worry about the correct UK passport photo size, because our tool removes the background and crops the image to the correct size of 35mmx45mm (printed pictures) or 900x1200 pixels (digital photo).
Ask a family member to help you take your picture, as a selfie will distort your natural proportions and the pose will be unsuitable for a passport photo, or utilise a tripod and simply use the self-timer on your phone. Next you need to prepare the lighting and clothing you are choosing to wear. Pose as per the requirements (you can find the list below). And click! Take as many shots as you need to and choose the best. Upload the picture with our online tool and wait for the program to validate your photo (the tool also works like a passport photo validator). Now it will remove the background and crop it to ensure it is the correct size. Check your email and there you will find a picture that has been edited and prepared for printing, or sending directly using the online application.
For the current UK passport photo requirements you should visit www.gov.uk and see the photo guidelines. There you will find two separate instructions for taking digital or printed photos. This is because you can apply for a UK passport online, through the website, or by filling out and submitting a paper application form. Luckily you’re visiting this site now and we are happy to help too. Below are some tips for taking passport photos where you will learn about the most important UK passport photo requirements, so you can take a good picture at home.
The quality of the photos you are submitting is very important and as such the photos must be printed on high quality paper, which is found in photography studios or photo booths. Another option, that is easier, is to utilise our print and delivery service, where we will print your photo on high quality paper and send it straight to your door. Another thing you should know about is that other than the signature, on the back of your photo, from your countersignatory, there should be no other signatures, or writing of any kind, on your photos
The photos must be clear, sharp and in focus.Your photo must also be considered a new photo, so it must have been taken within the month prior to submitting your application, as your photo must be the truest representation of your looks at that moment in time. Most countries allow photos to have been taken in the last 6 months, but the United Kingdom is much different, so their requirement for the photo needing to be taken within the last month is much stricter.
The size for UK passport photos is 35mmx45mm for printed pictures, and 900 x 1200 pixels for a digital photo. In both cases the head must be between 29 and 34 mm (approx.). This is the area from the top of the hair to the chin. The frame must include a close-up of your face, head and upper shoulders.
You have to pose facing forward and looking directly at the camera, and your head must be in the centre of the frame. You must have a neutral facial expression so you cannot smile or frown, as pictures with a smile, even a small one, are rejected. Your face must be straight so don't tilt your head to either side and do not raise or lower your head at all.
You may wear your prescription glasses in your UK passport photo, as long as the frames do not cover your eyes in any way, additionally you must ensure that the glass does not give off any glare and that the frames do not cast any shadows on your face. Your eyes must be visible at all times for biometric purposes, because of this sunglasses and glasses with tinted lenses are strictly forbidden.
When it comes to headwear you are not allowed to wear it except for special circumstances. If you are wearing any kind of headwear for religious purposes you are allowed to keep it on in your photo, as long as you provide a signed certificate from a leader in your religious community. If your religious headwear covers your face in any way you must pull it back so that the entire oval of your face can be seen.
When it comes to UK passport photos there is no such thing as a dress code so you are free to wear whatever takes your fancy. However, we do have some advice regarding your clothing choices. If you have casual clothes that you feel good and look nice in then you have the perfect outfit already. However, when it comes to the colour of your clothing we advise you to wear brighter colours, rather than anything white or black, as white will blend with the background and black provides a bad contrast.
You should avoid tight clothes that will make you feel and look uncomfortable and anything crazy is better left in the wardrobe. You should most definitely avoid fluorescent colours as they won’t photograph well for a passport photo. Now there is one type of outfit you definitely cannot wear and that is a uniform of any kind, be it military or otherwise. If you dress as though you are going to your Grandmother’s for a lovely Sunday roast then you will be fine.
No matter how beautiful your jewellery is it's best to take it off for your picture, especially if it is of a large size. Shiny necklaces can give off glare and reflections, and large earrings can cover your cheeks or cast shadows on your face, all of this can lead to your photo not being accepted. In the photo you may have, however, small earrings and a fine chain.
A UK passport photo must be taken with a solid and light background. The background may be cream, light grey or white. You can get such a background by posing with a white wall behind your back. You can also arrange a background for your photo with the help of a sheet. Remember that our photo editor will remove the background, so that the final version of the photo is completely white. This is a big help as when using our tool, you don't have to worry about the background at all.
Here is how you should pose for your UK passport photo, in order for it to be accepted:
If you are taking your passport photo at home then there are some common mistakes that you should definitely avoid. If you do not pay attention to these mistakes and replicate them in your photo then your passport photo may very well be rejected, leading you to need to start the process from the beginning. Below we have listed the most commonly made mistakes when taking a UK passport photo, so be sure to take heed of them.
Unless you are a professional photographer with your own lighting equipment, then setting the lighting up for the perfect shot is quite difficult. Due to the fact that you cannot have any shadows on your face, body, or background, you will need the lighting to be perfect. It is required that you are evenly lit and the light is able to show your natural skin tone, eye colour, and hair colour. The best way to do this is to stand opposite a window in the daylight, which is the best light, and this way the lighting will be perfect.
As stated in the bad lighting section above there can be no shadows cast, either on your body, face or background. There are many reasons as to why there can be shadows, ranging from poor lighting, to objects being in the way of the light or simply the accessories you are wearing, such as eyeglasses, earrings or your religious headwear. To get the best results, and ensure there are no shadows, the person playing the role of photographer, or tripod, should be standing 1.5 metres away from you and you should be 0.5 metres away from the wall. This way there will be no shadows, as long as you have done everything perfectly.
If you use our photo editing tool, you won’t have to worry about the background. The tool removes the background and you will get an image with a white background. However, if you set the background yourself, make it uniform, bright, lightly coloured and without any decorations or objects in the back. Otherwise, your photo will be rejected.
It hasn’t been that long since biometric photos were implemented as required for passports, in fact it was only in 2006, and some of you may have fond memories of the times you could post with a smile and with your face slightly to the side, to capture your best side. Unfortunately those days are over and these days we must all take the same photo, a biometric photo that resembles a mugshot. It’s ok though, as everybody needs to have a mugshot photo for their documents and passports, so you’re not alone.
Due to the new rules you need to maintain a neutral facial expression for your photo, meaning you can’t smile, frown, grimace or make any other faces, your eyes must be open and your mouth must be closed. It is important that your facial expression is like this as biometric photos are analysed by machines and it is best for them when people are neutral. If you maintain your facial expression according to these guidelines there is no reason you won’t be getting your new UK passport.
The UK passport photo size must be exactly 35mmx45mm (width x height) or 900x1200 pixels (digital picture). Some people decide to crop printed pictures before submitting them to the application, which you must not do. HM Passport Office clearly states that cropping will be done by an officer and applicants mustn’t do it by themselves. It is, however, acceptable if a professional photo editor does the cropping. Our photo tool runs this function for every image so as a result you will receive a perfectly cropped passport photo ready to print or submit online.
How do I add a passport photo to my application? It depends on the application method you have chosen. Below you will find quick instructions on how to add a photo to your UK Passport application:
Last update: 24/11/2022
💡 Why is it important to have a correct photo for your UK passport?
Because the UK government is very strict when it comes to photos for official documents. If your picture doesn't meet the official requirements, your passport can be rejected.
💡 Why can I not smile in my UK passport photo?
Because this kind of photo should reflect the biometric features of the face, to let the biometric programs quickly identify the person in the picture.
💡 What background should there be in a UK passport photo?
It should be uniformly light grey or white. But you don't need to worry about it as our photo editor will remove the original background and replace it with the right one automatically.
💡 What are the size requirements for a UK passport photo?
They are 35mmx45mm for printed pictures or 900x1200 pixels for digital photos. This is also something you don't need to take care of as our tool will crop your image to the correct size.
💡 Can a UK passport photo be black and white?
No, the photo should be in colour and can not be torn, wrinkled or marked. Quality is extremely important!
💡 How should my face be in my UK passport photo?
It should be at the centre of the photo, with a neutral expression. Your eyes should be looking straight at the camera. Remember to close your mouth and keep your eyes open.
💡 Are there any requirements for my head, in my UK passport photo?
The head must be in an area which includes the top of the hair to the chin, occupying between 29 and 34 mm of the photo.
💡 Can I wear my glasses in my UK passport photo?
Glasses are allowed in a UK passport photo as long as they don't cover your eyes and pupils. You should also be aware that your glasses are not giving off any glare, as this is not allowed.
💡 Can I wear headwear in a UK passport photo?
Headwear is not allowed in a UK passport photo with one exception, and that is if you are wearing headwear for religious purposes. If you are then you will need a signed certificate from a leader in your religious community to explain this. If you do wear headwear for religious purposes then be sure that it does not cover any part of your face.
💡 Are there any clothing requirements for a UK passport photo?
There are no strict rules. Just be sure that you are not wearing clothes with the same colour as the background (for instance, white t-shirts), because your photo will be unreadable by biometric software.
💡 Can I wear any jewellery in my UK passport photo?
It is advisable to not wear any jewellery because it may give off glare or reflections that interfere with the quality of the photo or cast shadows on your face.
💡 How to pose for a UK passport photo?
Sit or stand 0.5 metres away from the wall and ask the photographer to stand 1.5 metres away from you.
💡 Do I need a digital or a printed photo for a UK passport?
It depends on the application method you have chosen. Our software delivers both kinds of document photos so you will have the right one no matter your chosen method.
A UK passport is a travel and personal ID issued by HM Passport Office to people who meet certain requirements. A British passport also works as an ID and can replace it many times during the trip. It is also used to identify the holder, which is why all personal data and a biometric passport photo is included. HM Passport Office (Her Majesty’s Passport Office) is an agency of the Home Office and a successor to the United Kingdom Passport Agency.
Who can apply for a UK passport? Only a person holding British citizenship assigned to one of the following groups is entitled to do so:
However, having a British nationality does not guarantee a passport. A document may not be given to a person who:
You can apply for a British passport online or traditionally through the Post Office.
Online application is faster and cheaper as passport issuance takes approximately three weeks and the entire service costs £75.50. You don't have to print photos either as all you need is a digital UK passport photo. You can fill out the entire application online at www.gov.uk. That way you can also track your application online, just make sure that your application reference begins with 'PEX'.
The submission of the application is traditionally carried out with the use of a paper form, which you can receive at special 'Passport Check and Send service' points. The application costs £85. You must provide a paper application and 2 (two) identical printed UK passport photos. With this method you apply in person and you must wait 3 (three) weeks before you can track your application online (you are not able to do it immediately).
You can also apply using the Post Office Digital Check & Send Service. It works like a normal service but the post office will take your photo, fill in the application online and submit it for you. In this case you only need to bring your old passport which will be sent to HM Passport Office by Special Delivery and you will be charged an additional fee.
In exceptional circumstances, you can get your passport urgently. For this purpose, you can use a special Passport Adviceline (0300 222 0000). This path is open to people who need to travel for compassionate reasons, need to travel urgently for work or need to prove their identity, for example they are applying for a job, mortgage or benefits.
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