Did you know you can’t wear eyeglasses for a passport photo anymore? Did you know you shouldn’t smile in your passport photo? The passport photo is the number one reason passport applications are denied, rejected, or suspended. That’s because the government has certain rules about what types of facial expressions are acceptable, and if you break these rules, your passport application could be rejected causing lengthy processing delays. A routine passport takes 6-8 weeks or longer. If you need your passport sooner, our rush passport service is available with processing speeds from 2 weeks to as fast as 24 hours. Our passport advisors are also here to make sure you avoid the common passport issues.

Why can’t I smile for a passport photo?

In some countries, such as Great Britain and Canada, smiling for a passport photo is strictly forbidden.  Looking serious, even downright gloomy, is encouraged. This is because these countries use facial recognition software to cut down on passport fraud.  Unfortunately, smiling can make it hard for this software to “read” your face.  For the same reason, many states are now forbidding smiles for driver’s license pictures.

It might be okay to smile for your passport photo. Just don’t go overboard. According to the US Department of State, “unusual expressions” are forbidden. No crossing your eyes or sticking your tongue out.  Also, squinting is forbidden and you don’t want to show your teeth.  So, if you naturally have a big, toothy grin that changes the way your entire face looks, tone it down for the camera. Before you go out for your big photo shoot, make sure to review the government’s rules for passport photos.

Do I need a new passport photo to renew my passport?

Passport renewal applications also require a new passport photo. You cannot submit your old passport photo with a passport renewal application. Your passport photo should be new, taken within the last 6 months. Routine passport renewal applications take 6-8 weeks for processing. If your passport photo is not acceptable, it will take more than 2 months to get your passport renewed.

Passport Processing Times

If you don’t need your passport soon, routine processing is available at the post office or county clerk. It will take 6-8 weeks for processing. To make the passport application process go faster, consider submitting your application through a private passport expediting company. You’ll get personalized customer service from passport professionals, and since your application is delivered by hand to the US Department of State, you’ll get much quicker processing times, too. An expediting company can get your passport application processed in as little as 24 hours!

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