USA Passport Rules Get Even Tougher

We are always being told to keep up to date with any passport changes, and as we've seen in recent years these changes are happening g more frequently and these changes can affect you travel dramatically.

While most of us might only check passport information when we are due to travel, we mainly concern ourselves with the changes to UK passports, but many more people are not even aware that we should also be aware of other countries passport and visa rules and regulations.


Changes in the USA

As from the 1st of November 2016 The State Department announced that American citizens were no longer able to wear glasses in their passport photos.

Over 200,000 American passports were rejected in 2015 alone, with many of those rejected applications being due to passport photos and their quality.

Many of the guidelines surrounding passport photos are very similar to our own in the UK. Quality and clarity are extremely important, we have to remember this one photograph is to verify your identity as well as to protect you and all your fellow travelers from fraudsters and criminal behavior.

One of the main issues that the USA were having with people wearing glasses was the variation in glasses. There are hundreds if not thousands of different styles and shapes of glasses and all of these change the way your face looks. This can make it extremely difficult to accurately identify someone.


E-Passports

E-Passports or electronic passports are more common than ever with more and more countries implementing them in there Passport Offices and airports. These E-Passports are use in conjunction with super hi-tech electronic facial recognition software at passport control in airports.

When you are wearing glasses in your passport photos it makes it very difficult for this software to make the measures of your face and analyse the data, the same problem is caused by fringes, face coverings and significant facial changes like surgery.

So to avoid all of these discrepancies and the inevitable delays that these cause America has just out right banned any glasses in any of their passport applications this also applies to all new visa applications.


How has this affect the US?

These changes has had a big impact on the American passport industry. Many people have not been made aware of these changes as they were not highly publicized as they should have been. This has left thousands of travelers in limbo.

These changes have also increased waiting times from 6 to 10 weeks and passports no longer being valid, this obviously has a huge impact on people needed to travel urgently. And these changes are implemented stringently. With the only exceptions being made in emergency medical situations.


How does this affect the UK?

This mainly affects the UK and other countries because these new passport guidelines given by The State Department also apply to visa applications, so anyone wanting to travel to the US will have to take this into consideration when making their application. Anyone applying will have their application denied if their photos do not adhere to the guideline...Our advice on photos is very clear, make sure you photo has been taken in the last month is clear on a white/cream or light grey background with all hair our of your face and no face coverings. In your unsure in any way you can refer to our passport photo guide.


We always want to make sure that you are always aware of any changes either at home or abroad to make sure you have ample time to make any changes that might be necessary.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm


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