You need to renew your passport if it is about to expire or if you have a lot of stamps in the book. You may be applying for your very first passport.
The U.S. Department of State has established procedures for passport renewals or applications in either situation. You must adhere to all instructions, even those regarding the passport photograph, in order not to have your application denied.
You want to be beautiful for the photo. But can you wear make-up?
Learn about the passport photo requirements and how to get the best result in front of the lens.
Allowances for passport photo make-up
The official DOS rules do not prohibit the wearing of makeup for a passport photograph.
There are some unwritten rules regarding the use of makeup on passport photos. You’ll need to adhere to them if you want your application and photo to be accepted.
How to wear makeup for a passport picture
Your skin tone must look natural
We don’t suggest using foundations that are too light or dark to match your skin.
It is also not recommended to use self-tanners or skin lighteners right before the picture. When you go through immigration, your photo should not be drastically different from how you look in your daily life.
Use a foundation with a natural look that doesn’t alter the skin dramatically.
Use sunblocks with low or no SPF
When a flash light is used, high SPF products such as foundation, primer or sunscreen can leave a white cast. To avoid appearing pale or shiny, we recommend that you use base products with low or no SPF.
Apply a powder setting to give skin a matte finish. This will absorb any excess oil.
Don’t contour too much
We recommend a soft contour using a large fluffy brush if your daily makeup routine includes contouring. This will avoid making a dramatic change on your face. Don’t use too much dark color.
You can use bronzer or neutral blush colors to even out the shape of your face.
Do not draw eyebrows
You can completely change the look of your face by changing your eyebrows’ shape. It’s okay to add more definition with a brow-gel that has a tint, but not change the shape.
Stick to adding more eyebrows rather than drawing them on. You want your passport photo to be as you are for the next 10 years.
Do not apply false lashes
For a natural look, use mascara on your own eyelashes.
If you are used to wearing cat-eye eyeliner we suggest a smaller wing that is close to the natural lashline instead of a large wing.
Requirements for passport photos in the U.S.
DOS published the list of photo requirements both for new applicants and mail-renewals.
Here is the guideline for passport photo:
Send one color photograph taken within the past six months.
Do not use any filters on the image.
Use a tripod or have someone else take the photo. It’s not acceptable to take selfies.
Remove your sunglasses
Face a background that is white, off-white or a combination of both. It should be free from texture and shadows.
This department also offers some examples of photos that are acceptable or unacceptable.
Acceptable passport photos include:
Color photos with accurate skin tones and clear, well-exposed color.
This photo has the correct size and is the proper orientation. The image is 2″ x 2″.
The photo is crisp and clear, with no visible dots or pixels.
The applicant is looking at the camera in a neutral expression.
The child is facing the camera with his eyes open (unless he’s still a baby).
Unacceptable passport photos include:
The applicant is wearing spectacles
The background is removed using photo-editing software to alter the shape of the face, neck, and head.
The applicant is wearing a cap (coverings for religious and medical reasons are permitted).
The applicant is dressed in camouflage or a uniform.
Am I allowed to take my passport picture?
Take a passport picture at several locations. You can do this at CVS, Walgreens or any other photo-acceptance facility.
If you don’t have a camera, you can also ask a relative or friend to snap a picture for your passport. You can’t do a selfie but you are allowed to take your passport picture.
Passport picture requirements don’t forbid makeup
Are you ready for the spotlight?
You can wear make-up in your passport photo if you wish, just keep it as natural looking as possible. You don’t want your passport photo to be rejected or for an immigration official to pay you unnecessary attention in a stressful situation.
The goal in any case is to create a timeless style that will last as long as your passport remains valid.
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