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  • Passport Photo Rejected? Here’s What To Do

    Have you ever felt like you’re in a comedy of errors, but it’s just you trying to get a passport photo right? 

    I certainly have. 

    Who knew channeling my inner model would backfire in the world of passport photos? But there I was, thinking I’d snapped the perfect shot, only to have it rejected because my head was slightly tilted. 

    Fortunately, solving this issue doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. Read about my experience and learn what to do if your passport photo is rejected.

    1. What Happens If a Passport Photo Is Rejected?

    First, don’t panic!

    At least it’s not like you’ve missed a flight 😉.

    First, you will receive an official rejection letter. Take time to read it carefully, as it explains the reasons behind the rejection and provides you with the correct instructions for improving your photo. 

    Time is on your side. You have a 90-day window to submit a new photo without any additional fees. You must keep in mind, though, that missing this window means starting the passport application process over and paying the fees again.  

    Put simply, your passport photo rejection will slow down your application, but it won’t stop you from getting the passport. Also, if you take quick action, there will not be any further expenses.

    2. Your Passport Photo Rejected: Here’s What To Do

    Cheese! A new photo is on its way. Put on your brightest smile—or rather, your best neutral facial expression—and follow those steps to fix your photo problem. 

    Understanding the rejection

    Remember the last time you followed your packing list?

    Now, approach the rejection letter with the same level of attention to detail. 

    Take your time to read it carefully and ensure you comprehend every point it raises. Identify precisely where your previous attempt went awry. Then, use it as your guiding checklist when capturing your new headshot. 

    If something is unclear, do not hesitate to look for expert guidance. To find out what went wrong, you can always visit a photographer or speak with professionals from online passport photo services. They will not only offer guidance but also help you immediately get the perfect shot with a guarantee of compliance.

    Taking the new photo

    On-site or online?

    It doesn’t matter if you take your picture by yourself, using online apps, or with a professional photographer. In my experience, relying on reputable professionals and online passport photo services can save you from potential hassles and rejections. They often provide a guarantee of photo acceptance, offering peace of mind for your upcoming journeys.

    However, regardless of your choice, it’s crucial to stay well-informed. Take the time to thoroughly read the photo tips from the government website:

    1. Submit one color photo taken in the last 6 months.
    2. Use a clear image of your face. Do not use filters commonly used on social media.
    3. Have someone else take your photo. No selfies.
    4. Take off your eyeglasses for your photo.
    5. Use a white or off-white background without shadows, texture, or lines.

    Source: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/photos.html 

    To learn more about the most common errors and how to avoid them, you can also read the section of the article below.

    Resubmitting the photograph

    After your photo is ready, there are a couple of things to take care of.

    • Make sure to include a copy of the letter you received from the government. This step ensures they can easily match your new photo with your pending application.
    • Warning: do not write anything on the front or back of your photo. A copy of your letter suffices to facilitate the matching process.
    • Tame your inner procrastinator, and don’t delay sending your photograph. Missing the deadline is something you’ll want to avoid.

    Now, you can sit back, relax, and await your application approval.

    3. Why Do Passport Photos Get Rejected? Top Reasons

    Take note of the most popular mistakes, and do not repeat them. 

    You might be surprised at how many passport photos get rejected! In fact, according to the government website, unacceptably low-quality passport photos are a major reason passport applications are delayed.

    Source: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/photos.html 

    Why is it so common? The reason is most likely that there are a lot of requirements you have to meet to have your passport photo approved, including having the correct dimensions, a balanced facial expression, and lighting. That is why getting your passport photo on your own can be like navigating an unknown airport. 

    The most common reasons for rejection include:

    • Incorrect sizing or wrong dimensions: Even a millimeter off can lead to rejection. Passport photos must adhere to specific dimensions. Typically, U.S. passport photos should be 2 inches by 2 inches. The face should occupy between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
    • Facial expressions: A neutral expression is mandatory. Smiling or frowning? Big no-no. The idea is to have a natural, unforced expression for better identification
    • Poor image quality: Clarity is key. Blurry, overexposed, or grainy photos are unacceptable. Photos should be in focus, with balanced lighting to avoid shadows or glare.
    • Non-compliance with government requirements: Specifics like the positioning of your face, the space above your head, and the placement of your eyes are critical. If you are looking at a photo, your eyes should be positioned between 1 1/8″ and 1 3/8″ from the bottom.
    • Inappropriate attire: The right attire is crucial. Avoid uniforms, camouflage, and clothing that blends into the background. Bonus trick: choose attire that contrasts with the background for a clearer photo.
    • Non-white background: Wondering why a plain white or off-white background is a must? Textured or colored backgrounds can cause photo rejection.

    Congrats! You know the most typical mistakes made in passport photos. Now is your chance to snap an image that will surely be approved.

    Final Thoughts

    Having your passport photo rejected might feel like a bummer, but it’s an easily solvable puzzle.

    With the right approach, your photo will be more than just a formality; it’ll be your gateway to new adventures. Remember, every great journey starts with a simple step—or, in this case, a click!

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