About Passport Photos
History records the first mention of a passport around 450 B.C. when a government official working for King Artaxerxes of Persia was issued a letter granting him permission to “pass through the portal gate of Judah.” Since photography wouldn’t be invented until centuries later, it is unlikely that a passport photo was issued.
The first verifiable mention of passport photos occurs right after WWI when Britain began issuing formal passports to its citizens. Those passports were required to be accompanied by a passport photo.
After the First World War ended, the League of Nations held an international conference on passports in 1920. At the conference they agreed on a new book-format passport for League of Nations member states and later the United Nations and The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, issued guidelines on the layout and features of passports. These guidelines have largely shaped the modern passport.
Today every nation of the world issues passports and all of them require passport photos.
What Your Passport Photo Means to You
Although your passport contains important information, the feature that gets the most scrutiny from border officials is your passport photo.
If you don’t look like your passport photo, things could get dicey.
This is why it is so important for your passport photos to be taken by a professional who knows what the government requires. It’s also important for you to look the best that you can in your passport photos. That’s not only because if you’re trying to get in or out of a country and your passport photo doesn’t resemble you, you could end up being a man or woman without a country, but for other reasons as well.
Who is likely to see your passport
After all, you never know who is going to see your passport photo. Not only do you have to show your passport photo to border control officials when you are entering and exiting a country, you also frequently end up showing your passport photo to hotel clerks, airline personnel and other travel and tourism people who you interact with during your time out of your country. In fact, you never know who is going to see your passport photo. It could be a Hollywood agent or the next love of your life.
So make sure that your passport photo shows you at your best because you never get a second chance to make a first impression when it comes to your passport photo. Besides, when you have a good passport photo you can look back at your passport photo in the future and remember how you looked at that stage in your life! If you want really professional passport photos, and you don’t have time to run around town looking for a professional passport photographer, you can actually order your passport photos online as well.
U.S. Passport Photos
U.S. citizens who are used to jetting or sailing to and from the Caribbean and getting back into the country by simply showing their birth certificates were shocked to discover that they now need a valid U.S. Passport and a passport photo. The events of 9/11 have changed the way the U.S. looks at people who are trying to enter its borders and a passport is now the only acceptable proof that you are who you say you are.
U.S. Passport Photo Requirements
Here are the requirements for U.S. passport photos taken directly from the U.S. Department of State web site:
Your two passport photos must be:
* 2×2 inches in size
* Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance
* In color only
* Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
* Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
* Taken in normal street attire