Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2016
Beginning November 1, all individuals must remove their eye glasses for U.S. passport and U.S. visa photos. We are changing our policy to enhance the security of the application process and verify applicants’ identities faster. We also want to ensure you have fewer delays in the application process.
Last year, worldwide more than 200,000 passport customers submitted poor quality photos which we couldn’t accept. We put these passport applications on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify the customer from their photo. The main reason we couldn’t accept passport photos last year was issues with eyeglasses. For example, eye glasses may cause glare on the lens and glasses may also create shadows on applicant’s face or block a portion of an applicant’s eyes.
A new passport photo without eyeglasses may also help individuals move faster through U.S. ports of entry especially when the U.S. passport is verified electronically. Applicants who have a medical issue such as recent surgery requiring eyeglasses to protect your eyes may still wear glasses. If you must wear eye glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement with your application from a medical professional or health practitioner (such as a surgeon or ophthalmologist) in these cases.
We appreciate your compliance with this new policy.