Can You Wear Glasses in a Passport Photo?

By Ivana Yankova

woman taking a passport photo in a photo studio

With over four billion people worldwide wearing glasses, it’s clear that they’re a common accessory.

If you’re one of the many who rely on prescription glasses, it’s likely you rarely take them off. 

In this article we’ll explore whether taking a passport picture is one of those cases where you need to go without them. 

The problem with wearing glasses in a passport photo

When it comes to taking passport photos, wearing glasses can pose a bit of a challenge. The main issue is the glare they can cause, especially if there’s a camera flash involved. 

This glare can obscure the eyes or create reflections that make it difficult to clearly see the facial features such as the true eye color, which is an important identifying feature.

Denying people the option of wearing glasses for a passport photo has helped ease the passport application process and expedite delivery to the applicants, but this practice has not been adopted everywhere.

passport photo document travel vacation

When are you allowed to wear glasses?

Passport photo requirements vary from country to country. In the United States, the U.S. Department of State established the “No Eyeglasses Policy” in 2016 with two main intentions: convenience and safety. 

In other countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, wearing glasses in passport photos is also generally discouraged. 

However, there are exceptions for valid medical reasons. In such rare cases, a person may need to provide medical documentation, including a signed doctor’s statement, to support their need to wear prescription glasses in their passport photo.

This rule also applies to children. Parents will need to provide a signed medical statement if their child is medically required to keep the glasses on.

In every other case, even if you wear eyeglasses in your daily life, you’ll have to take them off for your passport photo.

Can you wear sunglasses in a passport photo?

No. Sunglasses are not permitted in a passport photo. Your eyes must be fully visible and not obstructed in your official document. 

Requirements for wearing glasses in a passport photo

If wearing glasses in a passport photo is necessary due to medical reasons, there are specific guidelines that must be followed:

  • Eyeglass frames should not cover any part of the eyes or the eyebrows.
  • There should be no glare or reflections on the lenses.
  • There should be no shadows or distortions caused by the lenses that obscure the eyes.
  • You can’t wear colored or tinted glasses.
These requirements apply for both adults and children.
requirements for wearing glasses in a passport photo

Tips for taking your passport photo

When taking your passport photo, there are few things to keep in mind: 

  • Wear normal, everyday clothing; costumes and uniforms are not permitted.
  • Avoid hats or head coverings, unless for religious reasons, with a signed statement confirming the attire’s significance.
  • Keep makeup natural to ensure facial features and skin tone are recognizable.
  • Ensure the photo is in color and taken within the last six months in front of a white background.
  • You can smile, but keep your mouth closed and eyes open.
  • Avoid selfies and don’t use filters, retouching, or alterations.

By sticking to these guidelines, your passport photo will be a true reflection of you.

Tips for taking your passport photo

Smile, you're passport-ready!

When it’s time for your new passport photo, simply be your authentic self. Instead of dressing up or going all out with makeup, keep it casual and natural. 

And remember, while some countries may permit wearing glasses in passport photos under specific conditions, submitting a photo with glasses could lead to rejection of the application. 

This means you’ll have to retake the photo or even potentially redo the whole application process. It’s generally safest and quickest to avoid wearing them altogether.

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