What to Wear for a Passport Photo? [UK Edition]

Passport photo dress code UK.
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For most of us, how we dress is a way of expressing ourselves. Pictures for official documents, however, are not your Instagram account—you need to follow the passport photo dress code.

Does this mean your clothing options are reduced to bland collared shirts? No!

Read our guide to learn what (not) to wear for a passport photo.

Looking for more specific advice? These passport photo articles related to appearance might help:

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the UK passport photo dress code!

Passport photo dress code no-goes

The official UK passport photo clothing requirements provide individuals with a lot of freedom as to what they can wear in passport photos. Does this mean you can pick any outfit you wish?

The short answer is: No.

Before we move on to what you can wear, take a look at this brief overview of what the passport photo office deems unacceptable when it comes to upholding the passport photo dress code.

RequirementDetails
GlassesYou can’t wear glasses unless you absolutely need them. Make sure your glasses aren’t tinted, don’t obscure your eyes, and don’t cast shadows/reflections on your face.
HeadgearHead coverings (e.g., hats or hair accessories) are prohibited unless worn for religious or medical purposes (e.g., a hijab). Make sure your entire face is clearly visible.
ClothingUniforms and camouflage-style clothing is prohibited.

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What to wear for passport pictures

Now that you know what you’re not allowed to wear in UK passport photos, let’s discuss your outfit options for passport photos:

  1. Clothes
  2. Passport photo clothing rules aren’t particularly restrictive. Besides the two solid no-goes we mentioned earlier (uniforms and camouflage-style clothing), you’re allowed to wear whatever you’re comfortable in. In fact, wearing casual clothes for passport photos is recommended.

    When picking your outfit, keep in mind these two additional passport photo dress code tips:

    • Avoid tops with exposed shoulders (e.g., a tank top), as you might end up with an all-but-official “nude” photo once the image is cropped to the required UK passport photo size
    • Avoid light-coloured clothing that’ll blend with the background

    So, what’s the best colour to wear for a passport photo? Opt for darker colours such as black, navy blues, or even red if you feel it suits you best!

    Pro tip: Want to liven up your outfit with a stylish hairstyle? Check out these passport photo hair requirements to see what is acceptable!

  3. Jewellery
  4. In theory, you can wear jewellery for a passport photo. So, there’s no need to remove your necklace or small earrings as long as they:

    • Don’t obscure your facial features (e.g., big hoops or massive earrings that cover a large part of your earlobes)
    • Don’t take the attention away from your face (e.g., statement pieces)

    What about facial piercings in passport photos? Technically, the authorities should accept your photo—even with lip or nose rings present. However, the message is clear: Facial piercings often make biometric recognition difficult, so it’s best to take them out when snapping a passport photo.

  5. Makeup

Introducing new biometric photography rules led the UK to ban smiling in passport photos. Luckily, that doesn’t mean your face has to look sullen! You’re allowed to spice up your passport photo outfit with some makeup—

As long as you don’t compensate for the lack of a smile with Joker-like lipstick, that is!

So, what type of makeup are you allowed to wear? As a rule of thumb, anything that doesn’t change your natural appearance and facial features will do. You should, however, avoid:

  • Heavy and opaque foundations (passport photos must reflect your natural skin tones)
  • Thick fake eyelashes and eyeliner (they will likely obscure your eyelids)
  • Contouring products (as they change your facial features)

Whichever style you choose, remember that less is more. Enhance your beauty, but opt for a natural look.

Will your favourite makeup get the green light from UK passport agents? Let us confirm your new look’s compliance! Take a photo with our Passport Photo UK AiD Photo ID App for iOS or Passport Photo Maker AiD App for Android, and our biometric photo experts will ensure the image gets accepted.

A picture converted into a government-compliant passport photo in 3 seconds using Passport Photo Online mobile app.

FAQ

Is there a dress code for passport photos?

Passport picture guidelines are more lenient than other official requirements. In theory, it’s best that you wear clothes you find comfortable (e.g., a shirt or t-shirt). Note, however, that there still are several guidelines recommending you to:

• Take off your glasses (even if they’re prescription glasses you wear daily)
• Avoid light-coloured clothes, camo patterns, and uniforms
• Wear only medical or religious headgear
• Wear light makeup
• Opt for simple jewellery
• Consider removing facial piercings

Can you wear glasses in passport photos?

Yes, but only if you absolutely need them. In this case, make sure the frames aren’t thick and the lenses don’t cast shadows or reflections on your face. Tinted glasses aren’t allowed.

Can you wear a hoodie in a passport picture?

Yes, you can, so long as it’s not covering your face. So, make sure your hoodie is rolled down, visibly showing your face and the top of your neck.

Can you take your own passport photo?

Taking photos for your passport application has never been easier —use our Passport Photo UK AiD Photo ID App for iOS or Passport Photo Maker AiD App for Android to get perfect biometric passport photos from home in several clicks.

What to wear in a passport photo?—concluding remarks

UK passport photo requirements are fairly lenient when it comes to what you’re allowed to wear for a passport picture. 

Here’s what we recommend wearing to make sure the UK government doesn’t reject your pics: 

  1. Darker-coloured clothing (e.g., a navy shirt).
  2. Comfortable everyday clothes (e.g., boat neck t-shirts, dresses, or shirts).
  3. Makeup that won’t change your facial features or skin colour.
  4. No unnecessary accessories, such as bobby pins.

That’s it! Test your outfit ideas at home and snap a new photo with our handy mobile photo booth. Thanks to our professional service, you can rest assured you’ll be all set for your next travel adventure.

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