When you come to take a passport-sized photo for your new passport, it’s important to make sure you look the part. The UK Government implements a set of stringent regulations that covers all aspects of your passport picture, from your facial expression to the file size of digital passport photos, including a passport photo dress code.
You need to ensure that you follow all of these guidelines so that your passport picture is accepted.
Want to make sure your wardrobe is passport photo-ready? We can help! Read on to find out how to dress to get the perfect passport picture, every time.
What to wear for a passport photo
When preparing for your new passport photograph, you need to ensure that your image fits the passport photo dress code. We will go through your wardrobe stage by stage, so you can ensure that your outfit will be accepted by the UK Passport authorities.
Passport photo clothing requirements
Regarding your photo for your UK passport, the UK Government guidelines leave most of the wardrobe requirements up to personal preference. Their main proviso is that your clothing must keep your face uncovered, e.g. they would not allow you to wear a collared shirt, pulled up over your face.
The Passport Office specifically states that you could even wear a military or school uniform in your passport picture, prohibited in other countries. Our recommendation, however, is that you wear clothes that reflect your everyday wardrobe, as it will be more comfortable for you when you take the picture and may make it easier to recognise you when you reach the border. We also advise that you wear darker colours, to contrast with the white or off white background required for passport photos.
Passport photos dress code – headwear
In general, the rules regarding headgear for a passport photo are simple. Most forms of head covering, like hats or hairbands, must be removed before you take the picture, as they may cast shadows on your face, or even cover it entirely.
You also need to make sure that you avoid having wearable gadgets like headphones in your photo, as this will also create a risk of hiding your face or casting shadows. You will, however, be allowed to wear religious headgear or medical head coverings, like bandages, provided that they will not obscure your face or cast shadows.
Glasses in your passport photo
When you are taking your new photo for your passport, you should only wear glasses if they are medically necessary, e.g. after surgery. Even then, you must check your photo once you’ve taken it to ensure that your glasses’ frames are not obscuring any part of your face, causing shadows, or creating reflections.
You should also avoid sunglasses and tinted glasses, as these will obscure your eyes entirely, resulting in your photo being rejected.
Passport photo jewellery
When it comes to jewellery, less really is more. You are, in theory, allowed to wear brooches and necklaces in your passport photo. You just need to pay attention to the size of your jewellery, to make sure that these accessories don’t cause reflections in the photo. Smaller, more minimalist articles of jewellery will be far less likely to affect the image, so will be accepted.
Passport photo makeup
As with jewellery, makeup is best in moderation. While the government will be willing to accept makeup, it’s worth bearing in mind that too much may alter your biometric data, potentially invalidating the photo. A good guide is to wear a level of makeup that you normally wear day-to-day, as this will make you more likely to be recognised at the airport.
Passport photo piercing
The Passport Office will be willing to accept ear or facial piercings (for example, nose rings or lip rings) in passport pictures, with certain provisos. Ear piercings ideally need to be small and minimalist, as larger earrings may affect the picture by covering your face, creating reflections or casting shadows in the image.
Too many facial piercings may also change your face’s biometrics, which could cause problems when you come to have your passport checked at the border. The Passport Office, therefore, recommends that you remove as many of your piercings as you can before taking your photo.
Get your UK passport photo with Passport Photo Online!
There you have it! Having checked our guide on what to wear for a passport photo, you are dressed to impress and ready for your close up! All you have to do now is get the photo taken. This can take a while, as you try to find a photo booth that can take passport photos for you, or a specialist photographer willing to do so. There is a better way! You can take your own passport photo using Passport Photo Online’s website or app! You can find any number of advantages by using their service:
- It’s very flexible – With our app, available on iOS and Google Play, you can use Passport Photo Online from anywhere you want, even from your living room!
- You will always be satisfied with your photo – We allow you to do as many retakes as you want, so you can focus on getting a great passport photo you’ll be proud to display to foreign border officials. Best of all, you’ll only need to pay for the photo you select to be the final version, the rest of your attempts are free to take!
- Your photo can be professionally verified. Your passport photos will be processed by our AI software, as well as our human inspectors, so you can be confident that your photo will be accepted by the government. They will scan your picture to ensure compliance with the rules. If the image doesn’t pass, we’ll give you the details, so you can try again until your photo is ready to be attached to the application.
- We guarantee that you’ll be satisfied. If your photo gets rejected, we promise to refund you for double what you paid for the picture.
Once you lay out the most important things you need to remember when deciding what to wear for a passport photo, it quickly becomes easy. The most important things to remember are making sure there are no reflections and that nothing covers your face.
Most of the rules boil down to these two essentials, so keep them in mind, and you’ll have your picture ready in no time. Once your photo covers all the bases, it’s only a matter of time before you’re changing out of your passport photo clothes and into your holiday clothes!
What can’t you wear in your passport photo?
When you come to take your passport photo, you should be wearing casual clothes, the sort of thing you would wear every day. You should avoid wearing any clothing that obscures your face, including any hat or head covering that isn’t medical or religious in nature. You should also remove tinted glasses or sunglasses, with medically essential glasses allowed under the condition that they do not obscure your eyes.
What colour to wear in a passport photo?
While the UK has no specific regulations regarding what colour you should wear in your photo, it is important to remember that your photo will be taken in front of a plain white background. It may therefore be a good idea for you to wear a colour that makes it easy to differentiate between the background and your clothes. We recommend wearing a dark colour, ideally one other than black, so there is sufficient contrast to highlight the biometrics.
Should I wear glasses in a passport photo?
As mentioned above, you should only wear medically essential glasses, as long as they don’t obscure your face, particularly your eyes, in any way, create shadows or cause reflections. Sunglasses and other tinted glasses must be removed before you take your picture.
Can you wear a polo neck shirt in a passport photo?
Yes, a polo collared shirt would be suitable for a passport photo, particularly if it’s a style you wear regularly. The only proviso is that you must make sure that the collar is kept low, i.e. not pulled up to ear level, to prevent it from interfering with the biometric information.
Can you wear a turtleneck in a UK passport photo?
It is fine to wear a turtleneck in a passport photo, provided it is not pulled up to ear level.
Can you wear a headband in a passport photo?
In general, head coverings are not allowed unless they are medical or religious. You should therefore avoid wearing headbands in your passport photos.
Can you wear a burka in a passport photo?
The UK passport requirements state that your full face must be visible, and your head and hair should be seen unless you are wearing a medical or religious head covering. With that in mind, while a hijab would be allowed, a burka, which covers the entire face, would not.
Can you wear a coat in a passport photo?
The main requirement for clothes in passport photos is that nothing can cover your face. Therefore, as long as the collar is not turned up, and any hoods are not interfering with the biometrics, a coat would be allowed.
Can you wear a hoodie in a passport photo?
In most cases, clothing is a personal choice, but the Passport Office will not accept photos where the subject is wearing a hoodie pulled up to their ears. Worn normally, a hoodie is fine, but caution is advised.
Having graduated with a History degree from the University of Birmingham, Sam has proven writing experience in local journalism, marketing and events. Born in the UK, he has travelled extensively both nationally and internationally. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cycling and skateboarding.