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Can You Wear Glasses In A Passport Photo?

Anyone applying for or renewing a U.S. passport must remove their eyeglasses for their passport photo. This policy prohibiting glasses in passport photos went into effect in November 2016.

According to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consumer Affairs, the decision was made because every year many thousands of passport customers submit poor quality photos — and the primary reason photos were rejected in the past was because applicants were wearing glasses that made it difficult to identify their face.

The new "no glasses" policy will result in fewer passport application delays and will help passport holders move through U.S. ports of entry more efficiently, says the Bureau.

If you are wearing glasses in your current passport, you don't have to get a new passport now. Your unexpired passport remains valid. However, the next time you renew your passport, you'll have to take off your glasses.

Source: U.S. Department of State

For tips on how to take a good (glasses-free) passport photo, watch the video on this page.

By the way, having an up-to-date passport is a good idea, even if you have no plans to travel internationally. This is because the recent Real ID Act requires all state-issued identification documents to meet certain minimum security standards.

Photo IDs that don't meet these security standards (certain state-issued driver's licenses, for example) may not be accepted for federal purposes, such as for boarding domestic flights.

If you are uncertain whether your state-issued photo ID meets Real ID Act security requirements, visit your state government's website.

Notes and References

No glasses allowed in passport photos. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consumer Affairs website. November 2016. How a passport can help you fly domestically. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consumer Affairs website. October 2016.

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Amy Hellem

Amy Hellem is a writer, editor and researcher who specializes in eye care and other medical fields.

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