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Passport Photo Guide:

Countersigning your application and Photographs

You must get your application form and one of your 2 photos countersigned when applying for a :

  • First adult passport.
  • First child passport.
  • Replacement for a lost, damaged or stolen passport.
  • Renewal of a passport for a child aged 11 or under.
  • Renewal of a passport and your appearance has changed and you can't be recognised from your existing passport photo.

The person who signs Section 10 of your application form should also certify one ( not both ) of the photographs by writing on the back as follows: "I certify that this is a true likeness of [Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or other title followed by your full name]." They must then sign and date the statement as well. It is not enough just to sign and date the photograph.

Under 16s (including babies)

The photograph must be certified by someone who has known the person signing (section 9) personally for at least two years.

Quantity and format

  • Applicants should submit two identical photos. These must be produced from the same film or from the same electronic file capturing the digital image. Digital enhancement is not acceptable as this can result in the capture of an inaccurate biometric.

Size and paper

  • Photos must measure 45mm by 35mm.
  • Heavy weight paper i.e. cardboard, is unacceptable.
  • Photos must be printed on high quality, medium / low gloss or matt photographic paper. Photos produced at home are unlikely to be acceptable, as they will not meet the high standards delivered by professional equipment and may not allow us to capture an accurate biometric, leading to potential difficulties when travelling.
  • Corrugated paper is not acceptable.
  • Trademarks or other printing on the reverse is acceptable, provided it does not show through when the photo is scanned on to the Identity and Passport agencies system. This is most likely to occur where bold back print is used and the image captured is very pale. Proper lighting and exposure are essential in order to capture the level of detail required for all applicants. But this takes on added importance where back printed paper is used.
  • Photos must have a backing that allows the person countersigning to certify one of the photos and sign in ink, without smearing


Glasses often show reflection or glare from flash and frames can obscure facial features in a photograph. This can cause problems when trying to capture the biometric. Applicants wearing glasses should remove spectacles to ensure a clear biometric can be obtained.

Applicants with a visual impairment should also follow this guidance. Customers who wear dark, tinted or mirrored glasses for cosmetic reasons must remove them otherwise a biometric cannot be captured.

General photo requirements

  • Eyes must be open and clearly visible, with no flash reflections and no 'red eye'.
  • Facial expression must be neutral (not frowning nor smiling) with the mouth closed.
  • Photos must show both edges of the face clearly.
  • Photos must show a full front view of face and shoulders, squared to the camera.
  • Photos must not show the subject looking over one shoulder (portrait style) or with head tilted to one side or backwards or forwards.
  • The face and shoulder image must be centred in the photo.
  • Eyes should not be obstructed by hair.
  • Photos must reflect/represent natural skin tone.
  • Photos must be clear, sharp and in focus.
  • Photos with shadows on the face or background are unacceptable.
  • Photos must be taken with uniform lighting and not show shadows or flash reflection on the face and head.
  • Photos must show a plain, uniform, light grey or cream background. 5 to 10% grey is recommended as a background.
  • Hats or head coverings are not permitted except when worn for religious reasons and only if the full facial features are clearly visible.
  • Black and white photos are not acceptable.
  • Where very young children are being supported, the hands if visible must not be above the shoulder.
  • Photos must not be manipulated, for example, by removing spots or softening lines, shadows, etc.

Exceptions to HMPO photo policy

  • For children aged over 1 and under 6 years, the requirements for mouths to be closed and eyes looking at the camera are waived.
  • When photographing infants under the age of 12 months, the image should show a good likeness. The requirements for eyes to be open and mouth closed, for example, are waived. In practice, the template check requirement for babies is also waived.
  • Some applicants, because of either physical or mental disabilities, will find it difficult to meet our requirements. Therefore acceptance may be approved if an applicant states that they cannot meet the requirement because of disability. In these instances please ensure that the best image possible is captured.

Sometimes we achieve the seemingly impossible!

B.H. - Wolverhampton: Lost passport replaced within 2 days and travelled to Jamaica.

S.G. - London: Lost passport. New 10 year passport delivered next day - made a flight to New York.

A.G.H. - West Sussex: Stolen Passport replaced in 48 hours and so travelled to Far East.     More Testimonials

Call us now for Fast-Emergency Passport and managed renewal services that are not available from Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) or Post Office. We are a qualified provider of Same Day Passport Services with over 30 years experience in handling urgent travel documents. We are not Her Majesty's Passport Office. Calls are recorded for accuracy and will assist improvements to the service we offer. Calls to this number may be charged at approximately 10p per minute excluding any relevant caller network charges (mobile phones etc).

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