NO smiling in Passport Photo?

Old Mar 1st, 2007, 09:12 AM
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NO smiling in Passport Photo?

I'm about to renew my passport, and I know in 2004 there was a strict "NO SMILING" rule for U.S. passport photos. Today, it appears more ambiguous, with instructions like "encourage a neutral or natural expression." I have read conflicting advice, that smiling may now be unofficially allowed, but officially not encouraged.

I'm thinking about just mailing in a smiling photo at the risk of rejection since summer Eurotravel leaves ample time to re-submit.

Have they loosened this rule? Has anyone successfully submitted a smiling passport photo recently?

Cheers!
Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 09:16 AM
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I got my passport in 2004 and I was smiling, there wasn't any rule like that.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 09:18 AM
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oh, I am American, also. I wasn't grinning ear to ear or anything, but I was smiling somewhat. I had never heard of such a rule, so wasn't worried.

If you think there is such a rule, why not get your photo made where you aren't smiling to be on the safe side. I don't understand why you care.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 09:32 AM
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My wife submitted her passport renewal in early-2005, and at that time she was told that smiling was a definite no-no.

So perhaps your renewal was prior to this rule taking effect?
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 09:38 AM
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I just went for my passport picture a minute ago and the phographer told me: you can smile but do not show teeths.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 10:01 AM
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I was smiling. Now if they could only air brush out that piece of lettuce in my teeth.

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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 10:07 AM
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I'm smiling in Mine too. I had a Great Tan and made sure I wore a Beautiful turtle neck sweater. It was a very important picture for Me. And I was so happy to finally be getting a passport. Me and DH had the chance to take several poses at AAA too. They were super busy in other departments and the clerk asked my DH did He know how to use the Camera. And He did, so we got to take our time and do many shots of eachother (some that would never be passport material

I mean Gheez, you got to look at that photo for 10 years, make it good.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 10:20 AM
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American citizen here. I got my first passport in the 80s and I was smiling in the photo. Renewed in the 90s and I was smiling in that one as well. No big ear to ear grin, but definitely a smile.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 10:26 AM
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>..you got to look at that photo for 10 years, make it good. <

As Erma Bombeck once wrote, "When you begin to look like your passport photo, it's time to go home".

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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Actually, Carmel, SHORTS are a no-no for the picture...even though nobody will see them.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 12:02 PM
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I wore my shorts for one of my passport photos, but also brought along a shirt, tie, and jacket which I put on before the flash.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Sorry, but all I can say to this question is "What the ****?????"

Right on, Theresa10! My DH looks terrible in his photo and I keep teasing him about it.

I have never heard of anyone saying you can't smile for a passport photo. I've always gotten them done at a photo studio or one of those automated machines. I had to get my passport renewed in 2005 before we moved to Germany and no one said a thing. Is there some explanation for this "rule"?



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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 12:59 PM
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I thought the only rule was that you are required to look stupid, angry, mentally ill and possibly dangerous. At least that's how mine always comes out.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 12:59 PM
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This issue was on the news last week. A girl's passport was rejected because she had a slight smile. The place where she got the photo taken got into trouble, too. This individual would not receive her passport in time to take her planned trip so she was not able to go. It is really strict here in Canada. You cannot wear a turtleneck or even mock turtleneck shirts, either. Someone we know was rejected because of it.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 01:04 PM
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Are these things actually in print? I got my passport renewed in 2005 and I was grinning like I was on my way to Italy! Unfortunately it was also a bad hair day....
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 01:19 PM
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Help me out here - why would you consider trying to "skirt" what may be a rule on something like a passport application?

The chance of having to redo the whole application because you wanted to sneak in a smile, or because you felt awkward presenting a neutral expression of your gorgeous smile to customs agents baffles me.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 01:35 PM
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I think that no smiling rule was an urban legend. As I said, I got my passport right in the middle of 2004 and I was smiling.

I just checked the website and it says the subject should have a "natural" expression (not neutral). Interestingly, more detailed FAQs say your mouth should be closed (which is actually different than saying no smiling), and yet they show an example photo that is a good composition and the woman has her mouth slightly open.

So, I think you can smile if you don't show a lot of your mouth and teeth. There isn't any way I would deliberately send in a photo that I think may not be good and go through the trouble of resubmitting one.

I really don't care at all what my passport photo looks like, no one ever sees it but those agents and airline clerks.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 02:02 PM
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Australian citizen here - did my passport renewal yesterday. To quote from the application - be taken with a neutral expression (not laughing or frowning) with your mouth closed.
There are acually 11 points for the photo requirements in regard to quality etc.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 02:10 PM
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I renewed my U.S. passport in 2006; the photographer at the AAA office said smiling was okay. I sent in my form and photos (with smile) and have used the passport without any problems.

On the U.S. passport web site there is a section reading something like "Instructions for professional photographers." There are three examples. The first serious, the seond, slight closed-mouth smile, the third definitely smilingwith some teeth showing.
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 02:46 PM
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I was a professional photographer for 55 years and in the early years it definitely was a rule you could not smile in the passport photos so I actually had to retake a few until I realized it was a rule. About 20 years or so ago they changed it, thank heavens. Before that they used to say if you looked as bad as the picture you either NEEDED THE TRIP or you were not WELL ENOUGH to make the trip. However when I recently renewed mine, I truly wish I could have used my 10 year old picture, ha ha. Have a good day. Halfpint
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