Is Appearance Change in My Photo a Problem

qaQuestion: I gained a ton of weight in the last 6 years and I am concerned that my passport photo does not accurately portray me. I don’t want to have a problem between countries. Will this appearance change be a problem at the various points of entry? What should I do?

Answer: A “ton” of weight is a very subjective statement and we cannot be certain how you define that term. The Federal Government suggests getting a new or renewed Passport if a person gains or losses a “significant” amount of weight. So, we have no way of judging by your question. Hence, it could be 10 pounds or maybe 100. Only you know. Show the photo to a friend or relative and ask them if you look like you gained “significant weight” compared to the photo.

You have several options. You can play it safe and apply for a renewed passport with a new photo. Or, pay the passport fees again but at least you will have peace of mind.

You can go to a regional office and speak to a representative. The agent can advise you if you should get a new passport. Or, you can use your existing passport. If you do use your existing passport, it would be a good idea to carry with you photos of yourself. Hence, showing the weight gain over the last 6 years.

Here is a list of the regional Passport offices, click here. You will need to make an appointment. The telephone number and info can be found on that link.

For details regarding the renewal process click here. Furthermore, remember you are in charge of your own passport photo so be sure to spend time preparing yourself for the best possible picture.

If you want to see examples of good and acceptable photos, you can go to the official government site here.