Help! When Should I Update My Passport Photo?

Hand with tweezers holding id photo over passport as if forging the travel documents

You’re getting ready for the vacation of a lifetime.

You’ve packed your bags, booked a dreamy hotel room, and you’re ready to leave your desk and the drama that comes with it behind for a few weeks.

The only thing left to really consider?

Whether or not you need to update passport photos. After all, you were going through some, well, interesting hair and style choices when you first had the photos taken. Now, you’re worried that the old passport photo doesn’t look like you.

So, when should you update passport photo — and how long is a passport good for, anyway?

Keep on reading this post in order to find out everything that you need to know.

How Long Is a Passport Good For?

First of all, let’s get some basics out of the way regarding passport laws first.

Your passport will be good for ten years — though if you’re planning to travel to certain countries, you’ll need to be certain that your passport doesn’t expire within six months of your travel date.

If you need to renew a passport, you can use the DS-82 form and mail it into the National Passport Processing Center.

Be aware, however, that you’ll need to provide a new photo whenever you renew passport. If you’ve changed your name, you’ll also need to complete name change documents and include them with your passport application.

You’ll also need to mail in your old passport — but don’t worry, you’ll get it back.

The main drawback to this method?

The long processing times.

You can expect a standard passport renewal to take anywhere from four to six weeks. If you’re in a time crunch, sometimes this just isn’t going to work.

Luckily, we can help you to apply for an emergency passport that could get you a renewed passport in as little as 24 hours.

When to Update Passport Photo

Let’s make one thing clear about passport photos right out of the gate.

You need to understand that you can’t just switch up your old passport photo and paste a new one into your passport.

If you want to change your picture, then, unfortunately, you’ll have to apply for a completely new passport.

But when do you need to update your passport photo?

The good news is that the State Department is surprisingly more understanding than you might initially expect.

If you’ve switched up the length or the color of your hair, for example, this won’t require you to get a new passport altogether. The same goes if you’ve decided to get rid of your beard, or if you’ve gotten a new piercing on your face or your ear.

Even if you’ve gotten a tattoo on your neck, you most likely won’t need to update your passport photo.

Even children most likely won’t need to get new passport photos, even if the way they’ve grown means they look almost nothing like their old photos! Because children need to get their passports renewed every five years, the State Department offers leniency to your little ones.

But when is it truly necessary for you to update your passport photo — and therefore apply for a new passport altogether?

If you’ve lost — or even gained — a serious amount of weight?

Then you’ll likely need to apply for a new passport.

The same goes if you’ve gotten into an accident or even had plastic or reconstructive surgery that has completely changed the look of your face.

If you’ve been able to receive gender confirmation surgery since the last time your passport photo was taken? You’ll also need to make sure your photo has changed to reflect your journey.

Understanding Passport Photo Requirements

You know that your passport photo likely isn’t going to be a glamour shot.

And while you can still look good in your passport photo, the main thing is that you take care to follow all of the rules and regulations regarding how the photo should be taken.

First of all, your face needs to be in full view, and your eyes need to be open.

You can have a natural smile, but in most cases, a more neutral expression is the best way to go.

The background of your photo should be white or off-white, and the clothes that you wear should be solid-colored. To avoid any potential problems, do not wear a headband, hat, or any other hair accessory. (If your religion indicates that you must cover your hair, a hijab or headscarf is allowed. You’ll just need to submit a statement saying so.)

Be aware that you can’t wear glasses in your passport photo — this is a detail that many people get wrong!

Make sure that you have the photos printed out in 2 x 2-inch dimensions, and of course, make sure that you’ve printed your photos in color.

Let Us Help You to Update Passport Photo

We hope that this post has helped you to understand when you do and do not need to update passport photo.

Whether you need help understanding how to apply for an international drivers permit, or if you need to get an emergency passport, we’re here to help you.

We know that you’re terrified by the thought of losing or having to seriously adjust your travel plans. We’ll work with you to do everything that we can to prevent that from happening.

No matter what you need help with, get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you.

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