Warning For When You Get Your Passport Photo Taken

by SharonKurheg

I’m admittedly a little obsessed with passports right now. Probably because I just went through the experience of renewing mine. And after all the worry that I wouldn’t get my new one for months and months, I got my new passport in 17 days (here’s how I did it).

Oh, and if anyone’s still paying attention, I got my old passport back on August 3rd. That was 23 days after I mailed it in with my renewal application, and 6 days after I got my new passport.

Anyway, this story isn’t about my passport as much as someone else’s. Specifically a passport photo.

We’ve gone over a couple of oddball passport and Global Entry stories in the past. Here are some of them:

But this story is a good warning for anyone who’s getting ready to get their passport photos taken.

A TikTokker named Alisa Marie said she was nearly turned away by airport staff because the picture on her passport was, as she put it, “too hot.”

She apparently had gotten all glammed up to get her photo taken – full makeup, bangs, perfect hair, etc. But when she went to go on her plane, she was wearing no makeup, her hair was all under a hat she was wearing, etc. She admittedly did look very different:

“They almost didn’t let me on my flight because they said I don’t look like my passport,” Alisha said, with a nervous giggle. “This is why you should never do hot photos for your passport. Never. Because I don’t look like this,” she said, showing her passport photo.

Here’s her video with her story and warning:


ive never been SO HUMBLED IN MY LIFE 😭🛂🚫 #passportphoto #passport #traveltiktok #grwm

♬ original sound – alishamarie

The weird thing is, with biometrics and facial recognition, wearing full makeup, and even less so, how your hair looks, SHOULDN’T matter, because biometrics don’t at you per se (here’s how facial recognition works), as much as specific points on your face – and makeup, hair etc. shouldn’t affect that. But I guess the gate agents still check passports manually, including photos in them, as a backup measure to ensure you are who you say you are. Or maybe she was in a country that didn’t have biometrics yet? Who knows?

Meanwhile, it’s a good lesson – don’t make yourself look TOO different in your passport photo. At least not so different that you’re not recognizable from what you’d typically look like when you’re in an airport.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

FrequentWanderer August 14, 2023 - 4:38 pm

This blog post needs a shout-out to the late comic Erma Bombeck and her travel humor book “When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home”


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