Most people can’t wear glasses in their passport photo. However, glasses may be allowed in some cases if they’re medically necessary.
So, why is this a thing? Will you be able to wear your glasses for your passport photo? Sit tight—we hope this handy guide will answer any lingering questions you might have before embarking on your international travels.
Why Can’t Most People Wear Glasses in a Passport Photo?
Since 2016, the U.S. Department of State has prohibited eyeglasses from being worn in passport photos. The reason for the No Eyeglass Policy comes down to two main ideas: convenience and security.
Before 2016, passport applications were regularly denied or delayed because of issues caused by eyeglasses. A glare on the lenses, for example, would make it nearly impossible to verify the person’s eye color. Or, the glasses might alter someone’s appearance enough that confirming their identity would be more difficult.
Prohibiting eyeglasses from being worn in passport photos provides a simple solution to speed up the approval process and get passports to applicants sooner.
Exceptions: When Can You Wear Glasses for a Passport Photo?
The government allows glasses in passport photos in some rare cases. If your glasses need to stay on for your photo for medical reasons, you must bring a medical statement signed by your doctor.
For example, if you’ve recently had eye surgery, your doctor might require you to wear your glasses for your protection when you travel. Even if your vision is severely impaired, you’ll need signed medical documentation to prove your glasses can’t be removed for the photo. If you don’t have a statement signed by a medical professional, you must remove your eyeglasses.
If you are allowed to keep your glasses on for your passport photo, you’ll still need to meet the following requirements:
- The frames of your glasses can’t cover your eyes.
- Glare on the lenses can’t obscure your eyes.
- Shadows from the glasses can’t obscure your eyes.
- Refraction (bending of light) from the lenses can’t obscure your eyes.
Can You Wear Sunglasses in Your Passport Photo?
No—sunglasses are not permitted in passport photos because they obscure your eyes from view. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a new pair or two for your international excursions!
Can Children Wear Glasses in Their Passport Photos?
No—just like adults, children won’t be able to wear glasses in their passport photos unless there is a medical necessity. Parents will need to bring a signed medical statement if their child is medically required to keep the glasses on.