Are Passport Photos Dated?

During passport renewal, we often end up with more passport photos than we actually need. However, a passport applicant cannot use an old photo for their passport, leaving a lot of people to wonder if passport photos are dated. We were curious about this as well so we looked up the answers for you.

Passport photos needed for an application or renewal do not need to be dated. There is no explicit requirement that states that the photos should have a date stamp on the back.

Passport applications are strict, so it's important to know if having dated photos is important. In this post, we'll discuss when you should change your passport photos. We'll also list what you should wear when getting one, so keep reading and enjoy this post!

Passport and American flag, Are Passport Photos Dated?

Are Passport Photos Dated?

Woman cutting and sizing passport photos in a photographic studio on a small portable guillotine in a close up view of her hands.

For anybody who likes to travel, a passport is your most important document. This travel document can open tons of possibilities for exploring the world.

To get a passport, you must apply through the U.S. Department of State. The process is relatively similar if you need to renew your passport, with a few key differences. For passport renewals, you'll be using different forms and you don't need other requirements.

One of the common requirements you will encounter whether it's a new application or a passport renewal are passport photos. These passport photos have specific and strict requirements as listed on the Department of State's website.

According to the photo requirements listed, photos should not be older than 6 months when submitting an application. Because of this, people have often wondered if passport photos are dated. Is it a requirement for photos to have a date stamped or mark on the back?

To quickly answer this question, the answer is no. Passport photos do not need to have a date stamped or written on the back. There is no rule from the Department of State that requires photos to have this information physically marked on the photo.

However, ensure that there will be no rejections or delays, just make sure to submit your most recent passport photo during your application. If the agent who will be checking your forms and requirements ask, you can simply bring the receipt when you had them printed.

Can You Reuse Passport Photos?

Man holding passport photos

According to the rules listed by the U.S. Department of State, passport photos should not be more than 6 months old upon submission of the passport application. It is pretty easy to comply with this rule, but how will they know if you reuse your old passport photos?

Generally, an agent will be assessing your documents and requirements for submission when you apply for a passport. They will be the ones to decide if the photos look like they are over 6 months old.

If you reuse an old passport photo which is exactly the same as the one in your current passport, it will automatically be rejected. This is because the photo was obviously taken years ago and does not comply with the 6-month rule.

However, even if you don't look any different from the time you've last taken a passport photo, the "no older than 6 months" rule still applies. To be on the safe side, it is still better to get a new one than go through the hassle of being rejected and having to resubmit.

There are chances when you can actually reuse your old passport photo. If you have a lost, stolen, or damaged passport within 6 months since the document was issued, you may reuse your passport photos. Otherwise, you will be asked to submit a new one.

When Should You Change Passport Photos?

Money and Passport

There are specific cases wherein you should change your passport photos, even if it is less than 6 months old. This specific rule was made to assure that the photo in your document reflects the current look that you have right now.

There are cases wherein it is important to change your passport photos. These cases include:

  • Severe facial trauma or surgery;
  • Addition or removal of larger face tattoos or piercings;
  • Significant gain or loss or weight;
  • Or you've undergone a gender transition

If any of these cases apply to you, you will be required to submit a new passport photo even if your previous one is not older than 6 months. A signed doctor's statement should also accompany the new passport photos upon submission.

Children are also required to have new passport photos every time they renew their passports. For obvious reasons, a child's old photo will not reflect his current look so make sure to get the kids new pictures every time they renew their travel documents.

What Should You Wear For Passport Photos?

Image of a persons hand holding a passport

Generally, you can wear anything suitable for a passport photo. According to the U.S. Department of State, any applicant can wear clothes that reflect their everyday attire when taking their passport photos.

However, a passport is also a form of identification, so it's always a good idea to wear something that is more professional or semi-casual. There are a lot of great options to choose from without limiting your style.

One of the best choices to wear for passport photos are clothes with collars. Pay attention to clothes that have a higher neckline so that they will show up on the photo. Cropping passport photos is not uncommon and it's best that the neckline still appears on the photo.

Collared clothes also look great on passport photos because they look professional. It will also be easier for you in case you are visiting a country that has strict laws on clothing.

A good idea when taking passport photos, is to choose dark colors. Generally, passport photos requires a white background, so choose a color for your clothes that won't blend in with the background.

Choose dark colors like black, navy, or brown. You can also wear other colors or prints, as long as they are not overly distracting. If you're planning to wear prints, make sure they are not wild and crazy, because this photo will be on your passport for about 10 years.

Are There Clothes or Accesories That Are Not Allowed in Passport Photos?

While most clothes are going to be acceptable for a passport, there are several restrictions that you should follow.

Applicants cannot wear glasses when taking passport photos. If for any reason glasses are necessary for medical purposes, the applicant must also submit a signed doctor's statement.

Uniforms cannot be worn in passport photos. Clothes that resemble any kind of uniform or camouflage is not allowed. Photos with this clothing will automatically be rejected and will be asked to have new ones taken.

Hat or head coverings are also not permitted in passport photos. However, if the hat or head covering is part of your traditional religious attire or for medical purposes, a signed statement to confirm this must also be submitted.

Final Thoughts

Getting a new passport photo can be a hassle, but it's in your best interest to get new ones every time. This will eliminate any issues and your application won't have any problems that may cause delays to your passport. This way, you'll get your passport quickly and you can be off to a new adventure!

Are you looking for more information about passport photos? We have articles that might interest you:

How Long Does It Take To Get A Passport Photo?

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