Renewing passports and ID documents can be a hassle. There are all the forms to fill in, photos to provide and then you have to queue… sometimes for hours. Queuing services will take the pain out of the queuing for you and if you choose right they will also advise on filling out the forms correctly and any additional documents that must be provided. A good queuing service will also check your passport photos for you, as they know that officials are getting stricter about the photos complying with guidelines.
Even when you are using queuing services to do the work for you, you don’t want to waste time having your passport photos re-taken, so here are some tips on getting them right first time.
1. The photos must be recent; less than one month old according to guidelines.
2. They should measure 45mm by 35mm.
3. Your face should fill three quarters of the photo, measuring 22-25mm from chin to the top of your head.
4. Eyes must be open and be looking directly at the camera.
5. You must be facing square to the camera, not looking over a shoulder or tilting your head.
6. The background must be plain: light grey, beige or white, without any furniture, objects or other people showing.
7. The photos should be bright with good contrast.
8. They should be printed on good quality photo paper.
9. Colours should be natural.
10. Lighting should be uniform with no glare or red-eye and no dark shadows.
These guidelines are relevant for South African passport and ID documents. If you are applying for a British passport there are additional very strict regulations, including the directive that you mustn’t be smiling in the photo.
The best idea is to use a passport photography service that is experienced in providing quality passport photos. They should know the regulations for each different passport or visa application and should provide you with good quality photos that will be accepted without any problems. You never know they might even manage to make you look good too!
Once you’ve got a good set of passport photos, you can turn your passport application over to a good queuing service and can save all the time and hassle of waiting in long queues both to submit your application and collect the finished passport. Just don’t let the thought of all that time saved put a smile on your face just when the photographer clicks the shutter – after all no smiling is allowed in passport photos!