Travelers may have heard that they aren’t supposed to smile — or, at least have a “neutral expression” — for their passport photo, but as one TikToker found out the hard way, they might also want to be careful not to get too glammed up for their passport pic either.
YouTuber and influencer Alisha Marie (@alishamarie) posted a TikTok describing how she had never been “so humbled” in her entire life after she was almost denied entry onto a flight for not looking like her passport photo.
“This is why you should never do hot photos for your passport … Because I don’t look like this!” Marie exclaimed, sharing a picture of her passport that showed her with long hair, bangs and makeup — in sharp contrast to her fresh-faced travel look with a baseball cap and baggy sweatshirt.
TikTok jumped in the comments to share their similar passport stories, with some having had the same thing happen and others who, well, almost wished airport security officials had questioned them.
“Babe this happened to me and omfg the humbling,” laughed @beatrice_wild21.
“My passport photo is so bad and now I’m offended that they know it’s me lol,” said @ashnfern.
Other commenters noted that it’s exactly a scenario like Marie’s that they hoped to avoid at the airport, so they planned ahead.
“I took my passport photo while in a ponytail bc I knew I’d be a dirtbag in a ponytail at the airport,” noted @emmerzb.
“I’m obnoxious and will dress up at the airport so I’m at peace with my hot passport photo,” wrote @lilamontgomeryb.
Some commenters were confused that Marie’s passport photo was even allowed in the first place, given that her bangs are quite long and cover her eyebrows. “Idk how yall getting away with that because where I’m from they are so strict with passport photos like your hair CANNOT cover your face/eyebrows,” said @llinds_.
But the U.S. passport photo requirements are actually not that restrictive and allow a passport holder to submit their own photo (although they say it must not be a selfie) and only stipulate that:
You remove any eyeglass glasses, even if you wear them every day.
You “have a neutral facial expression with both eyes open and mouth closed.”
You don’t wear any hat or head covering, and if one must be worn for religious purposes, you have to submit a signed letter saying so.
Your full face must be in view.
You don’t wear any jewelry that obscures your face.
The photo be clear and accurately represent skin tone.
No social media filters can be used.
According to the official requirements, there are no specific rules about hairstyle or makeup, but Marie’s passport saga has served as a warning against glammed-up passport photos, with her story even being featured on Inside Edition.
And it appears followers are taking her situation to heart and feeling reassured by the lack of glam in their own passport photos.
“At first I regretted not getting a good passport photo,” said @callie_4nia. “But it will look like me when I’m traveling at 7 am.”
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