Can I Change My Passport Photo – A Quick Guide

Do you keep thinking that whoever’s on your current U.S. passport photo, most certainly isn’t you? If you believe that your passport picture should be updated, then get ready because here we will answer all of your questions. We will delve deeper into the belly of the beast and unravel all the secrets about passport photos and the rules governing the process of changing them. So can I change my passport photo? Buckle up, grab your reading glasses, and let’s tackle the topic head-on.


Can I change just the passport photo?

No, you cannot change only the passport photo. No matter how much you want it gone and replaced, there is no such option available within U.S. law. We, of course, have to change them eventually. Otherwise, we’d be all running around with our neonatal photos. The thing is that you can still apply for a new passport to change your passport photo. And when you do that, your current one will lose its validity instantaneously. 

What if I look completely different now?

In that case, if the photo on your existing most recent passport does not resemble you at all, you will need to send a correct application for renewal. Perhaps you got a new facial piercing, or had had an operation for medical reasons? This will, of course, allow you to change the old picture to a good one. Mind you, this will have to be done before the current passport expires.

Take your passport photos online

Applying for a new passport prematurely

Remember that if you’re applying for renewal even before the 9 (nine) months until expiration, they will also expect you to provide a good reason for doing so. For instance, you simply wish the passport to arrive on time for a specific date, so you don’t want to take any chances. In extreme instances, after all, you may need to wait three months to get your hands on the new passport. You may need a valid passport for visa-related purposes, in which case the passport office will surely understand you being cautious and will respect your wish to prepare a bit ahead of time. Lastly, perhaps your appearance has significantly changed in a way that you believe might cause problems during a check-up by the customs officers while traveling outside the United States.

All those reasons should be honored by the authorities and the request for a passport renewal should get their approval.

U.S. passports are valid for exactly a decade, and upon renewal, you will need to submit a photo that is not older than 6 (six) months. A lot can happen in 10 (ten) years, and your face might come out of it quite different from how it came into it. Think of how dissimilar one might look from the 10 (ten) years younger self, after all. So, in short, that will possibly call for a new passport photo. The general rule is this: take a good look at the old passport photo, then turn to the mirror and ask yourself if they’re the same. I’d say that if there’s any doubt then you should go for it and renew it as well, as recommended by the U.S. government in such cases. As we said before, if you provide a convincing reason for the renewal, they should allow you to proceed with the application. After all, the differences between your passport photo and your real face could cause a misunderstanding while crossing a border.

Under what circumstances can you change your passport photo? 

Our appearances change, of course, and over the period of several years, a lot can happen. Maybe we decide on a tattoo, or some unfortunate turn of events affects our face one way or another. Well, situations like that are highly likely to result in the need for some proper upgrading in the picture department. Down below you will find what calls for a new photo. Here are some of the passport renewal photo requirements.

  • Significant age difference – Some of us don’t change that much, but usually, as our faces mature, we might gain extra features or lose some. Hence why you may have to update the photo.
  • Considerable weight change – As you gain or lose weight, your face changes as well and it might be necessary to get a new picture.
  • For a medical reason, like a face surgery or major facial injury – If something happened that altered your face in a major way, you will need to change the photo. It needs to be up-to-date.
  • Gender transition – If you decided to transition into a different gender, you will need to apply for a new passport with a new, valid photo.
  • Major facial tattoo and/or facial piercings removal – If you got rid of a significant amount of your features, then you will need a new photo.

Remember that if any of the aforementioned situations happen, you should get a new U.S. passport with an authentic, up-to-date picture. It is highly recommended, especially if you wish to travel. When you’re flying on a vacation and a security officer stops you for a check-up, they must have no doubt that the passport is yours.

Please remember about the requirements, such as a plain white background, looking straight into the camera directly, and a handful of others. These rules are important and sticking to them is the only way to get a new passport photo accepted and ultimately changed. If the photo meets the standards, we’re in.

How to change my passport photo?

First of all, of course, we need a new one. We have to possess a passport photo that is valid, meaning it is compliant with all the requirements and up-to-date. Once that business is sorted, we can move to the substance of the matter. To press on with our application, we are asked to fill out the form DS-82, one of the most often used passport forms. Only after it is completed, can we move forward.

Sending the applications

Please be aware that American passport offices or agencies do not allow the application process to be completed through the internet. This is a crucial step in changing the passport photo. The applicants are expected to send the passport they’re attempting to renew, along with the brand new photo and a signed and completed form DS-82 by mail. If we wish to be thorough, it might also be a good idea to attach a confirmation of sufficient payments, which amount to $110. Once we pay a visit to one of the local post offices and send the documentation on its way, we’ve done our part. Now the ball’s in the passport office’s court, and we can wait. If everything goes according to plan, a new passport with a changed photo should arrive in the next two or three months. Processing times vary, but this is a good, rough estimate of how early you can expect your new passport.

You might also be interested in:

Passport Photo Requirements

Can You Take Passport Photos at Home

Can you change your passport photo? – wrap up

We all want to look good in photos, no matter if they’re quick selfies at a friend’s party or a passport book. The good news is that if such a photograph finds its way to our passport, there is a way to get rid of it and replace it with something better. All it requires to change your passport photo is form DS-82, our old passport, a new, updated picture and a donation to the passport agency sent from a post office. Also, don’t forget that you might be asked for a reason for the renewal if the timing is odd. Once that is taken care of, we can rest easy and await the arrival of a new, prettier passport and our passport photo change.


Can I change my passport photo if I’m not happy with it?

The answer is no, there is no option to change just the old passport photo. All that’s left is to apply for a renewal by using form DS-82 and sending it to the passport agency along with the current passport from a post office. Only then can you update to a new photo.

How to change my passport photo?

First of all, you need a new, valid photo. Once you have one, next, you have to fill out an application form DS-82, which you can download from a government website. A completed form, along with the old passport and the new passport photo attached, should be sent by mail to an agency dedicated to passport-related matters. This is the only way to change your passport photo.

Can you change your passport photo online?

No, the application involved in changing the photo cannot be completed online. You must either send the right documents by mail or do it yourself at the passport office. Facial hair will likely pose no problem for customs officers to confirm your identity.

Can I change a passport photo if I grow a beard?

No, you cannot change an old passport photo if you grew a beard. Such an alteration to your appearance is not considered significant by the passport acceptance facility.

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