Attention Passport Holders: Unacceptable Passport Photos Could Prevent You From Entering The United States

Canadian Citizens need a passport to gain entry to the United States

Passing into 2012 means that it has been five years since five-year passports became mandatory for Canadians to travel into the United States in 2007. In 2007, a surge of people applied for Canadian passports in order to gain entry into the United States from Canada, and this year those passports are expiring and will need to be renewed.

A recent CBC article reminds applicants that there are strict rules about how passport photos must look and how individuals must appear in their passport photos.

It can be a real inconvenience to have your passport photos taken, fill out your application, wait in line and then apply for a passport at Passport Canada only to have your application rejected because your photo doesn’t meet the qualifications – if you are traveling to the United States soon and your passport is expiring, you will not be able to gain entry to the United States without a valid passport.

Keep in mind that your face cannot be obscured in a passport photo (such as with a scarf, hat or winter coat), you cannot be smiling or smirking and small things like hair too close to your eyes or glare on your forehead can cause your photos to be rejected. Your eyes must be open, and your photo must have been taken within the last year (or month for children because they change appearance so fast as they grow). You must have them taken professionally and cannot print them at home, and shadows and reflections can also cause photos to be rejected.

Check Passport Canada’s website here for a full set of examples of acceptable and not acceptable photos.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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