Can you wear glasses in your passport photo?

Glasses in Australian Passport Photos: What You Need to Know

Navigating the world of passport photo requirements can be a tad confusing. In the land Down Under, there have been updates concerning wearing glasses in passport photos. So, can you wear your specs when taking that all-important shot? Let’s clarify.


1. The Official Stance

As of 1 July 2018, glasses are not permitted in new passport photos taken in Australia. This decision came into effect to enhance the clarity of these photos, ensuring more accurate facial recognition at borders and immigration checks.

2. The Reasoning Behind the Change

  • Reflections and Glare: Glasses can often cause reflections, especially under the flash of a camera. This glare can obscure the eyes, a crucial feature for identification.
  • Frames Covering Facial Features: Some glasses frames can hide parts of the eyebrows or cast shadows, further complicating the facial recognition process.
  • Consistency: By eliminating glasses from photos, it creates a consistent standard for all passport photos, ensuring smooth processing at international borders.

3. Exceptions?

There are no exceptions to this rule based on convenience or personal preference. However, in very rare cases where glasses cannot be removed for medical reasons, one might be granted an exception. This would require a medical certificate explaining the need for the glasses.

4. Tips for Your Passport Photo

  • Clear Vision: If you’re used to seeing with glasses, ensure the room is well-lit when you take the photo so you’re not squinting.
  • Neutral Expression: Maintain a neutral facial expression. Both your eyes and mouth should be closed in a relaxed manner.
  • Background & Dress Code: Ensure a plain, light-coloured background. Avoid white clothing to ensure clear contrast between your face and the backdrop.


For those in Australia, when it comes to passport photos, it’s best to keep the glasses off. This ensures that your passport is processed without hitches and aids in smoother travel experiences. Remember, the goal is clear, unhindered facial recognition, and keeping the specs away is a step in that direction.


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