International Travel

Mon, 28 May, 2018Fiona Tomarchio

Bad news if you wear glasses: The new passport rule

Bad news if you wear glasses: The new passport rule

A new passport rule has been passed, which bans prescription glasses being worn in Australian passport photos.

People will have to ditch their specs in new passport photos taken from July 1, thanks to the new Australian Government rule.

The new rule has come into place to “further strengthen the integrity of the Australian passport,” the Australian Passport Office said.

“Research has shown that glasses adversely affect passport facial matching,” the department added. “Matching is more accurate without glasses.”

“A limited exemption for medical reasons may apply where supported by a medical certificate,” the department further explained, stating that severe sensitivity to light and recent eye surgery could possibly be among the rare exemptions to the new rule. However, vision impairment will not be a qualified excuse for medical exemption.

The good news is the new rule doesn’t affect your current passport – it only applies to new Australian passport applications submitted from July 1.

The US banned eye glasses from passport photos in 2016, after the US Department of State found it was the main reason why photos were rejected or not compliant.

“[In 2015] more than 200,000 passport customers submitted poor quality photos which we couldn’t accept,” the US Department of State confirmed.

“The number one problem was glasses. We had to put their passport application on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify them from their photo.”

Do you wear prescription glasses? What do you think of this new Australian passport rule? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.