How NOT to look like a train wreck in your passport photo

Your passport photo will follow you around the world for 10 years.  Consider carefully what kind of day you are having before you get that picture taken.  It easy for everything to become just one more item to check off on the travel planning to-do list and then you show up for your photo without any makeup, hair barely brushed (like a normal day at my house) and your comfy but ratty sweater that looks like the cat was chewing on the collar.  10 years.  That’s a long time to be showing immigration staff around the world your less than best face.

The U.S. Passport and International Travel office at the Department of State makes the application process super easy.  You can fill out your paperwork online and then print to submit.  You can also find a list of places for taking your official passport photo and tips for the perfect picture (according to the government). I went to our local post office.
It’s imperative you look in the mirror at least once that day.  That’s what I would tell myself now.  Put on some lotion and do something about those dark circles under your eyes.  Maybe some lip gloss and frizz tamer in your hair for good measure.  If you wear glasses you will need to remove them for the photo, so keep that in mind. 
It’s too late for me, but not for you.  Do yourself a favor and treat the passport photo like the glamour shots from the 1980’s.  First impressions at immigration and customs count!


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