Passport application guides clearly illustrate requirements of the biometric photos in size, background, facial expressions, etc. However, some details remain uncertain. For example, glasses and contact lenses are common daily accessories. Near-sighted persons use it to see clearly while some for decoration. Can you wear glasses in a passport photo? This is one of the biggest concerns of taking passport photos and we are going to address it.

Rules on Glasses for Passport Photos

It is reported that the US government started to ban glasses in passport photo since Nov.1, 2016. Citizens with glasses on current passport photos within validity are not mandatory to replace them. Just make sure to submit a new one without glasses at renewal.

America is not the first country to make the rule. Prohibition on glasses is commonly seen in most countries around the world because they add to the difficulty in recognizing facial expressions for the officers. On condition that you cannot give up your glasses, please ask your doctor to provide written proof that you have to wear them for healthcare reasons.

Although there is no clear specification about glasses ban in some countries (such as Maylasia, Canada, and Singapore), we still recommend you take it off or change to contact lenses so as to reduce the chance of being rejected. Go on reading and you will find out why.

Are Contact Lenses Acceptable?

If you get used to wearing glasses for better vision, it would be hard for your eyes to get focused when taking it off and you would feel unease. Finally, the photo comes out to look dull in the eyes. Contact lenses are an ideal alternative to glasses for near-sighted people. It does not hide or change your biometric features. And you could focus on the camera precisely and naturally. However, as the pupils‘ color must be consistent with the original one, please note that colored contact lenses are not allowed.

Are Sunglasses Acceptable?

Absolutely not! Like color contact lenses, sunglasses are not acceptable in any case. They look cool, but they are not a necessity. They perfectly cover your eyes and even most parts of the face which are essential parts of face recognition.

Can Minors Wear Glasses in Passport Photos?

Minors under 16 (some require 18) should apply for kids’ passports and they share the same rules as adults in terms of glasses unless for medical treatment. Guardians must show a signed statement from a registered doctor.

Exceptional Case: Who Can Wear Glasses in a Passport Photo?

There are exceptional circumstances in which you can wear glasses in a passport photo. That is for medical reasons, but a medical statement signed by registered doctors is required.

For instance, those who have to use glasses to protect eyes after eye surgery or eye injury as the doctor suggests. Remember to prepare an official medical document to prove that you have to wear glasses.

Even if you are allowed not to remove the glasses, you have to pay attention to the following aspects.

  • Don’t wear extra thick lenses.

Lenses that are too thick are easy to obscure your eyes and create white glare. Whether you choose to take passport photos in photo booths, studios or at home, you have to take it into consideration. If there is still excessive glare, please remove it even if you wear prescription glasses.

a woman wearing a pair of glasses
  • Don’t wear frames with the same color as the background.

Frame color blending into the background makes it look weird. In this case, the hinge and temple parts might be invisible.

  • Don’t let the frame project any shadow on the face.

If you take photos with glasses, pay attention to the lighting. Pose the light right in front of the subject. Upper or lower angles of lighting would leave shadows around eyes.

  • Keep the lenses clean

Wipe the stains clean before taking photos. Polish the lenses in case of hindering your eyes.

  • Keep the glasses in place.

If your glasses are heavy or your nose gets oily, they would slide down and hide your vision. Please remember to adjust it to proper place.

Why Can’t you Wear Glasses in a Passport Photo?

Although you might be used to having your glasses in daily life or you want to look fashionable, it is banned for the following reasons.

First of all, it changes what you look like. The passport photo must present your real appearance. That’s why heavy makeup is also banned. Photos with and without glasses sometimes seem like that of two completely different people.

Secondly, glasses generate reflective glare. The biometric features on the applicant’s face must be clear in the photo. However, glasses lenses would reflect light which obscures your eyes. A passport photo with unrecognizable eyes would be rejected, so please remove it before shooting.

Last but not least, glasses are likely to leave shadows. We tend to let the light focus on the face while taking photos for passports. In this case, the glasses frame might create a darker area or shadows around the eyes and nose which is not acceptable.

Instant Passport Photos Maker – AiPassportPhotos

AiPassportPhotos is an intelligent online program that offers templates from more than 20 countries. It acts as an AI officer to scan and judge whether a photo is qualified or not, so you can get a 100% compliant photo within seconds. This tool is available on any devices connected to the Internet, such as smartphones, computers or tablets.

The whole process takes only three steps: choose document type, upload photos and wait for processing. Perfect solution for couch potatoes. Just stay at home and get your photo in this private photo booth

If you do need to wear glasses in a passport photo, it might extend the review of your application. In order to make the application goes smoothly, you’d better make sure the photo is exactly acceptable. Fortunately, that’s the main job of AiPassportPhotos. 


If you are still worried about whether you can wear glasses in passport photo, we hope you have found the answer after reading this guide. As you can see, the rules are simple. You can only wear prescription glasses for medical treatment. Even if there is no mandatory demand in your country, it is highly recommended to remove them when you look different or in situations of unexpected glare, stains or appearance changes. If you are near-sighted and want your eyes to look more refreshed, it is recommended to use contact lenses as alternatives.

Whether you choose to wear glasses or not, there is one thing you can do. Use the online tool to make a perfect photo quickly.