Given that passport photos are featured with much stricter criteria than life photos, it is common to have the passport photo rejected by the authority. Thousands of people have ever experienced the same situations when applying for UK passport photo. The applicants are allowed to submit the new photo and restart the reviewing process again. Finally, they get their passports. So don’t worry too much about it. When it happens, the most important thing is to make sure the new picture is compliant.

In this passage, we’ll introduce what happens if passport photo is rejected in the UK and how to solve it. If you have ever trapped in the same dilemma, please move on.

Passport Photo Rejected Offline

If the photo attached to British passport photo application is rejected, the passport office would inform the applicant as soon as possible. According to the contact information you left on the application form, you would receive e-mail, letter or phone call. Keep sensitive to your mailbox or phone call in case of missing the notification.

UK passport photo being rejected doesn’t mean you have to go through the whole application process again from the very beginning. The HMPO will hold the application for a given period and leave a window for photo replacement.

There would be a deadline in the HMPO’s notification. Pay attention not to deal with the rejection beyond the time limit. If the new photo is re-submitted before deadline, everything would proceed as if nothing happens. If the deadline is missed, the whole application would be denied and applicants have to re-start and pay for the second time.

Passport Photo Rejected Online

Online applicants might also be curious about what happens if passport photo is rejected in the UK. The procedure is almost the same as offline one. The biggest difference is that you have to prepare 1 British passport photo for online request and 2 by post. Online applicants could check the status of review occasionally by logging in the official website so they can get the most updated information.

After being rejected online, citizens need to renew the photo online too. The UK passport office would also spare you some time to retake your photos. Don’t miss the deadline in case that your application is canceled.

New Photo Replacement

Continuous rejections are definitely depressing. As you have been rejected before, it is suggested to review your previous photo and try to avoid the same problem. Don’t take a new shot at random hoping to be accepted by good luck.

Have no idea about the error? Move on reading to learn some common mistakes and examples of rejected passport photo.

Examples of Rejected Passport Photos & Common Mistakes

Unqualified background

The British passport photo ought to be light grey or creamy and smooth. Don’t stand in front of a textured or mottled wall. Check whether there are blemishes or unmatched color in the background if the photo is rejected.

Improper size/ratio

The UK passport photo ought to be 35mm (width) x 45mm (height) with about 25mm from chin to top of head and 6.75mm at the upper blank area. Is the photo cropped to proper size?

The photo on the right is one of the typical examples of rejected passport photos because the ratio of the head height is wrong and there is no spare space at the top of head. Worse still, the shoulder is invisible.

Inappropriate shooting angle

The applicant must face directly to the camera, no upward or downward view. That is to say, the camera should be set at the horizontal level of eyes. Don’t tilt your heads or shrug shoulders.

Covered face

The whole face must be clearly visible in the final shot. No matter men or women, they usually tend to leave the hair covering the forehead and ear in daily life. Don’t do that in British passport photos. If you have long hair, put it behind ears or tie it up. It is also prohibited to wear sunglasses, hats, caps, scarves, etc because it would hide part of the face.

Uneven lighting

Uneven lighting would generate shadows, like the photo on the left below, which is unacceptable. Also, overexposure or underexposure might cause similar problems.

Exaggerated facial expressions

Try to maintain neutral facial expressions. Keep you mouth closed and eyes open even if you are smiling. Don’t make faces or laugh out loudly.

Make an Acceptable Passport Photo with AiPassportPhotos

We understand your urgent need of making qualified UK passport photos more than anyone else. Fortunately, we’ve dug out the solution to make things easier. AiPassportPhotos, a professional passport photo editor, guarantees to provide users with absolutely compliant biometric images.

Let’s see how it works.

Upload a photo

Instead of submitting the photo to the passport office and waiting for it to tell whether it is acceptable, let the AI tool check first. It finishes the scanning within seconds. If yes, move on to further processing and replace the rejected one; if not, retake another one, which rescue you out of the “submission – rejection – resubmission – rejection” loop.

Crop to proper size

The online tool would automatically adjust your photo to required size and the background to required color as you have chosen the service for specific countries before. No more worry about being rejected because of wrong size and improper backgrund.

Save the template or print out

If you go through the passport application online, just save the digital template made by AiPassportPhotos and attach it to the resubmission access. If you apply by post, take two passport photos and then print it at local pharmacy or retail stores. It turns out to be a private online photo booth whenever and wherever you need.


Being rejected by the authority because of the disqualified photo is no big deal. Applicants do have the chance to replace a new one to accelerate the procedure. We hope that this passage would comfort you if you are suffering the depression of uncompliant British passport photo. Don’t hesitate to make use of the technology and get rid of all the hassles of guessing what’s wrong with your photo. Once the application moves on smoothly, you would be able to enjoy your exciting international trip. 

By Dolores Xiao

I am a content creator and marketer with over 5 years of professional writing experience. I hold a bachelor's degree in communications and have a natural curiosity about technology, as evidenced by my technology blog. As an avid traveler, I draw upon adventures in over 10 countries to inject unique cultural perspectives into my articles and social media campaigns. I thrive on developing engaging content that informs and inspires audiences.