No smiles over passport change
Friday 9th September 2005, 12:00AM BST.
NEW rules on passport snaps are causing confusion at photo booths. The guidelines, which come into force on Monday, ban pictures of travellers smiling, wearing sunglasses or and holding pets.
Following the recent terror attacks in London, new image-scanners have been fitted in airports that will automatically recognise faces.
But that means that holidaymakers will no longer be allowed to grin on their passport photographs.
Getting his snap taken yesterday, Craig Stewart said he was in the dark about the changes.
‘I didn’t know anything about these new rules,’ said the 25-year-old.
‘I have got the photographs taken now and, looking at them, I think I should have no real problems.’
The graduate is embarking on a volunteer trip to South Africa and reckons some of the rules are simply common sense.
‘It is understandable why they would want to bring in new rules, what with the problem with terrorism.
‘But some of them are completely ridiculous ‘ who would pose for a passport picture with their dog anyway?’
As part of the changes, hats are banned and faces must not be covered by a floppy fringe. These new rules came as no surprise for Michael Earp, who was having his picture taken at a booth in Town yesterday.
But the health and safety manager was unhappy he could no longer grin on his picture.
‘I look dreadful anyway and it would be nice if I could smile,’ said the 51-year-old.
‘It makes me look like I am having my mugshot taken.
‘Some of the rules are silly and I realise that they are trying to tackle terrorism.
‘But should people really need to be told not to wink? I would have thought that would have been obvious.’
Current passport-holders will not need to have their picture updated until they replace existing documents.
Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the UK Passport Service, said the new rules were part of a global strategy to tackle immigration cheats.
‘In the face of the growing threat of forgery and identity theft, countries all around the world are tightening the security of their passports to the internationally agreed standards,’ he said.