On October 6, 2016, the United States Department of State issues a statement announcing new requirement for photos that applicants must submit for passport and visa applications. The full text of the statement is shown below:
OCTOBER 6, 2016
Beginning November 1st, 2016, customers applying for their U.S. passport or U.S visa or renewing their U.S. passport must remove glasses for their photo.
Last year, more than 200,000 U.S. passport customers submitted poor quality photos which we couldn’t accept. The #1 problem was glasses. We had to put their passport applications on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify them from their photo. Many U.S. visa applications have been delayed due to the same problem.
If the photo of you in your unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. visa has glasses, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to get a passport or visa now. Next time you renew your passport or apply for a new visa, though, you’ll have to take your glasses off.
This policy change helps us and it helps you. We can see you more clearly now and you will experience fewer U.S. passport and U.S. visa application delays and can move faster through U.S. ports of entry. Don’t get us wrong, we love your glasses, but take them off for your U.S. passport or U.S. visa photo.*
* If you must wear eye glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement with your U.S. passport or U.S. visa application from a medical professional or health practitioner.