Online Passport Applications (UK)

Has anyone managed to use the online application tool and submit an acceptable photo? I know there were problems originally but thought they had been solved. I’ve spent ages trying different settings, flash, no flash etc and every shot has been rejected (often for “colour” variations for shots taken in natural daylight). In fact I was so fed up I tried the booth at the local supermarket when shopping and the machine rejected my photo 6 times despite everything being set up properly as far as I could manage.

OK, not planning on using it yet (!) but I’d like to renew it…is a paper application the only way?

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Yes, I did mine and my daughter’s online

I found the best solution was to hang a white sheet over a door and stand a couple of feet forward of the door in good indirect sunlight to acoid shadows. It took a few goes but we were successful and the passports were issued OK.

I thought about it last year, but in the end did it at the post office in Colchester…they even take the photo of you…it then automatically gets approved and a few days later my passport turned up. Worth the money imo.


Thanks both - I tried the sheet approach (when I managed to remove the wrinkles!) but I may try again. It was the indirect sunlight shots though that were rejected for colour.

I didn’t realise the Post Office could do the photos as well - I may well give that a try if my next attempt fails (after lockdown of course)

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I carried out an online passport replacement for a friend about 18 months go and was surprised how easy it was.

You can download an App on IOS that assist with the photo as required biggest problem was finding a suitable background for the picture.

The online process crops the photo to suit and you receive notification that all is correct, the replacement passport arrived in about seven days excellent service.

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I gave up trying to take my own photo and went to a photo shop in town; it was able to uplink direct to my application. All relatively painless.

I tried using a Photo-me booth a couple of years ago, but every time it tried to take my photo it said that it would be rejected. I tried all sorts of positions to try to persuade it that I’m a real person, but to no avail.
I went to the post office to get my driving licence photocard renewed more recently, and they had much the same problem, the photo system rejecting all the photos they took. Eventually the woman operating it selected one and overrode the system - and I duly got my photocard.
I suspect that it might be my beard, which is very grey/white, and fairly fulsome, which meant that the area below my mouth more-or-less merged with the background.

I did mine in a Post Office about a year ago. It was almost ridiculously quick and easy. Obviously with Covid there’s not much point in making an avoidable journey to get a passport you can’t (or shouldn’t) use, but that’s another matter.

Funny you should ask…I just tried to submit a renewal request on Sunday and it just wouldn’t take the photo, I gave up.

Will try the white sheet approach :grinning:

My wife had her pictures taken at Max Spielman in Tesco. They offer a suitability guarantee or to replace with new pictures

I had no new photo and hadn’t changed at all physically so I submitted the same photo. Sure enough rejected on the basis that I wasn’t looking at the camera (I clearly was) and my eyes weren’t visible through my glasses. They suggested I submit a new photo despite this one being the one already on my passport. I refused and explained that my Nystagmus meant there was no guarantee any subsequent photo would see me looking at the camera and my Albinism meant that the flash from the first booth photo would blind me temporarily and thus make it likely that all photos after the first would feature me blinking with tears down my face. They didn’t budge so I lodged a formal complaint.

The subsequent was most interesting. All photos are initially sifted by an algorithm with no human input at all. There is an assumption that even if the alogirthm misses the obvious, like the fact it’s your existing passport photo, you will simply submit a second photo. Only if you complain will the photo be reviewed by a human. Mine was reviewed by a human and accepted without further discussion.

I renewed my passport last year just before the first lockdown but getting the photo accepted was a nightmare. There was no way to avoid glare on my glasses at home so went to a Photo-me booth in the post office and it took millimetre precision to position my head at just the right angle to avoid the vertical lights in the booth reflecting off of my lenses. Very poor design imo.

I thought the recommendation was that if you wore glasses you had to remove them?

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You’re not obliged to do that at all.

You may be right but I have worn glasses all of my life and always worn them for passport photo’s in the past

Mmmm. I’m sure that in times past, you were required to remove glasses but the current requirements are…
‘Do not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses. You can wear other glasses if you need to, but your eyes must be visible without any glare or reflection.’
I wear glasses myself and my last passport photo has them removed.

There is another reason to have the photo taken without glasses and that is the epassport gates at airports rely on comparing the person in front of them with the electronic version of the passport photo. If you are having to try to negotiate reflections in your glasses at the passport gates, you are likely going to end up in a lot of ordinary passport queues (assuming we ever get to a place where one actually uses a passport!).



I renewed mine last July and had the photo taken in Snappy Snaps. They provided a code which you enter as part of the application process and your photo magically appears on your screen.
Application to receipt of the new passport was about 10 days (when the papers had been talking about weeks of delays at the time). No problems with the photo (and I didn’t wear my glasses).
Also, once I recieved the new passport, I was able to go onto the DVLA website to renew my Driving Licence (which had also expired). By putting in my new passport number, they were able to retrieve the passport photo and apply to my renewed Driving Licence.

Renewed mine a few months ago. I couldn’t get the light right so went to a photo shop and paid 6 Euros. They cropped the image and it was rejected so I had to get it done again - the shop didn’t charge again, even though it was my fault for not specifying it had to be head and shoulders. No problems uploading the full head and shoulders shot.

Both me and my better half renewed recently. We just used our phones to take pictures of each other and submitted the ones the online software said were acceptable.
Only issue is that we now blue/black ones :cold_sweat: