We’ve all been there, trying to find the exact amount of change to pour into a cramped photo booth, then attempting to get the seat at the right height and achieve a half decent photo for our passport.
Not only can this be costly – most machines will only accept certain coins and don’t give out refunds – the photographs can often be rejected when sent to the Passport Office.
But now the Passport Office allows people to upload digital photos for adult passport applications and the process is relatively straightforward – and it could spell the death of those dastardly booths.
Simple: It’s free to upload a digital photo for your passport with your camera, tablet or smartphone – although it needs be taken by somebody
This service is available for adults renewing their passport, who do not have dual nationality, but it doesn’t work if you need a photo to be countersigned.
In order to use a digital photo all you need to do is get a friend to take a photo, which can be done on a phone, tablet or digital camera.
You can then upload this to the Passport Office website and you’ll be told straight away if it is eligible or not, before you start your passport application.
The quality of the photo must also adhere to certain conditions.
It needs to be in focus and without any red eye, in colour with no effects or filters, be at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall and be at least 50kb and no more than 10mb in file size.
It needs to meet the same standard as a printed photo and must fit in your head, shoulders and upper body into the photo.
It doesn’t need to be cropped and needs to be taken against a plain, light-coloured background, contact no other objects of people, not have any shadows on your face or behind you and have been taken in the past month.
Full details on the photo can be found on the Gov.co.uk website.
Using the online service with a digital photo is around £25 cheaper than sending by post
Being able to use digital photos cuts down the cost of your passport application as it won’t cost you anything extra to upload a photo.
The cost of applying for a passport increased in March, with those using the Post Office for their application being the hardest hit.
It increased from £72.50 to £85 for postal applications, while using the Post Office check and send service increased to £94.75, from £82.25, thanks to the extra cost of a passport.
Online passport applications saw the smallest price increase and the price only went up by £3 to £75.50.
The recent price changes were criticised by some who believe they are penalising those who don’t use the internet.
The cost of an online application is £25 cheaper than the Post Office check and send service
Now, the move towards using digital photos, which are instantly approved or verified, puts a bigger price gap between those using online and those using paper applications.
One of the main advantages of using the check and send service with the Post Office is the guarantee that there will be no mistakes made and your photos will not be rejected.
But now you can upload your photos online for free, and receive instant confirmation, there isn’t as much need for the Post Office service – especially as it is often a dodgy photograph that results in a rejection.
It also means those using it are paying around £100, including photo costs, compared to £75.50 online – a £25 premium for those not using the online service and digital photo.