Back in the old days, people were allowed to grin, wear glasses, partially hide their face with their let down hairstyles and basically do whatever they like on their passport photos. I mean, you can probably tell if its a specific person in a photo regardless if he’s smiling or not, right?
Right. But after the September 11th attacks, more and more countries started adopting strict security measures regarding the ID card and passport photos. Rules such as having your hair away from the face and of course, not allowing people to grin. Okay, for the hair i get it. But why the “smile” thing? Why can’t you smile in your passport photo?
Well, wonder no more because we’ve decided to look into it, and here’s the answer – you knowledge thirsty, useless info junkie. (the article continues after the ad)
Apparently, it all has to do with the new biometric technology used nowadays in passports and airports. You see, based on the photo you supplied, your passport contains a chip with biometric information about you. This includes the distance between the eyes, your mouth’s width, the distance of the nose to your chin etc. All of these characteristics are gathered, analyzed and made into a personalized identification map.
In order for this to work though, all measurements must be clear and therefore, anything that disguises them, is forbidden. This includes wearing glasses, smiling or having hair covering part of the face as all of these will eventually reduce the effectiveness of the algorithms used.
When you go through an airport’s e-gate, you must look into the camera which scans your visage and conducts a biometric information map. If that map is the same (or close one) with the biometric map on your passport, you are good to go. If not, well, you’ll need pass by a real, live airport official.
And now you know why you can’t smile in passport photos. Be sure to spread this lovely piece of useless information the next time you go through those fancy e-gates.
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If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: What Does The “X” in Xmas Stand For?
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Sources: THIS is why you aren’t allowed to smile in your passport photo | Why can’t you smile in your passport photo? It’s no laughing matter | Why are we told not to smile for passport photos?