HMPO Rejected Infant Passport Photo: What Next?

a snapshot with toddler wearing a fedora would surely be rejected as not fitting for the baby's passport photo

Taking a headshot for your kiddo’s travel credentials is, to say the least, tricky. But the struggle may not end once you finally take your baby passport photos and submit them. You see, His Majesty’s Passport Office may deem your little one’s headshot non-compliant and reject it.

This isn’t uncommon: the rules for kids are a bit less strict but far more difficult to follow. When trying to have your DD or DS lying still, it’s easy to overlook details.

Whether you’ve already been rejected or want to photograph your kid for the first time, read this post. We’ll break down the UK baby passport photo requirements (and common reasons for rejection) and give you an instruction to make the whole thing a child’s play!


Requirements for Infant Passport Photos

HMPO doesn’t provide an extensive list of rules for babies specifically, so most of the guidelines applied to adult passport photos are relevant for little ones as well.

rejected infant passport photo

Still, there are some baby-specific requirements too. Let’s look at both sets of rules and filter out what’s relevant.

General Requirements Relevant to Little Ones

  • The person in the picture must be facing forward. Make sure your kiddo doesn’t look some other way—it’s one of the most common mistakes

  • Their head must measure from 29 to 35mm from the chin to the top. A reference for proportions: the entire photo must be 45mm high and 35mm wide

  • The eyes must be open and visible. Also, no sunglasses or tinted glasses. If your little one already has some hair, make sure it doesn’t cover the baby’s face

  • The head should be shown in full—headwear isn’t allowed (the only exception is that worn for religious or medical reasons)

  • There must be no other objects or people in the frame

In spite of being general, this requirement is most relevant for baby passport photos. Parents often try to hold the child in their arms or calm the kiddo down by giving him or her toys, dummy, etc.—both are forbidden, as the shot must contain the applicant only

  • There shouldn’t be any shadows in the picture

  • Nothing must cover the applicant’s face, be it their long hair or some other obstructions

  • The person in the photo must not have the red-eye effect. If they do, re-taking it is the only option, as retouching is strictly forbidden

Infant-Specific Requirements

  • If your little one is five years old or younger, he or she doesn’t have to keep a neutral facial expression or look straight at the camera

  • Also, a child aged five or under does not have to keep their mouth closed (still, make sure that the little one isn’t crying or laughing in the photo)

  • As for children that are less than one year old, they don’t even need to have their eyes open

  • There mustn’t be any objects in the frame but you’re allowed to support the baby’s head with your hand as long as it can’t be seen

As you see, these guidelines are not too complicated. Still, a trip to a nearby photo place can turn out to be a full-scale challenge.

If you want to take baby passport photos at a photographer’s, you might want to reconsider. Not every professional photographer is nice and patient when asked to take a picture of a kid, so the experience may prove unpleasant for both of you.

rejected infant passport photo

And in case you were thinking of a photo booth: it’s almost impossible to have your baby sit still in them. So, going for a photo booth is hardly an option.

The most comfortable option for both you and the baby is to take an acceptable passport photo at your own home. This will save you a lot of time and some nerves (and money, to be fair).

How to Take Your Baby’s Passport Photo at Home

Step #1: Get your timing right

Pick the moment when your infant is well-fed and well-rested. If the kid’s spirits are high, you’ll have a good chance to get a photo without too much fuss and crying.

Step #2: Pick a room that’s comfortable for your little one

The environment must be familiar to the infant: otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting him or her to lie still and calm down.

Step #3: Make sure the room is well-lit

Your best bet is to use natural light that will illuminate the baby’s facial features evenly.

To achieve this, you can pick a spot in front of a window (but make sure its frame doesn’t cast any shadows). In case the natural light is poor and insufficient, you can use artificial lights (it’s accepted as long as they evenly illuminate the baby’s face).

Don’t use a camera flash, it’ll only upset the baby!

Step #4: Set up the background

Lay out an off-white sheet (or another large piece of cloth) on an even flat surface to use as the backdrop. Mind you, off-white (aka photo booth-like light grey) is the only accepted colour for a baby’s passport photo! Obviously, any patterned sheet will get you rejected either.

Also, make sure that the cloth doesn’t have any creases or marks on it—the background must be even.

Step #5: Put your little one on the cloth

You might also need to take a small pillow (or roll a towel) and put it under the baby’s head for support. Important note: put the improvised pillow under the sheet. The headshot must contain no foreign objects or other obstructions, remember?

Step #6: Take a shot

Now, we wouldn’t recommend taking pictures one at a time. Instead, take as many photo shots as you can and try to catch a tranquil expression.

On many phones, iPhone included, you can do it by holding down the shutter button. If your phone doesn’t have this feature but has a high-quality camera, film a video of your kid, then pause it at the right moment and use this freeze-frame as your photo!

An Even Better Way to Take Child’s Passport Photo

The how-to given above will definitely make your life easier. However, our service can make it easier still! With us, you won’t have to obsess over the requirements, bother with arranging a background or hand-cropping your picture to the required size.

infant with a happy and tranquil expression

Instead, PhotoBooth Online will make proper baby passport photos, and you won’t even need to pay. Just upload your image and we’ll make it into a high-quality cropped headshot without background and help check it against the UK requirements. That’s two less things to worry about!