Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Passport photos, is it really that difficult?

I'm seriously behind on blog posts, but just had to post about an amusing topic... passport photo requirements in the Netherlands, which is related to my work permit here. Ever wonder why some people have these terrible passport photos, where it looks like jail mug shot? I know why now....

My work permit in NL was finally approved, and one of the requirements is a passport photo. The immigration agency clearly outlined that the passport photo is a highly important part of the process. There are strict guidelines on what the photo should contain, and I should have a professional, authorized photographer to take my photo. US passport photos are not acceptable. Photo booth photos are not acceptable.

What?? Professional authorized photographer? Seriously? I've done my own passport photos before with a SLR and Photoshop, why would i ever use a professional photographer? And authorized photographers? How hard could this be? Sounds crazy.... until I read the Dutch regulations for passport photos. (and are sometimes completely comical)

1. Length from ear to ear must be 16-20 mm, and from chin to tip of head must be 26-30 mm (really? is the inspector going to measure my photo? and what if you're Vincent van Gogh, missing an ear?)

2. Dark eyeglasses are not permitted unless you have a medical exception and a doctor's signature (hm.. I guess the Unabomber's photo is OK if he was legally blind?!! And, I guess I'm in Amsterdam, there's probably a doctor's certificate for almost anything)

3. Head be fully visible, except for those with high hairstyles, who are allowed to have their hair outside the photo frame.

4. My personal favorite and exact quote: "Broad smile and an open mouth is not allowed. That does not mean that there needs to be a surly or sullen look."

HILARIOUS! The IND says I need to have a neutral expression, and even advises me that a neutral expression doesn't mean I shouldn't look sad or surly. Hah!

If you're curious, ask me to post my photo (which I did myself) - I don't think there's any neutral expression photo that doesn't look sad or surly..

1 comment:

Crèmebrûlivin said...

We got ours at a photo/camera store there.... they did it for pretty cheap.