NEWS

Passport officials expect to reject many photos

01/11/2012 12:21 EST | Updated 03/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Passport Canada is expecting a surge in business this year, as five-year passports expire and people get them renewed.

It's expected many people will renew this year because 2007 was the first year five-year passports were required for trips to the United States.

And based on past experience at the government agency, that means lots of passport photos will be rejected and have to be redone.

Photos are often rejected at Passport Canada counters, according to David Glos, the agency's director of western operations.

To put this to the test, CBC reporter Dani Mario recently had five passport photos taken at different companies and then asked Glos to have a look.

After giving the five a close examination, Glos slid four into the reject pile.

"This is your perfect passport photo," Glos said of the fifth.

One of the rejects had too much glare on the forehead, two showed hair partially covering one eye, while on the fourth there was an ink smudge on the print.

Other common reasons to reject photos include smiling, teeth showing or evidence of computer editing.

To avoid getting bad news at the passport counter, people should review the guidelines before getting in front of a camera, Glos said.

"There's very good information on our website … and there [are] very specific photo specifications on the application form itself, so I would encourage all Canadians to read those specifications before they go into a studio," he said.

Before they head to the passport office, people should talk to their photographer and bring the specifications along with them to make sure the pictures get a passing grade, Glos said.

If everybody does that, it will mean a big reduction in the rejection rate, he said.

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