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Passport photos prohibit you from smiling due to biometrics

Passport photos are rarely very flattering, due to the strict rules regarding what is acceptable.

Having hair away from the face and no smiling are just some of the regulations need for a passport to be valid.

The latter only came about in 2005, when the UK passport service banned smiling in passport photos.

This is due to the new biometric technology within the passport.

Biometric scanners for passports came in during 2005

Biometric scanners for passports came in during 2005, which allowed an additional facial recognition element to prevent fraudulent use and terrorism.

By smiling, the facial recognition software may not recognise the person’s face.

A Home Office spokesman told the BBC: “When the mouth is open it can make it difficult for facial recognition technology to work effectively.”

User Dan Holliday expanded why this doesn’t work on Quora: “This is because biometric facial scans typically identify 14 – 20 points on your face (edge of nose, eyes, lips, etc.) the position of your face shifts those points and it may cause difficulty in identifying who you are. 

“Because of this, the biometric system works best if you maintain a placid, casual look (neither frowning nor smiling).”

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Passport photos must have a neutral expression for the facial recognition software to work

The rules for passport photos are stated on gov.uk: “In your photo, you must have a neutral expression and your mouth closed.”

Biometric technology is a new way to add additional security measures when it comes checking travellers.

A new technology could soon be introduced to the UK that would cut passport queues to just 15 seconds.

It uses similar facial recognition to the current technology used in passports.

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Passports use biometric scanners so faces must not be smiling

The plan has already been trialled in Australia and the Netherlands.

With 123 people entering the UK, border controls will need to be improved as Brexit could make the number of custom checks soar from 90 million to 390 million a year.

Currently, 95 per cent of British and EU citizens pass through within 25 minutes, but non-EU visitors pass through in 45 minutes, with these times starting to increase the pressure on airports.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has previously stated that “frictionless” borders are key for a successful Brexit.

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