Travellers who wear glasses will soon no longer be able to don their spectacles in passport photos under new regulations.
At a time when airport and aviation security is under unprecedented scrutiny, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the move “will further strengthen the integrity of the Australian passport”.
“Research has shown that glasses adversely affect passport facial matching. Matching is more accurate without glasses,” it said.
Effective from 1 July 2018, the new rules only apply to new passport applications.
People who wear glasses that can’t be removed for medical reasons (such as severe light sensitivity or recent eye surgery) will be exempted from the rule, but “vision impairment alone is not sufficient for medical exemption”.
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Permitted eyewear must not obscure the eyes or reflect in light and requires a medical certificate that is signed by a registered medical practitioner.
The US has not allowed glasses in passport photos since 2016, after they flagged eyewear as the number one reason images were rejected.