Asked by Karley Harber Passport RequirementsTravel & Places
Why won't they let you smile in your passport photo?
February 03, 2020 4:50PM
There are now biometric scanners in airports that are meant to prevent fraud and terrorism by providing additional identity verification. Smiling is actually considered an unnatural expression, which makes it more difficult for this facial recognition software to work effectively.
According to Angela Aggeler, spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, smiling "distorts other facial features, for example your eyes, so you're supposed to have a neutral expression. … The most neutral face is the most desirable standard for any type of identification.”
February 08, 2020 8:10PM
Typically, it's harder for the TSA agents to look at you to check if it's really you on the passport. As the user below said, it does distort your facial features, like your cheeks and lips.