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Asked by Karley Harber
Passport Requirements
Travel & Places

Why won't they let you smile in your passport photo?


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Aniyah Blanda
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.”

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Mr. VideoGame
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.

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February 13, 2020 6:04PM
Someone may steal your ID
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Captain Falcon
February 13, 2020 1:16AM
because u must be ugly
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Sean Wilkinson
February 12, 2020 10:55PM
Really? They let me smile. You must be ugly.
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Rayna Larsen
February 11, 2020 7:59PM
because they hate happieness and joy and also they can tell that yoursmile is extremly ugly so they dot want people to make fun of you for it
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Zebra Gaming
February 12, 2020 12:10AM
They want you to look seriuos.
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John Salinas
February 11, 2020 8:07PM
So the dr.pepper company can't sue you.
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ryan lin
February 11, 2020 3:19PM
Hi, @aniyah blanda - Thanks for the apt explanation. It's really useful!
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February 09, 2020 12:08PM

@Mr. Videogame is correct

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Akindamola Gbadebo
February 09, 2020 12:38AM

they are buttholes