The UK passport photo guidelines (PDF) state:

Photographs printed at home are unlikely to be of a sufficient quality.

This statement looks very much like it's aimed at a general, uninformed reader (e.g. to deter them from sending a photo printed on unsuitable paper). It also implies that home-printed photos could be of sufficient quality, but provides no further detail.

I'm interested to hear if anyone has experience of successfully submitting a home-printed photo with a UK passport application. Can a photo printed with a colour inkjet printer onto inkjet photo paper be accepted?

  • I suspect this is just there to stop people printing out blurry messes on their consumer-level inkjet printers. I didn't take the chance when I got my most recent photos done and just got them printed by Photobox instead - although I did resize them myself to get a 12p print rather than their £2.99 "passport" prints. Not worth taking the chance of having it rejected for the relatively small cost involved. – Philip Kendall Oct 11 '13 at 12:42
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about UK law, not actually anything to do with the photography part. (Maybe the Travel SE would be appropriate?) – mattdm Oct 11 '13 at 13:25

Yes, I have taken photos using a Nikon DSLR, printed them on an HP inkjet printer and successfully submitted them in a UK passport application.

You have to be very careful about background, composition and pose. The rules are very strict.


I don't have any direct experience with the UK, but in the US, the requirements were a particular resolution and certain shadow qualities and contrast qualities. I was able to home print the photos at sufficient quality level and they were accepted without issue (granted, I have some reasonably high end printers, I think I used my Celphy die-sub). I can't say for certain that the UK doesn't have more strict policies than America, but that's the only experience I have to share.

Certainly making sure you have no shadows behind you, have it properly sized (exact dimensions required), have it printed with a high contrast, proper color and high resolution matter greatly, but if you can pull that off, I wouldn't expect a problem since many of the commercial products use the same process, though some are led or laser exposed and developed photo paper, but it doesn't say it has to be that in the documentation you provided.

Additionally, here is an article specific to the UK that talks about self printing. It appears that the real world experience is a mix of success and failure. No word on if the failed attempt was a poorly done home job or not though, but people appear to have had success doing so.

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