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Renewal of Passport : A History 


For most Americans, standing in front of a white background and having the photo clerk at the nearest drugstore take your picture is one of the first steps in the process of submitting a renewal of passport application. However, this was not always the case. According to the Oxford University Press blog, passports were not required to include a photograph of the bearer until 1914. Previously, the Department of State relied on detailed written physical descriptions to ensure that passports were not misused.

You’re not alone if you think the photo on your passport looks like a mug shot. This is not a new issue; people have been complaining about how much they dislike their passport photos since they became mandatory. According to the Oxford University Press blog, the majority of passport applicants associate representational truth with the specific articulation of realism in photographic portraits. This association sparked complaints that a standardized passport photograph was unflattering and did not accurately represent the bearer. People have felt “a pang of horrid surprise, almost disbelief, upon first looking at the photograph which [was] to identify them in a foreign country” since the invention of passport photographs. 

If you apply with standard processing, it will already take at least 6 weeks to receive your passport. Even if you apply with expedited processing, it may take up to three weeks. However, if your passport photo isn’t up to par, you may face an even longer processing time. See Passport Photos: How to Get Them Right the First Time to avoid having your application delayed.

If 3 weeks is too long to wait for your passport, we can help with passport renewal. We’ll walk you through the application process and send it directly to the Department of State for expedited processing.

Submit your renewal passport application as soon as possible!


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