Can You Cross Border if You Grow a Beard? (This is Crazy!)

There’s a time in life when things start to change. Growing a beard is one of them.

When it comes to traveling, and you need to cross the border, you start wondering. There’s a clean-shaven photo of yourself inside your passport, but you do not feel like you want to shave your beard off.

Does Growing a Beard Affect your Passport?

The beard will affect your passport only if it significantly changes your appearance from your current photo inside your passport. Even then, almost everybody has biometric documents. So, if the passport control failed to identify you, the scanner will succeed.

Try to identify yourself by watching you in a mirror and a photo. If you can’t distinguish between the two, consider shaving it off, or keep it shorter and well-trimmed, to avoid potential conflict with document control people.

Let’s see what the passport photo requirements for a couple of countries are:


US Passport Photo Requirements

If you dyed a hair or grew a beard, that doesn’t mean you need a new passport photo. These are not considering to be a significant change. If you can identify yourself, you shouldn’t worry.

You should apply for a new photo if you gain or lose significant weight, had a significant facial surgery, added or removed large tattoos or piercings, and make a gender transition.

When you apply for a new passport, you should not wear glasses, only if you use them for medical reasons.

Your clothes need to be typically worn, from everyday use. You cannot wear a uniform or clothes that look like a uniform.

You cannot wear a hat or cover your head in any way, only if you wear them for religious reasons. Your hairline must be visible, and it cannot cover your face with a shadow.

Jewelry and tattoos are acceptable for passport photos as long as they are not blocking your face.

All photo requirements for US passport you can look here.

In the link above, you can see that the beard does not affect your appearance at all. As long as you treat your beard well, you shouldn’t have any problem crossing borders.


Canadian Passport Photo Requirements

A professional photographer must take a photo. It must be clear, sharp, and in focus. With mouth closed, without smiling, and opened eyes.

The photo must not be older than six months. It must be on a high-quality photographic paper. It should not be printed at home on a regular printer with an ordinary printing paper.

The altered photos or a photo taken from an existing image are not allowed.

Altered photos are corrected and enhanced, cropped around the subject, edited of the facial features, edited to improve the matter’s appearance, editing the subject clothing, and editing background.

You can wear glasses only if the eyes are visible, and there is no glare on lenses. You can hairstyle your hair up or down.

Similarly to US passports, you can wear hats, or head covers only for religious purposes if the face is visible and doesn’t cast a shadow on your face.

The photo can be black and white or in color, without a red-eye effect. Also, it would help if you did not alter red-eye.

You cannot wear sunglasses.

Full photo requirements with examples for Canadian passport you can see here.


UK Passport Photo Requirements

Similarly to other countries, UK passport photo requirements are straight forward too.

You can either apply online or directly at the office. If you use an online application, you must provide digital photos.

Even if your appearance has not changed, you must get a new photo. And it must not be older than one month.

Your photos must take a professional photographer, clear and in focus. If a color in white photographic paper with no borders.

It would help if you did not alter it in any way with software.

The photo must be a close-up of your head and shoulders, without anything in the background.

The background must be cream or light gray color. The subject must be in clear contrast with the environment.

You should not have a red-eye effect.

Your face must be facing forward, looking straight at the camera. Eyes must be open, and hair must not cover your eyes.

Anything should not cover your face, without shadows on your face or in the background.

Sunglasses are not allowed. If you wear glasses for the vision, you can wear them as long as your eyes stay visible and without glare.

Check here for more about the UK photos requirement for a passport.


Ireland Passport Photo Requirements

If you are applying with a low-quality photo for the Ireland passport, they will reject you, and that will delay your application.

Like the US passport here, you have two options to apply, online or in printed form.

Your facial features must be visible. Hair should not cover your eyes or any part of your face. You can wear your vision glasses, but your eyes must be visible, and there should not be any reflection out of lenses.

You can cover your head only because of medical or religious reasons. Sunglasses are not allowed.

The photo should not contain any shadows, must be in focus.

Your facial expressions should be natural, without a smile and with a closed mouth.

Look straight to the camera, do not tilt your head in any direction.

The background should be white, cream, or light gray. The photo should not contain any objects.

There is a full list of photo requirements for Ireland’s passport.

Still, no mentions that you can’t grow a beard. That means having a beard in most cases will not cause any problems on borders.


Australian Passport Photo Requirements

In English-speaking countries, there are not that many differences in photo requirements for passports. Australian passports requirements are no different too.

Their photo guidelines are straight forward.

Photos should be high quality in color, taken by a professional photographer not older than six months.

Retouching is not allowed. The subject must be visible and in focus, without red-eye.

The background should be in good contrast with your face. It should be pure white or light gray.

Lightning must be well balanced without any shadows in the background or on your face.

Edges of your face must be visible, and you should put away your hair.

It would be best if you posed in a neutral expression.

Again, headcovers and hats are only allowed for religious or medical purposes.

Jewelry is allowed as long as they don’t cover your face.

If you wear glasses for medical reasons, there should not be a reflection from lenses, and the frame should not cover your eyes.

Australian passport photo guidelines.


Hong Kong Passport Photo Requirements

Hong Kong is in China, but it is still an English speaking area.

The photo should show your clear face with all facial features. And background should be in plain white color.

You must avoid using heavy make-up and don’t wear clothes that are too dark or too light in color.

The photo’s subject must be in the center, the glasses frame must not cover the eyes, and hair must be off the face.

There should not be any reflection on your lenses or face, and photos must be without any shadows. And it must not be too light or too dark.

Your photographer will be laser engraved inside your passport on the data page.

Do not staple, fold, or write on the back of your photo.

And that’s about it. Read for more in-depth information about Hong Kong passport photo requirements.



As you can see, growing a beard is not mentioned anywhere. These clearly say that facial hair is pretty standard these days, and you should not worry if you have one. 

It’s a part of your style, and passport control understands this. They will maybe look twice, but that’s not too big of a problem. 

But, if you grew a beard like a Robinson Crusoe, consider shave it off or trim it a bit for you to look like you.