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‘Too white’ hair prevents Brit woman from getting a new passport – this is what she did next

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In an interview, a woman talked about how hard it was to get her passport because her hair was “too white”.

The problem appears to arise when someone with white skin and white hair has their passport photo taken against a pale-colored background, as is required by the guidelines in the UK.

This can cause passport software to be unable to distinguish between where a person’s hair ends and the background begins, resulting in their passport applications failing.

Ann Wingfield, 85, is a woman with white hair. She, like many other British citizens, filed for a new passport when the worst of the Covid pandemic had passed and overseas travel was once again permitted.

Ann and her husband were avid travelers prior to the outbreak, having driven their caravan through Europe several times and done boat vacations.

On February 23, this year, Ann and her husband went to Morrisons to get new passport photos.

Ann was advised, however, that her passport photo would not be allowed, so she returned the next day to try again.

The photo technician explained that the issue was that her white hair did not contrast well with the pale background necessary for the passport shot.

Not only that, but the issue had previously occurred.

“They said they had had this trouble before,” Ann said. “It was a grey background so there really was a difference between it and my hair colour.”

On February 26, Ann uploaded her photo for a new passport online and was told that it was not acceptable.

Many other Britons have experienced the same issue.

On Twitter, one user said: “Anyone else had this problem, I am unable to pass the rules on photos for renewal of my passport as my hair blends into the background. White hair can’t be that unusual can it.”

Another said: “Warning to anyone with white hair trying to get the passport office to accept a photo. Have tried about 20 times and they keep rejecting it saying they can’t find the outline of my head.”

Fortunately, Ann chose to disregard the online warning regarding her photo and submit it nonetheless.

It worked, and according to HM Passport Office, it is the best thing to do when this problem arises.

This enables a human to examine the application and determine whether a photo is usable.

A representative for the Passport Office said: “Where a photo does not pass our automated check, customers may override the outcome and submit the photo as part of their application.

“The image will then be assessed by a human to determine whether it is suitable.

“We are determined to make the experience of uploading a digital photo as simple as possible and continue to improve this process for all of our customers.”

Ann now has her passport, but added: “if I’d have known it was going to take all this time I would have saved my money, I wouldn’t have bothered.”

Image Credit: Getty

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