The Viral TikTok That Reveals Why A Bad Passport Photo Is Actually A Good Thing

In the social media age, where so many people appear flawless online, it's only natural to want to make sure your passport photo looks good. But one woman on TikTok named Alisha Marie (@alishamarie) found out the hard way that if you don't keep up with the glam at the airport, you could run into trouble when trying to board your flight.

Alisha, who was traveling in a baggy sweatshirt, baseball cap, and no makeup, says airport officials almost didn't let her on her flight because she doesn't look like her passport photo. She then held up the passport to the camera for viewers to see the difference, much to the amusement of the person holding the camera, who was cracking up in laughter. In the photo, it's clear that Alisha is wearing a full face of makeup with styled hair and bangs. She admits that she doesn't quite look that way IRL and warned others not to get too styled up for a passport photo, lest they meet the same fate. In the caption she says she's never been so humbled in her life. Here's what else you need to know to ensure your passport photo is accepted and that you have a smooth travel day.

What to know about your passport photo

While some countries ban heavy makeup and smiling in passport photos, the U.S. is not one of them. That said, there are certain rules you should be aware of. Your photo has to be taken within the last six months of application and you can't use any filters like you'd find on social media, says the U.S. Department of State. If you do decide to smile, your eyes have to be clearly open and your mouth should be closed.

If you've changed your appearance, like growing facial hair or changing your hair color, that's still acceptable by the TSA, as it doesn't qualify as a major change. However, if you've lost or gained a significant amount of weight, had facial surgery, removed or added facial tattoos, or completed a gender transition, you'll need to take a new passport photo.

Even without a permanent change, makeup can appear to completely transform your face. So, if you do decide to get glammed up for your passport photo, just remember you may want to get dolled up at the airport, too. On the other hand, if you're the dressed-down type, take a passport photo that reflects that casual style. Hey, at least now you've got a great excuse not to put in a ton of extra effort.