Can digital photos be used for passports?

Passport photos from the photographer: digital or printed?

 Corona information
In order to comply with requirements, there is a mask and appointment obligation (also for passport photos). Learn more

Passport photos may only be submitted digitally to the authorities or may no longer be taken by the photographer at all. This myth has been around for some time now and we will explain how it really is.

The federal government's June 2020 bill to amend the Passport Act was widely spread by the media, causing just as much confusion and leaving questions unanswered. Who has not heard it: “Passport photos can only be handed in digitally at the office”? Because we are asked about the topic almost every day and have to provide clarification, we would like to inform you again this way.

For all readers who are already familiar with the background to the draft law, the current status is briefly summarized below. Because the previous procedure and the handling of passport photos at the offices has not changed so far.

  • You still have the freedom to choose where to have your passport photos taken. Either passport photos from the photographer or at the office.
  • There is a transition period for digital passport photos until May 2025. Until then, printed photos can be used in the offices.
  • Many offices in the Ahrweiler district are not yet able to process digital passport photos and have no transmission options.
  • It is a draft law that is still being discussed in the committees and in the Bundestag. This is not yet valid.

Passport photo law: the reason for the draft

The Ministry of the Interior would like to use the law to strengthen the security of passports and ID cards. The ministry wants to eradicate the risk of counterfeit images. The background is the so-called morphing process. With this process it is possible to merge several faces of different people and create a new image from them. This passport photo could theoretically be used by several people.

In order to avoid this, the Ministry of the Interior stipulates that only passport photos are used for new ID cards that are created by the responsible authority on site under supervision. In addition, the law is intended to introduce a new investigative power that allows the police, in the event of a wanted man, to inquire directly from the authorities about the data stored on an ID card serial number.

After the criticism from the photographers association

As a result of criticism from the specialist photo trade and the Association of German Professional Photographers, the draft law on passport photo security was changed accordingly, contrary to what was originally intended by Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CDU), so that photographers will continue to be able to create biometric passport photos.

What exactly the technical processes will look like has not yet been conclusively clarified. What is certain is that the biometric passport photos must be electronically transmitted to the passport authority by a certified photographer. This certification must be renewed every two years. However, it is first necessary to clarify how the electronic transmission should take place in the future. Transmission via DE-Mail is planned and a cloud-based e-passport photo should also be made available by the end of 2021 at the latest.

Biometric passport photos from the photographer

Since, as already mentioned, this is only a draft law that has not yet been approved by the Bundestag, it is also not valid. Nothing changes for you as a customer at the current time. Your responsible passport office must therefore continue to accept your biometric passport photo in printed form until the transfer options have been finally clarified and the transition period until May 2025.

In addition, the progress of digitization at the responsible authorities, here in the Ahrweiler district, is not yet up to date with many of them so that digital passport photos can be processed at all. Please inquire yourself in advance at your responsible passport office. We are continuing to follow the issue and are in consultation with the surrounding registration offices. As soon as there are changes, we will implement them and inform you.

Passport photos and Corona: mask compulsory in the shop

Not only should you inquire about available dates and the processes at your responsible passport office in advance, but also have to make an appointment with us in the Sinziger photo studio for biometric passport photos during Corona times. And even if you are of course photographed without a mask, the requirements of the corona control measures still apply. This means that you must wear mouth and nose protection when entering, waiting and leaving our shop.

Make an appointment for biometric passport photos

In order to avoid unnecessary waiting times in and in front of our photo studio and to be able to implement the requirements of the access control, you have to make an appointment for your biometric passport photos - unlike usual. Either by phone or online.

book an appointment