Blind girl’s fury over passport photo snub

Alexandra Carter
Alexandra Carter

A WIGAN woman who is registered blind said she feels discriminated against after her passport photograph was refused because of her disability.

Alexandra Carter, of Orrell, was shocked when she received a letter from Liverpool’s passport office saying it could not accept her submitted picture because she did not have a “neutral expression.”

I am a registered blind girl who was refused a passport because my eyes were not correct

Alexandra Carter

The 25-year-old said: “I feel disgusted. I am a registered blind girl who was refused a passport because my eyes were not correct.

“I have nystagmus from birth which controls the movement of my eyes. It is impossible for me to take a picture where my eyes are focused.

“Within the application there was no box to tick about my disability. I rang up to see if I needed to do anything to prove my disability and was told no.

“I even went to the Post Office to explain my situation and I was told that as long as the photo met the other requirements specified it should be fine.

“So I put my application through and it was refused.

“I have now had to write a letter explaining my disability as well as proof from my doctor and see if they will grant me a passport.

“I have taken new photos, but they are not much better - my eyes are beyond my control. This matter is disgusting and discrimination against people who have eye sight problems. I should not have to explain a disability from birth to anyone.

“I live independently and don’t need any help from anyone. I use a symbol cane to get around.”

Alexandra added that it was the first time she had applied for an adult passport and needed it to go to Majorca for a week’s holiday in October.

A spokesman for the Home Office said that the photo was rejected due to her facial expression and did not relate to her disability.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The letter sent to Miss Carter to explain why her application was refused stated the photo she had submitted was unacceptable because she did not have a neutral expression. This was not related to her visual impairment and, following her complaint, staff from Her Majesty’s Passport Office have spoken to her to clarify this.”

The rules surrounding passport photographs are strict with many people falling foul of the strict conditions.

The correct picture must: not be cut down from a larger picture and must be:

In colour on plain white photographic paper

Taken against a plain cream or light grey background

Taken within the last month

Clear and in focus

Without any creases unmarked on both sides (unless a photo needs to be countersigned). Your photos must also show a close-up of your full head and shoulders. It must be only of you with no other objects or people.