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E-passports, Facial and Eyelid Recognition

Upper eyelid blepharoplasty and airport facial recognition

Did you know that if you have an upper eyelid blepharoplasty that changes the appearance of your eyelids, the little biometric chip in your e-passport, which has the picture of the old you, will look different from you current appearance? You may imagine that it is not a problem. However, the biometric facial recognition systems at airports nowadays are so sensitive that they will detect tiny changes and think that you are someone else and won’t let you pass through the barrier. You will then have to go to slow queues for verification of your passport.
Did you also know that if you make a change in eyelids such as a droopy eyelid or a big lump on an eyelid, again the biometric data in your passport will no longer match the real up-to-date you? When you try and go through airport security and passport control with the automatic biometric readers, you will not be recognised, and you will be sent to the other queue. This is increasingly going to be a problem as more people travel who have had blepharoplasty or ptosis surgery or have developed a drooping eyelid or a change in their face.
Peoples’ faces change over ten years, and some of them get droopier eyelids. Therefore, their pictures no longer match what they looked like ten years ago. We all used to laugh at our pictures in our passports and on our driving licences. We’d say “Oh, that does not look like me any longer” and sometimes even the passport officers would laugh as well, but it has become a more serious issue now that we have to look like or similar to the picture on our passport.
So what is the solution? The solution is to recognise that there is a potential problem with your passport and then to go through the slower queue because your biometric data is no longer recognised by the machine after you have had blepharoplasty surgery or developed a ptosis. Or you should go back to the passport office and ask them to redo your biometric data as your distinguishing features on your face and eyelids have changed. If in doubt, contact the Passport Office for advice before travelling.


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