If you’ve been reading my Tweets, you might have read my moaning about having to renew my passport, which means having to take a new photo ID for the new passport.
If you have a decent enough camera you can actually take your own passport photos – this way, you can be sure you look human, decent and not like a fugitive (unlike mine, made more so by pixelation :P) but you can also run the risk of your photo being rejected by the immigration department for not fulfiling certain criteria. I had mine taken at a photo shop – it was rejected because the photo shop did not tell me my hair was covering half my forehead. Actually I pointed it out to the man but he said it would pass muster – it didn’t.
Tips for taking passport photos
To help you (and since the wounds are fresh) here are my tips for taking a passport photo for Malaysian citizens:-
- Make sure both your ears can be seen in the photo. Tuck your hair behind your ears.
- Make sure your hair does not cover your eyebrows or too much of your forehead – they want to see your whole face – easier to identify a fugitive 😛
- Do not smile widely – they prefer if you don’t smile at all or if you do, just slightly. My guess is you aren’t always smiling when you reach the immigration counter at your destination 😛
- Look straight at the camera – no cute kawaii camwhore shots please.
- Wear a shirt, blouse or T-shirt with a collar so you look dressed in the photo but don’t hide your neck with a mandarin collar.
If you are female and don’t want to look too washed out in your passport or ID photos, do put on a little makeup. However, don’t go slapping on thick layers of makeup. Its a passport photo or photo ID, not your wedding pictures. Keep it light and natural.
Light makeup in photos so you don’t look washed out
- If you have dark circles, use a concealer.
- Use foundation or powder to even out skin tone.
- Line your eyes – it helps them look more prominent. Eye makeup is optional.
- Draw in your brows – it frames your face.
- Use a light matte blush to add some warmth to your skin. ID photos can make you look pale due to the flash.
- Use a lipstick that is a shade darker than your natural lip colour. ID photos tend to wash you out, so having a lip colour that’s a little brighter will make you look better in the photo.
Some other tips can be found in a previous post.
My personal advise is to use the photo studios at the Immigration Department. There are usually a few and the people there know exactly how to take the photo for your different requirements (e.g. passport, visa etc) and they know exactly how you should look. It isn’t as pricey too. I paid RM15/4 photos at an external photo shop. When I retook my photos at a random photo studio at the Immigration department, I paid RM12/4 photos (and I looked better – my hair looked a little lopsided but I looked better overall 😛 )
The early bird catches the worm
If you are Malaysian looking to renew your passport at the Immigration Department, you can do it at the self-service machines (only up till 55 years old – above 55 years you have to get it done manually).
At the Immigration Department at Pusat Bandar Damansara, its in Block I on the ground floor and its called KiPPAS. No idea why the corny acronym which means “fan” in Malay. Incidentally, the air conditioning wasn’t working and there was no “kipas” in sight 😛
Go early. I was there at about 8+am and there was about 5 people per machine. I went back at 11am and there were more than 20 people in the queue in the hot sun. If you are reading up till here, you probably want to know how to go about renewing your Malaysian passport (or are really bored with your day) so here goes.
What to bring to renew your Malaysian passport
Here’s what you should bring with you to renew your passport:-
- Your expired passport
- 1 passport photo
- 1 photocopy of your MyKad IC
- RM100 (2 years validity) or RM300 (5 years validity)
- Pick up the envelope at the counter inside and complete your name, NRIC number and Telephone number.
If you can read English or Malay and can follow simple instructions, it will not take you more than 10 minutes at the machine to complete the transaction. You can pick up your new passport within 2 hours, the charter says. I gave them half a day just to be sure 😛
If you are super bored and want to know how the process at the self-service passport renewal machine goes, here it is 😛
- Choose English or Bahasa Malaysia
- Insert your passport (just like you do at the Autogate at the airport)
- Insert your Mykad IC (slot is below the passport – don’t try feeding it where the money goes like I did 😛 )
- Verify the information using your thumb.
- Remove your passport and mykad.
- Verify your height and key in your Telephone contact number.
- Verify your personal information that shows up on the screen.
- Choose the number of years you want your passport valid for and pay the requisite amount.
- Place the passport, copy of your IC and 1 photo into the envelope you filled up earlier and drop it into the slot provided.
- Complete and pick up the receipt generated by the machine.
- Pick up your new passport later in the day.
And there you go! I’m not exactly thrilled with how I presently look in my new passport but I do look marginally better than in my old one. When I produce my old passport at foreign immigration counters, they’d look twice to make doubly sure – I don’t think they believed it was me 😛
Are you as traumatized about taking ID photos and passport photos as I am? It takes a lot of psyching up for me to get it done and despite all my preparations, I’m never quite satisfied with how I look. Sigh…
A community service guideline by…
Paris B 🙂
Note: I live in Kuala Lumpur. This guideline was written based on my experience using the passport renewal kiosk. I do not know how else or where else you can renew your passport nor the opening times of the immigration offices in Malaysia nor other ways in which to renew your passport outside of Malaysia, and how long that will take. For all formal questions relating to your Malaysian passport, please check at the immigration offices. Caveat Emptor.
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I quite like how I look in my current passport photo – excepting the overly high forehead shot and the geeky glasses. I guess you can’t have it all with official photos, eh? 😛
Nope! I wonder if supermodels look good in their photo ids 😛
Yes..! Me too…! Am so paranoid when it comes to take photos. I will make sure that day my hair are done and done my facial a day before to have that glowing look even without to much makeup. And everytime I snap a new ID photo, I tend to see an older look of me and I prefer my older photo..But somehow I’ll get used w it until a new ID photo to compare with..haha
Haha I actually don’t mind this new photo. My old one made me look like I was crazed 😛
I just did mine in January. You don’t have to tuck in your hair actually. I didn’t and I got through. My hair covers my forehead as well and it goes through too! So I guess they rejected your photo is because it is not taken at the Immigration Dept there? I’m not trying to point out anything but to play safe and ease everything out, it is best to do everything there (includes take photo and photocopy your IC). BTW, I got my photo taken there for RM10/4 pieces if I remembered correctly. 🙂
Darn them 😛 Did you do yours in PBD too? The reason I got was that my eyebrow was covered. Maybe they didn’t want me confused with a one brow fugitive? 😛
omg so awesome! Thanks paris was planning on renewing mine this month. =D Will go to Pusat Bandar. Where did you park?
I got a friend to wait in the car outside Subway and bribed them with breakfast 😛 Otherwise you can park inside or if you are early enough, you can take a chance by parking on the side of the road 😛
I think I may park at the outdoor lot near menara mellinium and walk. It probably wont’ kill me. The indoor basement parking is too dodgy and drippy!
good post!! I have no experience on this and I need to do it soon for my Hong Kong trip!!!^^
Hey glad I managed to help someone! 😉
excellent post! quite unfortunately, where I went to do my passport, the machine wasn’t working (typical!). So I had to take number, wait for hours sitting on the floor, frantically looking out for my number because the audio and visual aren’t synchronized…
I’ll post up my passport pic as a follow up to this post!
Ooh sounds like how it used to be for me LOL I’m glad everything was fine and dandy at the HQ where I was 😀 Can’t wait to see your pic – and amazed that you dare show 😛
i wonder can I use the exactly same photo as the previous passport ? I don’t think there’s any difference in between… 😛 hahaha… I really don’t wish to retake any photo, renewing passport is already pain on the neck… I hate to visit Malaysia government departments, even the machines here are also semi manual (get the idea?) hahahaha…
Nope you cannot use the same picture. I tried it once and was told that it was 5 years ago – cannot use so I had to take another there and then which sucked but which stayed with me for 5 years 😛 Its quite painless these days to renew the passport to my surprise. I think most Government departments everywhere in the world are filled with red tape, not just here 🙂
Kay Es says
I tried once too to use back the old passport photo which was a nice photo. But it got rejected (the officer looked at me like I was mad or something) and then I had to get it taken on the spot at the instant booth outside the office. Since I had no preparation (hair, make-up and clothes all not up to photo-taking standard), the photo turned out god awful and I now seriously make sure that no one other than the immigration officer gets to see my passport.
That was me exactly. I was there, with my hair pinned up any old how, no makeup and looking dorky. I’ve never been so happy to retire my passport 😛
i know! MUST wear mascara lippie and fill in your eyebrows if they are thin! 😛 first time taking my ID photo (I was very young), no lippie no eyeliner and i look so omg pale! I noticed that foundation is the least needed since the color will be off anyway 😛
Yes! I find foundation superflous but color is a must. Thank goodness I now look semi human LOL
Couldn’t have come at a better time! Me, Elika and Elika’s papa all getting our passports done this Thursday, and our pictures tomorrow – wish us luck!
Ooh good luck getting some good shots especially of the little cutie!
I hate renewing my passport too! It’s such a hassle… have to wake up early to queue… the last time I was at the ATM look-a-like passport renewal machine thingy, there were 3 in this small room but only one was functioning!!
Tips to prevent double work or even risk yr place in the line… Go with someone, take a teman with u… I went to the one where HELP U was and there is a small shop opposite the office place that takes pictures for u…
Yep thats where I went too but it was fast. Maybe it was the time? Going with a friend is a good idea too – at least you don’t get bored
I experienced the same thing when I renew my passport a week before CNY. Besides the various problems I encountered in the process of making one (Damansara was closed, ask to go to Wangsa Maju/Subang/Shah Alam. Went to all but Subang closed while the rest were already full so lastly went to renew the next day!), I had to take my photos again.
I knew something was wrong when the photographer did not say a word regarding my hair hiding my forehead. But hey, for money they don’t care, do they? *shrugs*
p/s: I’m having a giveaway on my blog. Do stop by 🙂
Ah that’s another tip – Don’t try to do anything bureaucratic near to any public holidays. I find that the efficiency levels drop very far then 😛
jojoba (My Makeup Reviews) says
i wish you had posted this last year before i did all my ugly looking official documents. i had to go through so many photo shooting sessions on those uncomfortable chairs in various office right under the public eyes! i didn’t bother with makeup as i want to look as close as how i look when i travel by planes (no makeup on most of the time.) i am scared of the strict asutralian immigration so i sacrificed my makeup… *_*
excellent post and boookmarked for referece!
ps: blog list function died on me and i am left with links.
Oh darn! Something must be up with Blogger for you. As for taking photos, I can give and take all the tips available and STILL end up with horrid looking photos 😛 However, I’ve learnt that SOME makeup is good. Keep me looking more human in photos. Just a touch, nothing dramatic even though I don’t use makeup on long flights too.
I took passport picture on immigration dept…I waited for about an hour for picture, I guess my makeup already faded LOL…I just put my hair into ponytail. They had a facial recognition device (?) and the camera was so close to me, I didn’t recognize my own face in that pic 😛
Haha….. Sounds like making passports and taking passport photos is a worldwide horror phenomenon 😀
It was very easy in France- you take your picture anywhere, there are small shops even in the subway, there is always a passport type/ID picture button to push, take your papers to the local city hall and 3 hours later take back our passport (you need same additional papers you mentioned).
I actually renewed my passport recently, and wore turtleneck to snap photo at the photobooth next to the Immigration Department in Subang. No complaints on my clothing though…
Actually that was a vanity tip – I found wearing high collared tops made my head look like its floating in space LOL
not sure if they still follow this, but for photocopies of your IC it should be both sides of the IC on one side of the paper – I ended up photocopying it on both sides of the paper and got rejected. eeps!
Too late for me – just taken my photo this afternoon and only read your post now (sigh).
I hate taking passport photos. My last one looked like a refugee who had just swum across the South China Sea ( I thought the studio had given me someone else’s photos!!). The present ones are much better but still look uurrgg!!!!!!
Thanks for all the information. They are so helpful. I’m bringing my daughter and parents to renew passport on Monday and we plan to take our photos today. I’m so glad that I can now print the forms from the website and not have to line up just to get the forms. Do they have the self-service machine at Subang too?
I don’t know if Subang has the self service machine. If you use the self service machine you don’t need forms. But I guess you could just print it out anyway just in case so you save time.
Is coloured hair allowed for the passport photo?
I don’t think there is any regulation though blue may not be a good idea. In doubt check with the immigration – its safest.
Is there an immigration office on Dang Wangi St (near Sogo)? Could you tell me where is the closest office near the Golden Triangle, city centre, Chinatown area?
I’ll be flying in from overseas and I don’t live in KL so I’m not familiar with the place.
Which form is the application form called for passport renewals.
If I give myself at least 2 full days to renew the passport (in case the office is close or something goes wrong), do you think that is enough?
Thanks, and I love your blog.
There are no Immigration offices in the City Center as far as I know. There’s one at Pusat Bandar Damansara where I had mine done.
2 days should be enough to get the passport sorted out 🙂 Thanks!