What is Biometric Data and how do you make sure you comply?
By Estelle Vosloo
In July this year the South African Department of Home Affairs embarked on the new biometric data system. This system, which with the support of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, has been fast tracked and will involve fingerprinting and facial recognition technology.
Last week Gigaba said in a press statement “We must not be caught napping in any eventuality. We need to know the identities of the people coming into South Africa.”
We take a look at the requirements for the correct passport, visa and identity documentation photos.
Countries all over the world all require a photo as a measure of identification on your travel documentation, visa, identity document, driver’s license and even when you submit certain other legal documentation to a department of home affairs or immigration.
This is so that officials reviewing your documents’ validity will be able to recognize the person pictured on the document is the same person as the one presenting the document. For this reason there are certain standardized requirements for the photograph submitted with your official paperwork. Passports, visas and ID’s might take a few months to be issued in South Africa and you certainly want to ensure that you avoid you application being rejected based on an un-acceptable photo.
The Department of Home Affairs wants a clear recent photo of you that complies with certain strict conditions:
• The picture should only include your face, no-one else’s
• Photo’s must be taken against a clear white background
• No toys, equipment, luggage or signage of any sort must be visible on your photos
• You may not wear dark glasses or hats which may obscure your face
• Only in the case of religious requirements may your hair be covered, but not your face
• Your must face the camera directly so that both sides of your face is clearly visible
• The Department of Home Affairs will reject photo’s with red-eyes due to poor lighting and flash
• There should be no harsh flash spots reflecting of your skin
• The photographer should ensure that there are absolutely no shadows on your face or on the background behind you
• Your whole face, from the top of your forehead to your chin, must be clearly visible
• The photo’s dimensions must be precisely 45mm high and 35mm wide – a professional passport photographer will make sure you pay for the correct picture
• The photos have to be in colour
• All images of you must be exactly the same. It pays to take these pictures in batches of four as you might need more than two in some cases
• No photocopies or plain paper-printed photos will be processed. All your photos must be printed on high quality photographic paper
• Photos that are creased, damaged or folded will not be accepted.
New World Immigration strongly suggests that your photos be taken by a professional passport photo photographer.