Do you have fun travel plans this summer? Road tripping? Cruising? Leaving the country? If you’re embarking upon the latter, you’ll need to make sure your passport is up to date. Oh, and there’s one more thing you might want to be aware of. It turns out that significant weight gain could impact the validity of your passport.
When You Need A New Passport Photo
Yep. If you’ve gained a lot of weight in recent years, the U.S. Department of State says that your passport might not be accepted by airport security.
Such was the case for Derrick Agyeman, a British citizen who was traveling from Amsterdam back to the United Kingdom. However, authorities would not allow Agyeman to enter, on the basis that he did not look like the man in his passport picture. (He had gained about 68 pounds since the photo was taken.)
To be sure, this is not a typical experience. As long as you still closely resemble your passport photo, it shouldn’t matter if you’ve gained a little weight, or even if you’ve colored your hair (or lost some hair) or got contacts. The State Department says, “New photos are only required if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your photo.”
So if you recently underwent gastric bypass and lost 100 pounds, or if you have gained a considerable amount of weight, you will want to get a new passport photo taken to avoid any difficulty while traveling.
The Enduring Indignities Of Flying While Fat
However, it is worth noting that flying when you are overweight is definitely stressful more stressful than flying when you are of “average” weight. From seat belts that don’t fit to cramped seating to having to buy an extra seat to grouchy fellow passengers, it can be nerve-wracking to fly if you aren’t of “average size.”
Artist and activist Stacy Bias’s “Flying While Fat” short, animated video perfectly encapsulates this experience, and it’s definitely worth a watch:
Bias, who spoke with many plus-sized men and women to create this short documentary, says, “Trust that when you’re next to a fat person on a plane, they are significantly less comfortable than you are and are likely doing everything in their power to minimize their impact on you. For instance, 25% of my participants intentionally dehydrated themselves prior to flying to avoid the need to navigate the aisles and attempt to use the on-board toilet.”
Bias’s video is a good reminder for all of us to practice compassion and patience while we fly. Happy travels!
[h/t: Smarter Travel]