As of November 1, 2016, applicants for United States passports and visas have to remove their eyeglasses for the required application photos. According to the United States Department of State, this change will help eliminate dazzling lights and shadows that can cause delays in the approval process for visas and passport applications.
However, anyone that is currently wearing eyeglasses in their visa or U.S. passport photo do not have to change their photo until it is time to renew the visa or passport.
Applicants may wear eyeglasses only in cases of urgent travel where the need to wear the glasses is documented by a doctor.
According to the United States Department of State, in the last year, more than 200,000 applications for visas and U.S. passports were rejected because of photos that did not meet the current requirements. The biggest problem with the rejected photos were eyeglasses which many times prevented that the applicant from being clearly identified.
The United States Department of State expects more than 20 million passport applications in 2017 - the highest number of applications ever received in one year.