Do French photo booth codes work for online UK passport applications?

We explain key differences between ephoto codes issued by France and UK

French ephoto codes only work with French admin system

Some photo booths in France provide passport pictures with a digital code. Will this work for an online UK passport application? D.S.

No, these codes for a digital photo are for use with French admin and are not compatible with applying for a UK passport.

As many French admin procedures are now online, such as passport and driving licence applications, the government set up a digital (‘ephoto’) photograph scheme from 2015.

You can do this in a photo booth marked with a blue circle logo as accredited for the online services of ANTS (Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés), or with an accredited photographer. You can find both online.

You will receive a physical photo, but it will also carry a code you can input during online procedures for the image to be retrieved from a database. It has 22 characters with a mixture of figures and capital letters.

Applying for a UK passport from France is done online and there is an option to use a similar system, but this must be with a UK code, in three parts. French photo booths will not be able to supply a suitable ephoto.

We checked with several French photographers accredited for the French system. One said he was formerly accredited for the British system but it was costly. Another could not offer this, while a third, Marion Puichaffray in Nice, said she did have suitable software for it.

So it is worth asking locally.

The alternative is taking a photo yourself, or getting a professional to do so and to provide the photo as a .jpg file on a USB key, or by emailing it to you. You will be able to upload this on the UK passport site.

We suggest showing them the UK passport photo rules des­cribed during the online application. They are similar but not identical to French advice – for example, earrings are permitted and the head takes up less space. The shoulders and upper body should be clearly visible.

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