By davidc

ID Photos

We're having a trip to China in September (lucky us). What we didn't know at the time of booking was the complex (and expensive) process of getting a tourist visa; I think the process became more complicated last November.

The requirements for the ID photos are much more stringent than for a UK passport. It seems that the photo has to be submitted electronically, although we're advised to take prints too when we go to the visa office to be fingerprinted.

We decided to take the photos ourselves. My blip shows the setup in our kitchen, with my Editor facing the camera and a large sheet of white paper on the wall behind her. (Whoops - it looks as though we need to clean the window sometime...the sun was shining on it in a manner to show up any marks!)

The electronic photo has to be a jpeg file of 40-120KB. The width of the photo  must be 354-420 pixels and the height 472-560 pixels. The eyes have to be at least 256 pixels from the base of the photo and they have to be more than 60 pixels apart. The width of the head (not including the ears) has to be 191-251 pixels. The background has to be white. Easy peasy?

I reckoned it would take me a long time to fiddle with the photos in Photoshop to meet these requirements, but happily I found a website which would do the tweaking for you for £7 which seemed a good deal. So after taking a vaguely suitable shot of each of us, I submitted them and in the blink of an eye they were returned, almost correct, except that they still had too many pixels in width and height. Happily this was easily fixed in Photoshop and the visa website has accepted mine: we hope it'll accept my Editor's picture when we get round to submitting it in a day or two.

Once the on-line submissions are done, we need to make appointments to be fingerprinted (the nearest office to us is Edinburgh) and pay £151 each.

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