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My US passport has expired. I have filled out the forms and have booked a pickup/delivery with DX Services for Tuesday.

I have the required photo, and I am looking at this part of the application... enter image description here

It looks like four (4) staples are required. I haven't used a stapler in years, and I don't even know if there's one in my office. Do I actually have to go find a stapler and staple it 4 times?

I don't want to damage the photo and have my application refused on the basis of a damaged photo.

Question: do I actually have to staple my photo in the designated places? Or am I reading this wrong and there's a different way to submit one's photo?

Secondarily: if the answer above is 'yes', do I have to use some kind of American standard staple? Or will a UK standard staple be OK? The guidance, for example, says that A4 paper is OK (and I am thankful for that). They are so picky and persnickety about everything in a way that questions such as these are relevant.

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    I don't think 4 staples are required because I went for my first US Passport in Wahington last week and it was stapled in front of me with two staples. plus that picture was later returned to me because allegedly the image didn't fit the size (confirming the picture racket going on at the Washington Passport Center I read about online) so I have that picture back with the staples. – user 56513 Mar 12 '17 at 11:09
  • Given that this question is over a year old, I wonder whether anyone has evidence that staples will be rejected or no staples will be rejected. We only have seven weeks and can’t risk having to re-do some unknown time after sending. – WGroleau Jan 22 at 0:58
  • State department website demands staples in several places, but it also offers advice from the embassy in Paris saying to not staple: photos.state.gov/libraries/france/5/acs/passportfaqs0412.pdf – WGroleau Jan 22 at 1:08
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The instructions for DS-82 (Renewal of US passport for eligible individuals) clearly state in the instructions:

USE CAUTION WHEN STAPLING YOUR PHOTO: Use 4 staples vertically in the corners as close to the outer edge as possible. Do not bend photo.

I do not see the same statement on DS-11 (application for a new passport) but the statement is on DS-5504 (Corrections, name change within year of issuance, or passport book or card was limited to less than 2 years for a reason other than multiple losses or seriously damaged/mutilated).

There is no statement about what type of staple is acceptable.

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Well, I just submitted my passport for renewal, paying for expedited service b/c I need it asap in order to apply for a visa to Cuba. I stapled in the 4 corners, sent it by USPS overnight delivery, and just today (10 days after confirmed delivery to the passport renewal office) I received an email stating that my photo was damaged, thus I need to send another, within 90 days.

So I've just spent another $40+ to get another photo taken, and send it again overnight USPS. This time it wasn't required to staple it anywhere thank goodness. I wish they would change the form, 4 staples is just silly.

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I believe that a passport facility person will attach the photograph for you. Obviously, the person in charge of proofing the form hasn't updated the form to reflect this, and thus most people attach the photograph, with four staples, as instructed by text within the photo box. Hopefully the State Department will fix the form so that people's time and money aren't wasted.

  • There's nothing wrong with the form. If you don't staple the photo, yes, there's a good chance someone else will do it for you, but the instructions are clear that it should be stapled. If your photo meets the specifications and you staple right on the edge, the photo won't be ruined. – Zach Lipton Jun 13 '17 at 17:31
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    I tried stapling the photo as per form instructions. But staff person said I need to redo form and get a new, undamaged photo to submit, unattache. I tried to explain to her that form instructs otherwise, by to no avail. I did some searching online and there seems to be a shift in protocol, and that form hasn't caught up to this change. – Colin Purrington Jun 14 '17 at 19:08

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