Apparently the government is trying to be much more prepared. They've decided to save a little time and energy on mug shots. So what they do is require your passport photo to do double duty. I was strictly informed not to smile, forced to remove my earrings, and asked to tuck my hair behind my ears (because, as I was told, the ears MUST be showing). Now this last part really baffles me. Maybe there is some new highly advanced way to identify someone by their ears? Who knows. But for now, not only do I have a valid passport, I am one step ahead of the game if I decide to turn to a life of crime.