Taking your photo

Roads and Maritime Services is authorised under the Road Transport Act 2013 and the Photo Card Act 2005 to take and use photos of people it issues with photo cards.

When do we take your photo?

Roads and Maritime takes your photo when you apply for, renew or replace a:

  • Driver or rider licence
  • Combined driver and boat licence
  • NSW Photo Card
  • Mobility Parking Scheme permit
  • Firearms licence
  • Security Industry licence
  • Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents licence.

We are authorised to do this under the Road Transport Act 2013 and the Photo Card Act 2005. What we can do with your photo is strictly controlled by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Road Transport Act 2013.

From 18 June 2018, you may have the option of using an existing valid photo stored in the Roads and Maritime system when you renew or replace your driver licence or any other photo card product.  If you don’t want to use this existing photo, a new photograph can also be taken.

Facial Recognition System

All photos in the Roads and Maritime system are analysed by a Facial Recognition System (FRS), to check for potential identity fraud. Facial recognition works by measuring the distances between facial features (eg eyes, nose and mouth) and then comparing the measurements to look for possible duplicates.

Therefore, it’s important that the photos we take meet international standards for pose and quality.

Photo guidelines

Roads and Maritime photo-capture guidelines are aligned with the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard and largely aligned with those used by the Australian Passport Office.

When we take your photo, we will ask you to pose according to the following guidelines:

  • Sit up straight and look directly at the camera, with your eyes open
  • Don’t smile, but have a neutral expression on your face, with your mouth closed
  • Remove all glasses or sunglasses, even if you need your glasses to drive
  • Make sure your hair isn’t covering your face, particularly your eyes.

Hats and other head coverings

Head coverings worn for cultural or religious reasons may be worn, but must be adjusted so that your whole face is visible, from the bottom of your chin to the top of your forehead, and both edges of your face. There should also be no shadows cast on your face.

Religious or cultural headwear is defined as a garment which is worn to cover the head and is primarily designed for that purpose.

Hats, including novelty hats and novelty wigs must also be removed in accordance with international photo-capture standards.

Hair accessories are acceptable, provided they don’t obstruct the view of any facial feature.

Exemptions from having your photo taken

For licence holders, in some exceptional circumstances where there may not be an existing photo available, a temporary exemption from having your photo taken may be granted for medical reasons. You will be issued with a temporary paper driver licence receipt instead of a photo licence card. You won’t be issued a photo licence card until you return to have your photo taken.

Mobility Parking Scheme permit holders may also be exempt from having a photo taken in certain circumstances. See Mobility Parking Scheme for more information.

There are no photo exemptions for other types of photo cards.

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