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why do beards terrify governments ?




Should you shave before getting your passport photo, driver's license or other government-issued ID taken?

- Will the beard get me profiled as a potential terrorist. After all, don't most Muslims have beards? 
- The passport agent won't recognize me if I shave, right?
- Will the security folks think I am hiding something in my beard?

New travelers, especially those going to foreign countries, often ask these or similar questions. Clearly NOT having a beard is not going to make it more likely you will have to go through extra screening by security officials. But does having a beard increase your chances of having to go through extra measures?

The answer, in most cases, is NO.

Why?

Let's take these concerns one at a time:

Will the beard get me profiled as a potential terrorist. After all, don't most Muslims have beards? 

In this day and age, a pretty significant percentage of men have facial hair, many with pretty long beards. Remember that security officials see thousands of passengers each day. Do you really think they have the time to put every guy with a beard through extra screening?

Chances are much more likely that you'll get pulled for extra screening if you are a new traveler, not a bearded one.

The passport agent won't recognize me if I shave, right?

What about the reverse? Let's say you get your picture taken when you are shaven. Are you going to shave on every trip you make just to avoid having a picture that looks different than on the passport?

Officials are trained to look beyond superficial changes such as your beard or hair length. In the US, a passport can last 10 years. One's appearance can change pretty drastically in 10 years, so you should not worry too much about it.

Will the security folks think I am hiding something in my beard?

Trust me, if they think there is any chance you are trying to conceal something in your beard or otherwise, you'll know it. But it won't delay you too long even in the unlikely event they want to do a physical inspection.

Bottom line

If you are normally bearded or think you will be bearded more often than not, then keep the beard for your photos. The anxiety you feel will subside after you go through the security process a few times. I have traveled to many countries over the last 25 years and have yet to ever feel targeted for extra screening due to my beard whether my picture had the beard or not. I have heard of a few anecdotal stories of guys that feel they are targeted, but perhaps it was not due to their beards but something else in their records. The truth is that if you are force into extra screening you will never really know why unless you are told specifically by the agent. 

source : jefffsbeardboard.yuku.com

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