Colour or black & white | AccountingWEB

Colour or black & white

ICAEW report that:

"HM Stationery Office (HMSO) guidance also makes it clear that passport photocopies must be in black and white only, so that they cannot be mistaken for an actual passport page."

So my scanner (not a cheap one) seems to produce black & white unreadable silouette images and I am not allowed to produce readable colour images as they are too good.

UK bureaucracy is such a joke.



Caber Feidh's picture

HMSO prefer everything in black and white

Caber Feidh | | Permalink

Two thoughts:

Is there a computer expert in your office who can adjust the scanner's settings for your task? My scanner (not an expensive one) does not present such problems. However, my results may be influenced by making my scans as grayscale documents via Adobe Acrobat Pro, because I want the results as PDFs.

Would HMSO accept colour copies to which you have added a suitable watermark to leave no doubt that it is a copy? Perhaps this is an opportunity to be facetious in your choice of watermark text?

ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

I recently had to get another driving licence, as I left mine in someone's photocopier after a MLR check.

I duly sent off my form, photo, birth certificate, and marriage certificate for my NEW driving licence, and it's the first time I have had one with a photo :)

I have just received the certificates back, and was shocked to see that I had sent my husbands birth certificate instead of my own!

I still got my licence :)

does it matter ?

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Surely the photocopy is just proof you looked at the original ! The quality of the copy is irrelevant then. You could just scan it and keep an electronic copy (in colour),

By the time it has been converted into black and white you would have no chance of recognising the person and I for one have not met anyone who looks like their passport photo ! LOL

russellpj's picture

Colour or black or white?

russellpj | | Permalink

On the other hand, I have experience of banks demanding colour copies of passports in the course of MLR checks - because the orignal document  is in colour! Everyone it seems, has their own take on the MLR nowadays - and confusion reigns...

Top_Cat's picture

Greyscale not B&W

Top_Cat | | Permalink

HMSO's recommendations are just that - guidance. There is no "offence" committed by taking colour photocopies so just ignore HMSO.

If you must get rid of the colour, scan as normal, open the image in any photo editing programme, and convert to greyscale.

Many programmes have both "black & white" and "greyscale" options. Ignore "black & white" , you need greyscale.



That guidance is out of date

paulwakefield1 | | Permalink

It is acceptable to take colour copies of passports.

Caber Feidh's picture

HMSO recommend B&W

Caber Feidh | | Permalink

@Kings Brad

A further thought to add to what I said on Thursday. Could your scanner (or printer) have selected an option to scan (or print) colour as black?


If HMSO recommend B&W then why not just give them what they want and avoid the risk of a time-wasting dispute over the use of colour? Then you can devote more time to winning the disputes that really matter.

Your comments on the use of greyscale appear to support what I said on Thursday.

davidwinch's picture

Colour copies of passport pages

davidwinch | | Permalink

I believe the guidance was updated in 2009.  Colour copies are now permitted.

The current guidance says this:

"Reproduction of the personal details page in the Passport

8.  Page 31 (the "bio page") of the British Passport contains the personal details of the passport holder. The Identity and Passport Service suggests that passport holders record the information on this page and keep it in a safe place separate to the passport. This will help the Identity and Passport Service process an application for a replacement passport if the current passport is lost or is stolen.

Passport holders’ identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out an individual’s personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licences. If an identity is stolen, the individual may have difficulty getting loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is sorted out. The Identity and Passport Service advises passport holders to only agree to the reproduction of the personal details page in the passport if they are satisfied that the person or organisation they are giving this to will protect it from unauthorised disclosure.

The Identity and Passport Service advises organisations who wish to retain a reproduction of the personal details in the passport that they should obtain the consent of the individual to do so. They also advise organisations to retain a record of the consent and to store the passport details securely."



UK bureaucracy is such a joke.

kudlit | | Permalink

Everything must be specified. Nothing is left to chance. LOL.



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