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Passport photo of student born in Taiwan rejected in New Zealand because of the ethnic shape of his eyes

By Mason White 4:19 PM December 13, 2016
Richard Lee 

By: Wayne Morin
(Scroll down for video) A student who tried to renew his passport, was surprised when his photo was rejected because of the ethnic shape of his eyes.

22-year-old Richard Lee of New Zealand, tried to renew his passport as he wished to return to Melbourne, Australia, where he studies aerospace engineering and business management.

He submitted his picture to the Internal Affairs’s online passport photo checker, but it was rejected. A message popped up, which told him that the photo was rejected because his eyes were not open.

Lee was born in Taiwan, and his eyes are naturally very small.

He called the department of Internal Affairs, and he was told that the photo was rejected because of bad lighting. He tried uploading several more photos, but they were all rejected.

Eventually, Lee went to Australian Post, and took several more pictures. One of the pictures was accepted. Lee does not believe that race played a role in the rejection of his photos as he put them through a machine.

A spokesperson for the Internal Affairs department said that 20% of all photos are rejected due to shut eyes. Lee uploaded the rejected passport photo to Facebook, where it went viral.