Hannah Edwards: This is the picture the local post office rejected. Click on photo to enlarge
The post office assistant stunned Hannah Edwards's parents by claiming the skin exposed by her daughter's halter-neck dress would not be accepted by the Passport Office as it might prove unacceptable in a Muslim country.
The incident happened when Jane and Martin Edwards took the picture, which was taken in a photo-booth, to a post office in the Sheffield area along with the completed form for checking ahead of a family holiday in the South of France.
The counter clerk told them she was aware of at least two other cases where applications had been rejected because a person's shoulders were not covered in their photo.
Mrs Edwards, a GP in Sheffield, had to rush around for two hours getting new pictures taken and countersigned.
'I was incensed,' she said yesterday. 'I went back home and checked the form.
'Nowhere did it say anything about covering up shoulders. If it had, I would have done so, but it all seems so unnecessary.
'This is quite ridiculous, I followed the instructions on the passport form to the letter and it was still rejected. It is just officialdom pandering to political correctness.
'It is a total over-reaction. How can the shoulders of a five-year-old girl offend anyone?
'It's not as if anything else was showing. The dress she wore was sleeveless but it has a high neck.'
Hannah had her first passport when she was three months old but her mother and father realised it was due to expire during their holiday this month. They aimed to complete the application on Saturday, the day Hannah was to be Sheffield Wednesday's mascot at their Hillsborough football stadium.
Mrs Edwards said she was also on call from her surgery when she had to spend time having the picture retaken.
'The referees who had signed the original application were not available,' she said. 'I had to chase around and eventually found a neighbour who was a teacher to sign the pictures.'
A spokesman for the Passport Service said it was not policy to reject applications with bare shoulders.
'The guidance set out on the application form doesn't include it, this picture should have been absolutely fine,' she added. 'The Post Office has its rules and we can't comment on that.'