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Passport Photos

Video credits go to the United States Department of State

While applying for a passport you will require one identification photograph. Identification photographs have numerous prerequisites behind them and are one of the main ten purposes behind suspension and deferrals during the process of application. There are sure norms and guidelines that have been set for passport photographs that include dimensions, resolution, quality, background colors, and what can and can’t be worn. Here are the prerequisites for getting your passport photographs:

Update: As of November 1, 2016, the US Department of State will no longer accept passport images that show people wearing glasses.

Photo requirements for passports

Improper or insufficient passport photos are one of the more frequent causes of suspensions of passport applications. pictures that are the wrong proportions, not the proper size, or not good enough quality. To ensure compliance with the Department of State Passport Agency’s mandated passport photo rules and regulations, kindly adhere to the following specifications. If you break any of these regulations, your passport application may be suspended and fresh passport images will be needed.

You will need to apply for a New Passport and fill out a DS-11 form if:

  • The size of the passport photo must be 2′′ by 2′′. (inches). Make sure the head is fully visible from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin in the photo; the height of the head should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches (25 mm and 35 mm); the height of the eyes should be between 1-1/8 inch and 1-3/8 inch (28 mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the picture.
  • Without any shadows on the face and a white or off-white background
  • Photos must be taken in color and at a good resolution (no black and white)
  • Taken within the previous six months, minimum
  • A full frontal shot of the face with open eyes and a relaxed attitude
  • Ordinary clothing for daily use without white shirts or headgear like headbands or spectacles (see What to Wear for Passport Photos Below).

Dress Code for Passport Photos

The following criteria and regulations apply and address the most often asked questions about what you should wear or what can be worn in passport photos. Please make sure not to deviate from the principles and requirements specified.

  • Except when worn regularly for religious purposes, uniforms are not permitted to be worn in photographs.
  • Except when worn regularly for religious reasons, it is forbidden to wear a hat or other head covering that hides the hair or hairline. You must be able to see your entire face, with no shadows from the head covering.
  • You may not include headphones or cordless hands-free devices in your picture.
  • You may wear any accessories that you typically wear, such as prescription glasses, a hearing aid, or other items, in your picture.
  • Only if you need them for medical reasons are dark glasses or non-prescription glasses with tinted lenses permissible (a medical certificate may be required)
  • You should not have your glasses reflecting glare. You can tilt the glasses or shift them slightly downward to reduce glare. You can also take off your spectacles.

Photo Size for Passport

All passport photos must be 2 inches by 2 inches in size, as stated in the aforementioned specifications. This regulation does not have any exceptions!

Getting passport photographs

You may get your passport photos taken in countless locations. They can be taken at the majority of pharmacies with picture services, including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid. When your application is sealed, you can get your passport photo taken at several acceptance agents and local passport offices (if applicable to your type of passport application). Furthermore, several independent photographers and picture studios now provide passport photo services as a simple method to boost their income. Use of images from a photo booth will result in the suspension of your application.

Cost of passport photos

Usually no more than $15, yet sometimes as little as $5. Usually, all that is required is for someone to take a single photo using a digital camera and print it out on photo paper. Although Walgreens and CVS both have prices that reach $12.99, we’ve found that when rival pharmacies are located close to one another, the price might actually be substantially lower. The price for acceptance agents ranges from $7.99 to $15. (at Post Offices). Research local photographers or give them a call; they’ll be glad to earn your business.

Tips for photographing your infant

It can be difficult to get a normal passport photo of your child, so please go by the following guidelines to do it legally. On a plain white or off-white sheet, place your infant on his or her back. In addition to giving the picture a clean background, this will guarantee that your baby’s head is supported. Especially if you take a photo from above of your infant lying down, be sure there are no shadows on their face. Another option is to photograph your child in the car seat while covering the seat with a basic white or off-white sheet. This will likewise guarantee that your baby’s head is supported.

Common Questions about Passport Photos & Regulations

Are snapshots, mobile photos or photos from vending machines ok?

No. Snapshots, magazine photos, low-resolution vending machine or mobile phone photos, or full-length photographs are not acceptable. While modern cell phones take very good photos, and there are now a bunch of apps available in both the Google Play Store and Itunes App Store, we have not personally used them but we do hear that their photos get rejected frequently.

Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?

Eyeglasses can no longer be worn for your passport photos. This was disallowed starting 11/1/2016.

Can I remove the red-eye from my photo?

You may use the red-eye reduction option on your digital camera when you are taking the photo. However, you cannot use any photo editing tool to digitally remove the red-eye from your photo. Passport photos are not allowed to be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way.

Can I use a photo from a recent drivers license or other official document?

Copied or digitally scanned photos of official documents will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way. Otherwise, as long as it is recent, you have the right sized prints and conforms to the other requirements listed above; then it should be fine.

Can hats be worn in passport photos?

No. Hat and head coverings are not permitted and should be removed for the photo unless it is worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible in your photo. The head covering should not obscure the hairline and must not cast shadows on the face.

Can I wear a uniform in my passport photo?

Uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, and camouflage attire may not be worn in photos except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. Otherwise, normal clothing that you wear on a daily basis should be worn. No white shirts.

Can I wear sunglasses or tinted glasses in my photo?

No, sunglasses of any kind are not allowed to be worn for passport photos.

Do my photos have to be in color?

Yes, the photos must be in color. Black and white photos will not be accepted.

How large should my head be in the photo?

Your head should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of your chin to the top of your hair. If you are submitting a digital image, then your head should be between 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin.

How many passport photos must I submit with my passport application?

Only one photo needs to be submitted per passport application by mail or in-person.

How recent must the photo be?

Your photos must have been taken within 6 months of submitting your application and reflect your current appearance.

Is it acceptable for my child’s eyes to be closed in his/her photo?

No. Please have your child’s eyes open and looking straight ahead towards the camera.

Can photos be taken with a digital camera?

Yes, you can use a digital camera. However most webcams and mobile phones cannot provide images of sufficient quality.

What if I recently dyed my hair a new color or grew a beard?

New photos are only required if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your photo. Growing a beard or coloring your hair are not considered a significant change. If you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport or visa application, you do not need to apply for a new passport or submit a new photo for your visa application. However, you may have to apply for a new passport or submit a new photo for your visa application if you have:

  • Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
  • Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
  • Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
  • Made a gender transition

The acceptance of your photo is at the discretion of the U.S. passport agency where you apply for a passport or U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply for a visa.

What pose should I be in for my photo?

Your photo must be a clear shot of your entire face horizontally centered in the photo. Profile shots or photos not in focus will not be accepted. Your photo must be taken against a plain white or off-white background. Your expression should be neutral with both eyes open and directly facing the camera. Photos with unusual expressions and squinting will not be accepted.

What size should the passport photos be?

2″ x 2″ or 51 x 51mm – no smaller, no bigger

What type of paper should I print my photos on?

Photos must be printed on photo quality paper. The photo quality paper can be either matte or glossy photo paper.

What’s the best way to take a photo of a baby?

Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. This will ensure your baby’s head is supported and provide a plain background for the photo. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby’s face, especially if you take a picture from above with the baby lying down. You can also cover a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat. This will also ensure your baby’s head is supported.