Unlike other photos you have taken, your passport photo won’t be about finding your good side or taking the shot from the most flattering angle. Your passport will have to adhere to a very strict set of government regulations to make sure that it will be approved by the State Department.

photos of a man and woman against a cameraSome of the most important rules for passport photos include:

  • Full color only
  • Final size 2” x 2” with head measuring between 1” and 1 3/8” from bottom of chin to top of head
  • Use a recent photo taken within the last 6 months
  • Use a white background
  • Take facing directly ahead at the camera for full-face view
  • Eyes open / neutral expression
  • You may wear glasses if you normally wear them – but no dark or tinted lenses & no glare from glasses in photo
  • No hats or head coverings
  • No shadows on your face
  • No uniforms
  • As of November 1st, 2016, you are no longer allowed to wear glasses in your passport photo.

It is important to understand these regulations before submitting your passport photos. If your passport application is delayed because of unacceptable photos, it can take up to three weeks to receive notification by mail – and you may not have time to take and submit new photos before your scheduled trip.

Here are the top 6 reasons passport photos are rejected:

  1. Incorrect Size – Photo must measure exactly 2”x2” without a white border.
  2. Over-Exposure or Lightness – Glare in the photo or light reflecting on face, eyes.
  3. Shadows and Dark Spots – All facial features must be fully seen and recognizable.
  4. Blurred Focus – Standard distance for shooting is about 3 feet. Otherwise, facial features may be blurred.
  5. Glasses and Hats – do not wear things that obscure the face in any way. Glasses are allowed only with a medical certificate, so most people will have to remove them. Even then, they may not shade your face.
  6. Improper Profile / Camera Angle – Face the camera full on, looking directly into the camera. Even a subtle head tilt can result in your picture being rejected. Picture must include your entire profile from crown of head to tops of shoulders.

A valuable service of RushMyPassport.com is knowing right away if there is an issue with your passport photos.  If there is a problem, you’ll find out that same day so we can expedite the process.

Passport photos can be taken at a local Wal-Mart or a local drug store chain like CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid. Prices average about $7 to $8. Some local post offices also offer passport photo services priced at about $15. If you’re more concerned with having an attractive photo, you can also opt for a professional photographer to take the photos. Just remember that professional photos will cost a lot more than you would pay elsewhere – and make sure that the photographer is aware of all the regulations for passport photos.  If you decide to take the picture yourself, be sure to follow the government guidelines and make sure the final photos measure exactly 2 inches x 2 inches. You may print the photos on a photo-quality color printer using special photo paper.