Passport Information and Help Center

FAQ – Passport Photos

  • What type of paper should be used for passport photos?

    The photos should be printed on matte or glossy photo-quality paper.

  • Do the photos have to be in color?

    Yes, the photos must be in color.

  • How recent must the photos be?

    The photos must have been taken within the last 6 months.

  • How big must the photos be?

    The photos must measure exactly 2 inches by 2 inches.

  • What pose should the photos show?

    The photo should show a clear, front view, full face of the traveler. The traveler should be in normal street attire, without hat or glasses, against a plain white or off-white background. The traveler should have a natural expression, mouth closed, and eyes open looking directly ahead. Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.

  • How big should the head be in the photo?

    The traveler's head, measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the hair, should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches. The head should be centered in the photo. The head of the person being photographed should not be tilted up, down or to the side. It should cover about 50% of the area of the photo.

  • Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo?

    Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear should be removed for the photo. A signed statement from the applicant must be submitted with the application verifying the item is worn daily for religious reasons. In all cases, no item or attire should cover or otherwise obscure any part of the face.

  • Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?

    No. When you have your passport photo professionally taken, please remove your eyewear. The US Department of State restricts glasses from being worn in a passport photo. Failure to comply will cause your order to be suspended.

  • Can sunglasses or tinted glasses be worn?

    Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons. A medical certificate may be required.

  • Can work uniforms be worn for the photo?

    Uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, and camouflage attire should not be worn in photographs except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. Otherwise, normal street attire should be worn.

  • Can a parent or guardian appear in the photo of a minor child?

    No, the minor child must be the only subject in the photo. Nothing used to support the minor child, whether by mechanical or human means, should be in the camera's frame.

  • Are photos that are copied from recent driver licenses or other official documents acceptable?

    No, only original photographs are acceptable. Copied or digitally scanned photos of photos will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be retouched to alter the traveler's appearance in any way.

  • Are snapshots, magazine photos, or photos from vending machine acceptable?

    No, snapshots, magazine photos, most vending machine prints, or full-length photographs are not acceptable.

  • May photos be taken with a digital camera?

    If the digital camera has sufficient resolution capable of capturing and storing images with 1 million pixels (megapixels) or more it can be used to take the photos. However, printing of digital images is best done by professional photography processing labs because many off-the-shelf digital printers cannot achieve the image-quality required for passport and visa photographs. In any case, the image-quality criteria, described on this website, must be met in the submitted conventional film photo and/or the digital image printed photo.

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