Passport Photo Requirements – Everything You Need to Know

Animated chart showing measurements and passport photo requirements.

The picture that you submit with your passport application must conform to strict passport photo requirements. Avoid delays with your application by checking carefully to make sure that the U.S. Department of State will accept your photo.

Failing to comply with these requirements could delay your application or lead to a rejection of it altogether.

See Also: Renewing Your Passport Online

Photo Dimensions and Specifications

There are a number of passport photo requirements concerning the image itself.

Your photo must be a high-resolution color photograph measuring 2 inches by 2 inches (51 mm x 51 mm). Use glossy or matte finish photo stock.

The photo must not have any defects, digital artifacts (like dead pixels or dots), or damage. You can use the online photo tool at the U.S. Department of State to make sure that the photo is formatted correctly.

Your face must be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (25 mm and 35 mm) and centered in the photo. The distance between your eyes and the bottom of the photo should be between 1 1/8 inches and 1 3/8 inches or between 28mm and 35mm.

Your picture must have a solid white or off-white background. The background must be the actual background for the picture, not a digitally altered background.

You may not make any computer alterations to the photo, such as Photoshop editing or the application of social media filters (never use a selfie, either). The picture must be well lit so that there are no shadows on your face.

The photo must be no older than six months and must reflect your current physical appearance. You must submit a newer photo if you have changed your face or overall appearance in the past six months.

Such a change could be due to weight loss or gain, tattoos, cosmetic surgery, or other body modifications that are visible on your head or face.

Various examples of passport photo requirementsExamples of correct and incorrect passport photos

Your Face in the Photo

In addition to image dimensions and specifications, there are several passport photo requirements that address how you are to appear in the photo.

You must be facing forward so that your face is fully visible. You may not wear glasses, a hat or head covering, or anything else that conceals parts of your face.

The only exceptions to this rule are head coverings that are required for religious purposes or are necessary for medical reasons. If you meet those conditions, you should have a letter attesting to your religious faith or medical condition.

While you may be required to publicly wear a mask in your area due to COVID, you cannot wear a mask or PPE in the photograph. The State Department advises applicants to stand more than 6 feet away from the person taking the photograph and only remove the mask and other PPE just before he or she takes the picture.

You must be dressed in ordinary attire and not any costumes or uniforms. This restriction includes military uniforms with camouflage patterns.

If you wear articles of clothing every day for religious reasons, you can wear those articles for the photo.

For photos of adult applicants, the eyes must be open and the applicant must be looking directly into the camera. For photographs of children, the eyes do not need to be completely open but the child should be looking at the camera.

Placing the child in a car seat will support the neck while you take the child’s photograph. If you use this method, place a white sheet over the car seat before putting the child inside.

This will ensure that the background is consistent with the photo requirements.

Sending in Your Picture with the Application

The U.S. State Department recommends stapling the picture to the application. Be sure the photo fits in the designated square area on the application and that your face is in the normal right-side-up orientation.

Be careful not to damage the photo when you attach it to the application. We recommend using an online passport renewal service to ensure that everything gets completed properly and all requirements are met.

Passport and Visa Services

Make sure that your passport photo doesn’t hold you back by submitting your passport photo online with iVisa Passport Photos. They will make sure that the photo you submit for yourself or your child meets all the Department of State requirements so that you can plan your global travels with peace of mind.

Do you have plans to visit specific countries? iVisa Photo lets you submit your visa photo online as well, double-checking that it meets all current visa photo requirements.

Online Passport Photo Service website screenshot.

Links to external websites such as the Department of State are included in this article for informational purposes. They should not be construed as an endorsement of this service by any agency referenced in an external link.

The U.S. Department of State may provide information from your passport application for U.S. law enforcement upon request by a law enforcement agency.

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