Bread Crumbs

US Passport Photo Requirements – A Detailed Guideline 

Passport Photo Requirements

Posted on Jan 21st, 2021 by Heena Ganotra, Last updated Jul 19th, 2022, Leave a Comment

Getting or renewing a passport? Knowing about passport picture requirements is a must. Right from piercings to posings, the US State Department has given strict guidelines for passport photos. The same have been explained below – 

3 Important US Passport Photo Requirements 

1. Basic Print Requirements 

  • Size:  2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • Resolution:  300 Dpi (High Resolution – shouldn’t be blurry/pixelated/or grainy)
  • Background: Plain background. White/Off White.
  • Head Height (Top of the head to the bottom of the chin):  1-1 3/8 inches (25-35 mm)
  • Paper Quality: Matte or glossy photo quality paper 
  • Color: Colored. Should neither be overexposed nor underexposed. No filters to be used.

size

Acceptable — The picture is of the correct size.

Photo tip: Photo should be 2 x 2 (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered.

size

Unacceptable — The picture is not of the correct size.

Photo tip: Photo should be 2 x 2 (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered.

size

Unacceptable — The picture is longitudinal in size i.e. its length is more than its width. It should’ve been a square.

Photo tip: Photo should be 2 x 2 (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered.

size

Unacceptable — The picture is latitudinal in size i.e. its width is more than its length. It should be equal in dimensions.

Photo tip: Photo should be 2 x 2 (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
resolution

Acceptable — The picture is clear and sharp. It neither has printer dots nor is it pixelated.

Photo tip: The picture shouldn’t be blurry, pixelated, or grainy.

resolution

Unacceptable — The picture is grainy.

Photo tip: The picture shouldn’t be blurry, pixelated, or grainy. It should be sharp and clear.

resolution

Unacceptable — The picture is blurry.

Photo tip: The picture should be sharp and clear. It shouldn’t be blurry, pixelated, or grainy.

resolution

Unacceptable — The picture quality is extremely poor in quality. It’s immensely pixelated.

Photo tip: The picture should be sharp and clear. It shouldn’t be blurry, pixelated, or grainy.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
background

Acceptable — The picture has a plain background.

Photo tip: The picture should either have a white or an off-white background.

background

Unacceptable — The picture has a red background which is against the requirements set by the US State Department.

Photo tip: The picture should either have a white or an off-white background.

background

Unacceptable — The picture has a bluish background and the camera is too close to the subject.

Photo tip: The picture should either have a white or an off-white background and the camera should at least be 4 feet away from the subject.

background

Acceptable — The picture has a plain background.

Photo tip: The picture should either have a white or an off-white background.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
head height

Acceptable — Head size is between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).

Photo tip: None.

head height

Unacceptable — Head size is too small in the photo.

Photo tip: Head size should be between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).

head height

Unacceptable — Head size is too big in the photo.

Photo tip: Head size should be between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).

head height

Unacceptable — Full head not in the photo.

Photo tip: An individual’s entire head must be in the photo. The hair may extend past the passport photo dimensions but the head must be between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
paper quality

Acceptable — The picture paper quality is matte.

Photo tip: The passport photo paper should either be matte or glossy.

paper quality

Acceptable — The picture paper quality is glossy.

Photo tip: The passport photo paper should either be matte or glossy.

paper quality

Unacceptable — The picture paper quality is creased.

Photo tip: The passport photo paper should either be matte or glossy.

paper quality

Unacceptable — The picture paper quality is thick.

Photo tip: The passport photo paper should either be matte or glossy and shouldn’t be too thin or too thick.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
color

Acceptable — The picture is colored and is neither overexposed nor underexposed.

Photo tip: None.

color

Unacceptable — Filtered pictures aren’t acceptable.

Photo tip: The picture should have absolutely no filters, either from Snapchat, Instagram, or otherwise.

color

Unacceptable — Black and white pictures aren’t acceptable.

Photo tip: The picture should be colored and the head height should be between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).

color

Unacceptable — The picture is overexposed and the camera is a little too close to the subject.

Photo tip: The picture should be colored but it should neither be overexposed nor underexposed.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!

2. Pose Requirements 

Note – This section covers baby passport photo requirements as well. 

  • Face Expression: Neutral/Natural Smile with both eyes open. Mouth closed. 
  • Posture: Your shoulders should be square with the base. It should be straight ahead.
  • Face Direction: Face the camera directly so the full face is in view. No selfies. 
  • Lighting: No shadows either on the face or the background. Even lighting on both sides of the face.
  • Children: The child shouldn’t be held by anyone from behind. The background should be plain so to say. The eyes should be open and since infants tend to make different faces, make sure they face the camera.

Face Direction

Acceptable — The applicant is facing the camera directly and the full-face is in view.

Photo tip: None.

Face Direction

Unacceptable — The applicant isn’t facing the camera directly.

Photo tip: Face the camera directly so the full face is in view.

Face Direction

Unacceptable — Selfies aren’t allowed.

Photo tip: While you can take one, you must upload it on a site that has in-built cropping tools to have a plain background and no hand extended arm.

Face Direction

Unacceptable — The applicant’s full face isn’t in view.

Photo tip: You must face the camera directly so the full face is in view.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Face Expression

Acceptable — The picture has a neutral expression with both eyes open.

Photo tip: While the eyes must be open, the mouth should be closed. A natural smile is good to go too.

Face Expression

Acceptable — The picture has a natural smile with both eyes open.

Photo tip: The mouth should remain closed. One can also keep a neutral expression.

Face Expression

Unacceptable — The subject’s eyes are closed

Photo tip: While the eyes must be open, the mouth should be closed. Natural smiles or neutral expressions are good to go.

Face Expression

Unacceptable — The applicant has an open mouth.

Photo tip: Mouth should be closed. Even though a natural smile is okay but a laugh isn’t. One can also keep a neutral expression.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Posture

Acceptable — The shoulders are square with the base. The applicant is looking straight ahead.

Photo tip: None.

Posture

Unacceptable — The applicant is not looking straight ahead. He is facing upwards. The posture, therefore, isn’t right.

Photo tip: The applicant must look straight ahead.

Posture

Unacceptable — The applicant’s face is tilted. The posture, therefore, isn’t right.

Photo tip: The applicant must look straight ahead.

Posture

Unacceptable — The applicant’s posture isn’t right.

Photo tip: The shoulders should be square with the base. The applicant must look straight ahead.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
lighting

Acceptable — The picture has no shadow and the lighting is even.

Photo tip: None.

lighting

Unacceptable — There’s a shadow in the background.

Photo tip: There should be no shadows either on the face or the background. There should be even lighting on both sides of the face.

lighting

Unacceptable — There’s a shadow on the child’s face.

Photo tip: There should be no shadows either on the face or the background of the applicant. There should be even lighting on both sides of the face.

lighting

Unacceptable — The lighting in the picture is extremely poor.

Photo tip: There should be even lighting on both sides of the face.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
children

Acceptable — The eyes are open. The baby is facing directly towards the camera

Photo tip: None.

children

Unacceptable — The full face of the child isn’t visible. An object is obstructing the baby’s face.

Photo tip: The child’s full face must be visible.

children

Unacceptable — The background isn’t plain. Somebody’s holding the baby.

Photo tip: The background should be plain. Consider placing the child in a car seat with a white or off-white blanket behind the child.

children

Unacceptable — The baby isn’t looking into the camera.

Photo tip: The baby should face the camera directly.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Digital Alteration

Acceptable — The picture hasn’t been digitally altered.

Photo tip: None.

Digital Alteration

Unacceptable — The picture has been digitally overexposed.

Photo tip: The picture shouldn’t be digitally altered to make it look brighter.

Digital Alteration

Unacceptable — The picture has been cropped using a retouching tool. The head is especially altered and outlined.

Photo tip: The background shouldn’t be cropped, instead you must take your picture in front of a white/off-white background.

Digital Alteration

Unacceptable — The picture has been digitally altered to make it look thinner.

Photo tip: The shape of your face/picture shouldn’t be altered.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!

3. Attire Requirements 

  • Glasses: No glasses, sunglasses, or tinted glasses unless for medical reasons in which case a signed note from the doctor is needed. No red-eye photos.
  • Clothes: Casual daily wear. No uniforms or clothing that looks like a uniform. No camouflage attire is allowed. 
  • Head Coverings: No hats, caps, or head coverings unless for religious/medical purposes in which case a signed statement from people/doctor is needed that verifies the same. The head covering mustn’t hide the face. 
  • Hair: Open hair is okay till it doesn’t block the hairline or cast shadows on your face. 
  • Face Piercings/Other Accessories: Unless the jewelry/piercings hide or obstruct your face, they are good to go. No earphones, headphones, or wireless hands-free device.   
  • Tattoos: Permanent tattoos are okay for passport photos.
Glasses

Acceptable — The picture neither has glasses nor red-eye.

Photo tip: None

Glasses

Unacceptable — Glasses, in general, aren’t allowed.

Photo tip: Even if you wear glasses every day, you must remove the same before getting a picture clicked.

Glasses

Unacceptable — Red-eye pictures aren’t allowed.

Photo tip: In case of red-eye, you must take the picture again and not digitally alter it to remove the same.

Glasses

Unacceptable — Sunglasses are not allowed

Photo tip: You must remove your glasses before taking a picture.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Clothes

Acceptable — The applicant is wearing casual clothes.

Photo tip: None

Clothes

Acceptable — The applicant is wearing casual clothes.

Photo tip: None

Clothes

Unacceptable — The applicant is wearing a uniform.

Photo tip: Uniforms or clothing that looks like a uniform aren’t allowed.

Clothes

Unacceptable — The applicant is wearing camouflage attire

Photo tip: No camouflage attire allowed.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Head Coverings

Acceptable — Head coverings for religious purposes is allowed.

Photo tip: None

Head Coverings

Unacceptable — The head covering is hiding the hairline.

Photo tip: The head covering mustn’t hide the face or the headline.

Head Coverings

Acceptable — Head coverings for religious purposes is allowed.

Photo tip: None

Head Coverings

Unacceptable — Hats are not allowed.

Photo tip: You may not wear a hat or head covering, except for religious or medical purposes and with a signed statement.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Hair

Acceptable — Hair is tucked neatly behind the ears.

Photo tip: None

Hair

Unacceptable — Hair is obstructing some part of the face.

Photo tip: Adjust your hair so the entire face is visible.

Hair

Unacceptable — Hair is obstructing some part of the face.

Photo tip: Adjust your hair so the entire face is visible. Open hair is okay till it doesn’t block the hairline.

Hair

Unacceptable — Hair is casting a shadow on the applicant’s face.

Photo tip: Adjust your hair so the entire face is visible. Open hair is okay till it doesn’t block the hairline or cast shadows on your face.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Piercings

Acceptable — The jewelry worn by the applicant isn’t obstructing the face.

Photo tip: Unless the jewelry/piercings hide or obstruct your face, they are good to go.

Piercings

Unacceptable — An object is obstructing a part of the baby’s face.

Photo tip: Full face of the child must be visible.

Piercings

Unacceptable — The applicant is wearing earphones.

Photo tip: No earphones, headphones, or wireless hands-free devices are allowed.

Piercings

Unacceptable — The applicant is wearing a scarf which isn’t allowed.

Photo tip: Remove the scarf and then get clicked.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!
Tattoos

Acceptable — Permanent tattoos are okay for passport photos unless they obstruct the face.

Photo tip: None

Tattoos

Unacceptable — Too many tattoos and piercings that obstruct the face.

Photo tip: Go for a tattoo removal treatment.

Tattoos

Unacceptable — Too many tattoos and piercings that obstruct the face.

Photo tip: Go for a tattoo removal treatment.

Tattoos

Unacceptable — The tattoo is pretty decent and doesn’t obstruct the face.

Photo tip: Permanent tattoos are okay for passport photos unless they obstruct the face.

Here are some pictures to help you understand the requirements better!

Are Passport Photo Requirements Same As That Of A VISA? 

While the rules for passport photos are set by the country you reside in, the rules for VISA photos are set by the country you visit. For example, if you are a US resident and are booking flights to India, the photo dimensions for both are exactly the same.  

FAQs

Q: Can I smile in my passport photo?

Ans: Yes but the smile must be natural. It shouldn’t be exaggerated and mustn’t convert into a laugh. The eyes, however, must be open.

Q: Can I digitally alter my passport photo for red-eye or plain background?

Ans: No. Digitally altered photos are not allowed. 

Q: Will passport photos with closed eyes be acceptable?

Ans: Only in cases of infants (children under the age of 1) is it acceptable. The eyes of infants can either be completely closed or completely open. In other cases, closed eyes are strictly prohibited.

Q: Do I need a new passport photo if I’ve grown a beard or dyed my hair?

Ans: No. You need to get your passport photo changed only if your appearance has considerably changed. 

Q: Do I need to apply for a new passport if I’m undergoing aging?

Ans: No. As far as a person can be identified, there’s no need to undergo a change in the passport photo.

Well, that’s all about the passport photo requirements – USA.

The next step is to look for the best places to get passport photos near me. We have you sorted here as well.

And once your passport and visa requirements are in sync, MyTicketsToIndia can help you book the cheapest tickets to India from USA. With 13+ years of experience and 4.8 Trustscore, booking flights will be a breeze with us indeed. Expect 100% transparency and no hidden charges along with easy cancellations and swift refunds.

About Heena Ganotra | View Posts

A writer by both passion and profession, Heena Ganotra is "half agony, half hope" but all heart. And oh, she has been a book lover from the start! Her love for books is what convinced her to make a career in the wonderful world of words. She loves what she does and is out-and-out a satisfied soul with a wish to spread happiness like herpes. Insight- Some say she is living the best life anyone could because she reads, writes, travels, and makes merry. They’re right because what else does one really need! :)

Discuss this post ?

Your email address will not be published.

Name*
Email*