A Picture-Perfect Guide to the Passport Photo Requirements

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What Are the Passport Photo Requirements? Get the Ultimate Answer!

Are you planning to get a passport for a long-awaited holiday or an important business trip? One of the crucial aspects of applying for a new passport is having a valid passport photo.

If you want to avoid repeating the process several times, knowing basic passport photo requirements is necessary.

In this article, DoNotPay will explain all you need to know about having a passport picture taken, including the correct size, allowed facial expressions, and the approved attire. What’s more—we’ll show you a hassle-free way to take a passport photo at home!

What Are Passport Photo Requirements in the USA?

Before applying for a U.S. passport, you must prepare and submit two passport photos. If you fail to meet this and other basic passport photo demands set by the U.S. Department of State, your passport application won’t be processed.

Check out which essential U.S. passport photo requirements you should focus on:

  1. Photo size
  2. Head size
  3. Pose and expression
  4. Background
  5. Clothing
  6. Glasses and accessories
  7. Quality of the photo

Passport Photo Size

The passport photo should measure 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).

Passport Photo Head Size

The head (from the bottom of the chin to the top of the hair) must measure between 1 to 1 and 3/8 inches (25 to 35 mm). The eye level should be between 1 1/8 inches to 1 and 3/8 inches (28 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo.

U.S. Passport Photo Background

The photo must be taken against a white background. Your photo won’t be accepted if you take it in front of a background that’s:

  • Busy
  • Dark
  • Patterned

Passport Photo Clothing Requirements

Head coverings and hats are allowed only for the following reasons:

  • Religious
  • Medical

Even when you’re wearing them for one of those reasons, you must make sure they don’t cover a portion of your face.

It’s not acceptable to wear:

  • Tribal or a national costume or headgear not specifically religious in nature
  • Hats belonging to the military, airline, or any other uniform
  • Traditional face mask or vail that don’t allow a proper identification

Pose and Expression

When taking a passport photo, make sure to:

  • Face the camera directly
  • Avoid tilting your head or looking down or to the side
  • Expose your ears, if possible
  • Keep a neutral facial expression (it’s allowed to have a natural smile).

Glasses in a Passport Photo

Sunglasses, subscription glasses, or any other accessories detracting from the face should be removed when taking the passport photo, except for medical reasons (e.g., an eyepatch). If you can’t remove them, you need to submit a doctor’s statement together with your passport application.

Other Requirements for a Passport Photo

You shouldn’t submit a photo older than six months. The passport photo should:

  • Be in color
  • Present an accurate depiction of your skin tone
  • Not contain holes, creases, or smudges
  • Be properly executed (clear and without any shadows)
  • Be printed without any borders

If the photograph is stapled, the staples must be placed as far away as possible from your face.

How To Take a Passport Photo at Home

If you’re not keen on paying a hefty price for a passport picture, you can try snapping a photo at home and submitting it online. Bear in mind that you’ll have to follow the same strict rules described above when taking a digital photo by yourself.

Do you want to know how to go about the picture-taking process alone? Take a look at the table below for more details:

How To Take a Passport Photo at HomeDetails
Find a cameraUse any device that captures photos, such as:
Use a photographerAsk your friend or a family member to take your picture since selfies are not allowed. A tripod is helpful to keep the camera steady
Find a plain backgroundAvoid standing in front of patterned wallpaper and make sure to remove all objects from the frame
Adjust the photoCrop the image yourself to make sure it fits the standards we mentioned above
Check the lightingFace towards the window when having your picture taken to get natural lighting
Follow other passport photo requirementsAssume the correct posture, make sure not to wear any headgear or glasses, and try to keep a straight face

Bear in mind that while taking a passport photo alone might save you some money for the upcoming trip, it can also be quite a hassle. If you , you can get a quality photo for an affordable price without any delays!

DoNotPay Is Your Reliable U.S. Passport Photo Tool

Following U.S. passport photo regulations alone can be difficult. Any mistake can cause your application to be rejected, which may be inconvenient if you are in a hurry to travel.

Luckily, DoNotPay presents an option that is both practical and pocket-friendly. We will do all the heavy lifting by:

  • Adjusting the photo to make sure it fits the requirements
  • Informing you if the photo you have taken doesn’t meet the standards so you can take another one quickly

Here’s what you have to do after you :

  1. Find the Passport Photos tool
  2. Snap a photo of your face or upload the one you already have
  3. Choose if you want us to deliver two printed copies by mail or only digital photos via email

Depending on how much of a hurry you’re in, you can have the photos delivered between three and ten business days.

Where Else Can I Have a Passport Photo Taken?

If you’re a traditionalist, you can visit many other places to have your passport photo taken, including:

  • Retail stores (Walmart, Target)
  • Shipping centers (FedEx and UPS stores)
  • Professional photography studios
  • U.S. passport offices
  • Registered passport expeditors

Find your place of residence in the table below to see where you can have your passport photo taken:

San DiegoSacramentoBostonAlbuquerqueRaleigh
HoustonAtlantaPhoenixSan FranciscoDenver
CincinnatiRochesterLos AngelesColumbusScottsdale
HonoluluMinneapolisChicagoTallahasseeKansas City
New York CityPortlandPhiladelphiaAustinRockville
SeattleCharlestonSan JoseSan AntonioCharlotte
HerndonColvilleIndianapolisLas VegasBrooklyn

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