Passport Size Photo Rules Explained

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Say Cheese? How To Get the Perfect Passport Size Photo With DoNotPay

Every few years, the time comes when you have to renew your passport or ID, meaning that you need to capture a portrait that will represent you for years to come.

Before diving in, you should know that the requirements for a passport photo are strict.

DoNotPay takes you through the criteria for a passport-size photo and shows you how to get the perfect image in a few clicks!

What Does a Passport Photo Have To Look Like?

Passport photos have to fulfill certain conditions so that any official can verify your identity either manually or digitally.

The criteria are grouped into the following categories:

  1. Size of photo
  2. Position and dimensions of the face
  3. Background
  4. Clothing
  5. Facial expression

Size of Photo

To conform to the regulations, passport photo dimensions have to be exactly 2 x 2” (51 mm x 51 mm).

Position and Dimensions of Face

Your face has to be in the center of the picture, and you must look directly into the camera.

The dimensions of the head should be between 1” and 1 3/8” (2.5 cm to 3.5 cm) if you measure from top to bottom.

Both your ears should be visible.


The photo background must be plain white—other colors or textures are not allowed.

The background should also be such that the outline of your head is distinguishable from it.


You should wear neutral colors that do not distract from your face, and headgear is prohibited unless it is worn for religious reasons.

If your religion requires a headdress of any kind, it should be worn in such a way that it does not obscure any part of your face. You should also include a signed statement to verify that the head covering is a requirement of a recognized religion.

Glasses, sunglasses, or eyepatches are not allowed unless for medical reasons, and the same rule applies to any other accessory. If you are wearing anything that hides part of your face for medical reasons, you need to provide a signed doctor’s statement.

Facial Expression

Your facial expression should be neutral. You are allowed to use a “natural smile,” but it should not be exaggerated, and both your eyes must be open. Your mouth should be closed.

The safest route is not to smile.

Where Can I Get a Passport-Size Photo?

You can get a passport photo in many different locations—here are a few examples:

Passport Photo LocationsExamples
Courier servicesCouriers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and the USPS offer passport photo services in many outlets. You can check online or call your local outlet to confirm they offer the service
Retail storesRetail outlets such as Walmart and Target often have photo booths where you can have a passport photo taken
PharmaciesPharmacies such as Walgreens or CVS sometimes offer a passport photo service. You should check with your local outlet to make sure
Photo studiosProfessional photographers will usually be willing to shoot passport photos, but you should bear in mind that, while the quality may be excellent, the cost may be considerably higher
U.S. passport officesPassport application centers usually offer a passport photo service—many of these centers are located in post offices and offer a one-stop shop for the whole process of passport application

Passport Photo Costs

Depending on where you get your passport photo done, the cost will range between $4.99 and $15.

You will normally receive two printed photos included in the price.

Can I Shoot My Own Passport Photo at Home?

You can take your own passport photo at home using a camera or your cellphone, but you must be sure to adhere to the rules, or your passport application may be rejected.

Cheap disposable cameras rarely offer the resolution you will need for your passport photo, so a good cellphone, tablet, or digital camera is essential.

You will need the help of a friend or family member as selfies are not allowed.

You must crop your passport photo to the correct size using either your computer’s built-in software or an online passport photo editing tool. Make sure that your head conforms to the correct dimensions relative to the whole photo.

Once you are satisfied that all the criteria are met, you can print your own copies and cut them at home, but they must be printed on photo paper and cut to the exact dimensions.

As an alternative, many retail outlets and pharmacies offer an online passport photo printing service for as little as $0.35. You can:

  • Upload your photo
  • Collect the photo in store once it is ready

The easiest and most cost-effective option is to use DoNotPay’s passport photo feature—we can without you having to leave home!

Get Your Passport Photos With Zero Hassle From DoNotPay

DoNotPay takes all the inconvenience out of getting passport photos!

Using DoNotPay’s passport photo feature is as easy as saying cheese—all you have to do is:

  1. in your web browser
  2. Click on our Passport Photos product
  3. Take a photo and upload it
  4. Choose whether you want to receive two printed copies sent via mail

DoNotPay will do the rest—we will process your photo and make sure it:

  • Is sized correctly
  • Conforms to the stipulations

We will let you know if you need to take a different photo. If everything is in order, we will send you a photo quickly via email. If you choose to get printed copies via mail, you should receive them within three to ten days.

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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