No Jacket Required—DoNotPay’s Tips on What To Wear for Passport Photo Shoots

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

What To Wear for Passport Photo Sessions

However tempting it may be to dress up to the nines for any photoshoot, getting a passport photo is more about sticking to the rules and requirements.

DoNotPay has all the info you need on what to wear for passport photo purposes, helping you avoid your picture being rejected!

What Not To Wear for a Passport Photo

The dress code for a passport photo is not heavily prescribed. While, in theory, you can wear almost anything you want, officials want to be able to concentrate on recognizing your face when they check your identity. Any distracting clothing runs the risk of incurring their wrath when you put in your passport application.

The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs does prohibit uniforms, fatigues, or camouflage clothing. Apart from that, the clothing guidelines are not published but are widely accepted to be as follows:

Clothing ItemExplanation
TopYou should avoid loud or garish colors and go for something neutral. Your top can have a collar as long as it doesn’t encroach on the area of your face
Hats or headwearHats and headwear are prohibited unless you have to wear them for medical or religious reasons. Note that the headdress must not cover any part of your face.

You should add a signed statement to your passport application that you are wearing the headpiece as a member of a recognized religion or that you need it due to a medical condition

Glasses, sunglasses, and eye patchesYou should take your glasses off for your passport photo unless you can provide a doctor’s statement saying that you need to keep them on for medical reasons. The same applies to eye patches if worn. Sunglasses and tinted glasses are a no-no—anything that hides your eyes will lead to your photo being rejected
Tattoos, jewelry, and piercingsYou can’t remove a facial tattoo, so it is acceptable in your passport photo. Permanent piercings are similarly allowed, and discreet jewelry such as earrings should not present a problem as long as no part of your face is obscured
HairstyleYour hair needs to be styled in such a way that it doesn’t hide your eyes, although bangs or a fringe are fine if that is your normal hairstyle

Can I Wear Make-Up for a Passport Photo?

Light make-up is acceptable for a passport photo, but similar rules apply as with dress and jewelry—less is more.

Kiss-style facial paint will result in your photo being rejected, but a light layer to cover up minor imperfections should be acceptable. The rule of thumb is that you should attempt to look as natural as possible in your passport photo.

There are strict rules on using software to edit or enhance your digital passport photo. The following actions are strictly prohibited:

  • Recoloring or touching up skin blemishes
  • Removing red-eye
  • Changing the background color
  • Sharpening or altering the contrast of the photo
  • Adding filters of any kind

If you are not happy with your photo, your best course of action is to take another one or accept and embrace your imperfections.

How To Take a Good Passport Photo

The basic rules on how to take the perfect passport photo refer to the following:

  1. Photo size
  2. Background
  3. Facial expression

Photo Size

Your passport photo needs to be borderless and measure exactly 2 x 2” (51 mm x 51 mm). Your head must be between 1 and 1 3/8” (2.5 cm and 3.5 cm) when measured vertically, and it has to be in the center of the photo.


The background in your photo must be plain white, and you need to make sure there are no shadows visible. If the outline of your head is not clearly discernible in your picture, the photo will be rejected.

Facial Expression

You should keep your eyes open, your mouth closed, and your expression neutral in your passport photo. A smile is acceptable as long as it isn’t exaggerated and doesn’t distort your features, but avoid smiling if you want to be sure.

Where Can I Get a Passport Photo?

You can get a passport photo in the following locations:

  • U.S. passport offices, usually located within post offices
  • Courier services, such as UPS, USPS, or FedEx
  • Retail outlets, like Walmart and Target
  • Pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens

Bearing in mind that you will have to travel to these, wait while your photo is processed, and pay up to $15 for two prints of your photo, you may decide that taking your passport photo at home is an easier—and cheaper—option.

If you want to take your own photo, you will need a good-quality cell phone, tablet, or digital camera. The process is as follows:

  1. Make sure you take a photo that is in line with the requirements above
  2. Crop your photo—but do not enhance it—using your own software or an online editing tool
  3. Print your photo on photo paper
  4. Cut it to the correct dimensions

While you can prepare your own passport photos, DoNotPay can make your life considerably easier. We can remove all the hassle by !

Rely on DoNotPay To Get Your Perfect Passport Photo!

DoNotPay ensures your passport photo fits the bill!

We can edit and crop your photo and get it back to you ready to be attached to your application—all you need to do is:

  1. in your web browser
  2. Click on our Passport Photos feature
  3. Upload your photo
  4. Choose whether you want to receive two printed copies by mail

DoNotPay will get to work and process your passport photo for perfect compliance!

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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