What Are the Requirements for a Passport Photo?

Taking passport photos - what a pain! Thanks to passport authority standards, there are so many requirements are needed to be met, its a challenge to ensure that your passport photos meet the government requirements. 

But what exactly are these passport photo equirements?

That’s the subject we address in today's post. 

Before we begin, a small disclaimer: not all countries have the same passport photo requirements. However, these guidelines apply to most countries as well. Jurisdictions tend to standardize their passport photo rules to ensure their citizens can travel to as many countries as possible. 

So, without further ado, let’s run through the requirements for your passport photos!


Perfect Passport Photo Requirements

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General Passport Photo Quality Requirements

Your passport photo must: 

Passport Photos Must Be In Color

While greyscale photos are a popular choice for professional mugshots, they’re a big no-no for passports. Always take pictures in color so that immigration can be assisted in ensuring it's you presenting the passport. 

Passport Photos Must Be In Focus

Blurry photos are not allowed. The picture should resolve all of the details of your face, including any blemishes. 

Minimum Photo Size Of 600px Wide And 750px Tall

The authorities believe that any less than this is insufficient for resolving facial details. 

Be More Than 50KB And Less Than 10MB

Digital photo submissions must be within a specific size range. So before you send off your photo, open properties, and check the file size. 

Passport Photo Composition Requirements

Your passport photo must:

Not include Red Eye in the passport photo

The governmental authorities will not accept a passport photo if your eyes are any color other than their natural tone. 

Have A Plain, Light Background

White, off-white, cream and beige backgrounds are acceptable. Darker backgrounds increase the likelihood of rejection. Authorities will outright reject any patterns, shadwos or objects in the background. 


Passport Photo Size

Passport Photo Must Be In Contrast With The Background

The subject in your passport photo (i.e you) must be clearly contrasted to the background itself. The two should not appear to blend in any way. 

The Photo Must Have Just a Single Subject

Your passport photo should be a mugshot of you, and you alone - no children, partners, family or fields.

Rules For How You Should Appear In Passport Photos

There are also several rules for how you must appear personally in passport photos. 

Here’s a quick rundown. You must: 

Not Have Any Shadows On Your Face

If there are shadows, please check and adjust the lighting. Sometimes, lights from above can cause your brows to cast shadows on your cheeks. 

No Smiling in your Passport Photo, Just a natural look

Sorry - but smiling isn’t allowed on passport photos! Just relax your facial muscles so that you have a neutral expression. 

Keep Your Mouth Closed

You don’t want to relax your face too much, though. If your mouth is open, the authorities will reject your passport photo. 

Open Your Eyes And Make Them Visible

Passport authorities will reject photos in which you’re blinking. They will also reject those where your hair covers your eyes, so keep it brushed back.

Look Straight At The Camera for your Passport Photo

Look right into the lens of the camera you are using, whether it’s a smartphone, DSRL, or tablet. Don’t look off to the side. 

If you’re using a handheld device, don’t look at the screen. It will cause your gaze to drift away from the camera lens. 

Not Have Hair Covering Your Face

If you have long hair or a lengthy fringe, make sure that it does not cover your face. It is okay for it to cover your forehead, but it should finish above the brow, allowing authorities to see your eyebrows, cheeks, nose and chin. 

Not Include A Head Covering (Except For Religious Observance)

Beanies, peaked caps, crowns, helmets, sweatbands and most other types of headwear are forbidden. The exception is religious headwear. However, you will need to ensure that it does not cover any part of your face below the brow. 

Not Include Any Headwear Accessories

For instance, you should not perch your glasses on top of your head for the photos. 

Not Have A Shadow Behind Your Head

Lastly, you are not allowed to have a shadow behind your head, cast onto the background. 

Is There An Easier Way to take. Perfectr Passport Photo?

As you can see, taking passport photos yourself is a massive hassle and involves following a lot of rules. It turns out, though, that there’s a much easier way: the Perfect Passport Photo app

The way it works is simple: you just take a photo of yourself and then the app adjusts it to meet government standards. That’s all there is to it. It’s so much easier than going down the DIY route, trying to follow all the rules yourself.

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and Visas.com, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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