What Happens If Your Passport Photo Gets Rejected?

One of the core reasons for passport denial is due to rejected passport photos. Many people do face the issue of bad passport photos being rejected for various reasons even though they might think that they have nailed it. This issue is a result that causes quite a major delay sometimes within your entire passport application procedure and may lead to further complications as well. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss what happens if a passport photo is rejected, the reason for the passport photo being rejected and what can you do about it in the most effective manner possible.

Standard Regulations For Passport Photos - Know These Before Applying:

Every U.S. passport must keep up with specified criteria devised by the U.S. Department of the State to acknowledge it. The organization has developed some essential rules and regulations for passport photos that you must follow, no matter if you are taking photos digitally or with the help of a visiting photographer. The standard passport photo must include the following

  • The photograph for the passport must be clicked within the time span of pas prior six months
  • Must be printed on a specified paper such as glossy or matte
  • Must be stapled at the required particular area on the application
  • Must have a specified size of the photo such as 2 x 2 inches (51 mm x 51 mm)


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What are the Major Reasons Behind Rejected Passport Photo? Take These Passport Photo Tips:

Many people have to apply for passport renewal these days majorly because they are unaware of the reasons. Below mentioned are some of the technical reasons and common problems regarding why a passport photo is likely to get rejected by the authorized department. In response to those errors, learn passport photo tips to avoid rejection.

Wrong Dimensions for Passport Size Photo:

The most impactful mistake behind rejection is when you don't attach regular/normal picture size with your application. The valid or standard size is 2x2” photo print. Besides, the US authorized department has also given a passport photo template for your face posture in the photo. 

Passport Photo Template:

  • According to standards given, first of all, your nose should be straight and in the center of the photo. 
  • Your face should also be centered in a way there should be some space between your head and top of the image. 
  • The positioning of the eyes should be between 1 ⅛- 1 ⅜ (1.125-1.1375 inches) from the lower edge or bottom of the passport photo.

Follow these passport photo tips to fix your photo size. 

Improper/Bad Passport Photo Backgrounds:

No black, skyblue or multi color passport photo background color is required. Only the plain white background without any wrinkles, stains or patches. Along with this, avoid everything in the background that can cause shadows in passport photo. 

You can use a plain white sheet or big poster board to avoid any reflection or shadow in your passport photo.

Bad Passport Photo Quality:

Excessive or bad lighting is also a major reason behind rejected passport photos. Remember, any sort of shadows in passport photo can be a straight denial to your application. So, there shouldn’t be too dark or bright lit up over your face. 

Evenly lighting with natural saturation and no additional image filters is required to make your passport photo look super professional. 

Moreover, the final product or photo prints are required in matte or glossy paper which should be in a finer tone, not too dark or bright.

Improper Wardrobe and Wearable Accessories:

This section includes many rules and regulations as people carry a lot of wearable accessories as a part of their styling and medical necessity. 

Firstly, the eyesight glasses were acceptable till 2016, but not accepted now. If you have a severe medical condition, without glasses there can be a harm to your physical health, you can add a medical certification from your doctor. In that case, there will be a possible exception for you to keep glasses at your face in passport photo. 

Another question most people ask regarding clothing is what to wear for a passport photo?

Wondering what are the choices available to you? The clothing for passport photo should be casual, no uniforms and camouflage pattern. Also, avoid head and hair bands, scarfs, bows and any type of ribbons.  

However, religious wearing like Muslim wears hijab, sikhs carry turbans, etc as religious obligations, requires a signed statement in that situation.

In terms of piercings, almost all facial piercings are unacceptable.  

The Bad Pose:

No bend shoulders, tilt head and unfocused eyes. Whether you pose while in sitting or standing position, your shoulders should be straight, head at 90 degrees, and eyes directly looking into the lens, neither widely open nor too close.

Apart from this, can you smile in a passport photo? Your emotions should be neutral or relaxed.

Revise the Regulations for Passport Photos in Points

Due to Photograph quality such as bad lighting, overexposure, underexposure, filters, wrong photo size, shadow, etc

Face positioning and expressions issue such as wide smile, frown, smirking, blinking, or any sort of over emotive face expression

Clothing and Accessories that is formally unacceptable – such as sunglasses, prescript glasses, hats, piercing, uniforms, reflective jewelry, head covering, tinted glasses etc

AfterMath of Rejected Passport Photos? What Essential Steps to Take? 

So, what happens if a passport photo is rejected? As you will submit your passport photo along with other required and important documents, you will be notified if the passport gets rejected and how to apply again due to a bad passport photo. The agency is responsible to inform you about the certain issue they have faced while dealing with and processing your application. They will, later on, disclose the required reason as well that lies behind the passport photo rejections.

Once you have received an official letter from the agency you are then required to resubmit the required photo again as per the instructions and predefined regulations for passport photo to avoid any further complications in the process because your application will be put on hold till the time you resubmit the right photograph.

The process of re-submitting photographs includes the following steps:

  • Creating a new photograph that matches all the official requirements and guidelines
  •  Attaching any further supporting document if required
  • Sending all the documentation back to the required department within the time span of 90 days after the letter is received

You can call the agency any time if you need any clarity on the instructions being given via call or email to get the required answers regarding the matter.

Cope Up With Rejected Passport Photos Like a Breeze:

It is important to be aware of all the legal formalities and documentation required while applying for a visa such as a passport photo. PassportsandVisas.com will surely assist you in speeding up your legal documentation and processes.

People Also Ask- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I Take My Own Passport Photo?

Yes, you can take your own passport photo. However, beware of the guidelines and regulations for passport photos to save your application from rejection and complexities afterwards.

What are the Required Pixels for Passport Size Photo?

The required Pixels for passport size photos of 2x2 inches should be minimum of 600 x 600 and maximum of pixels.

Can You Change Your Passport Photo?

If your photo gets rejected, there is a 90-day threshold to change your photo and replace it with a perfect one that meets all the guidelines and passport photo regulation. If you don’t take any step in 90 days, then you again have to apply for passport renewal and pay the fee.

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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