Applying for a passport and wondering whats the best way to get a passport photo?  Where can I get a passport photo?  What are the passport photo requirements?  You have found the place for answers!

First of all, many people get "passport" photos for different reasons.  You obviously need the photo for passports, whatever your nationality is.  Next, you might need photos for a visa application.  Finally, you might need photos for general purpose or work ID's.  For this article we will focus more on US Passport photos and help you get started!

passport photo

What are the requirements of a US Passport Photo?

Passport photos have very specific requirements for size, color, framing of the photo, lighting and more!

Your US passport photographs must meet the following requirements per the State Department:

  • Passport photo must be In color.
  • 2 x 2 inches in size.
  • Printed on thin, photo-quality paper.
  • Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance.
  • Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background.
  • Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Taken in normal street attire: Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except religious attire that is worn daily.
  • Do not wear a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hair line.
  • If you normally wear a hearing device, wig or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture.
  • Eye glasses will no longer be allowed in passport photos, unless you can provide a medical doctor note indicating it's needed.
  • Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required).
  • Articles worn for religious or medical reasons should be accompanied by a statement to that effect.

Where can I get a passport photo?

There are many places available for you to get a passport photo. At least one photo is required when applying for most passport services. Where you get a passport photo is important because submitting an unacceptable picture that doesn't meet the requirements can be a reason for your passport application to be delayed.  So, lets dive into your choices.

Drug Stores and Pharmacies for your Passport Photo

The three largest pharmacy chains in the United States are CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. All three of these chain and more can provide passport photos for you.  All total these 3 chains have over 20,000 locations, so you should have no problem finding a location to take your passport photo.  The price for a passport photo is typically in the $15 range.

Shipping Center like Fedex and UPS

Both FedEx and UPS offer passport photo services. Fedex Office Print and Ship Services and UPS both offer services very similiar to the Drug Stores in that you can walk in spend around $15 and in 15 minutes you can have professional taken passport photos that meet the standards provided by the State Department.  Make sure to check with the UPS and Fedex store as not all of them offer these services.

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Passport Acceptance Agents like Post offices 

When you are applying for a new US passport, you'll need to visit a local post office,clerk of the court or library to complete your application.  In some instances, the passport acceptance agent (postal worker, etc) can provide these passport photo services.  Much like the Fedex and UPS stores ensure this service is available.  Don't assume these services are available.

Retail stores for your Passport Photos

WalMart and Costco both provide passport photos.  In the case of Costco, you have the be a club member but generally the photos re slightly less expensive.

Can You Take Your Own Passport Photos?

You don’t have to go to a passport photo center and pay extra for official passport photos, but if you take them yourself you need to be aware of the rules and requirements of an accepted paspsort photo.  Selfies are definitely a challenge, so ensure someone else is taking the photo.