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Photo Requirements

US Passport Photo Requirements

Sample photo (State Dept.)

Sample photo

How many passport photos are required to be submitted with the passport application?
One photo must be submitted with the passport application.

What type of paper is the photograph to be printed on?
The photo should be printed on thin photo-quality paper.

Do the photo have to be in color?
Yes, the photo must be in color.

How recent must the photo be?
The photo must be no older than 6 months.

How big must the photo be?
The photo must measure exactly 2 inches by 2 inches.

What pose should the photo show?
The photo should show a clear, front view, full face of the customer. The customer should be in normal street attire, without hat or dark glasses against a plain white or off-white background. The customer should have a natural expression, mouth closed, and eyes open and looking directly ahead. Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.

How big should the head be in the photo?
The customer's head, measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the hair, should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches. The head should be centered in the photo. The head of the person being photographed should not be tilted up, down or to the side. It should cover about 50% of the area of the photo.

Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo?
Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear should be removed for the photo. Headgear worn as religious attire is acceptable as long as the face is not obscured.

Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?
Eyeglasses worn on a daily basis can be worn for the photo. However, there should be no reflections from the eyeglasses that obscures the eyes.

Can sunglasses or tinted glasses be worn?
Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons. A medical certificate may be required.

Can work uniforms be worn for the photo?
Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. Otherwise, normal street attire should be worn.

Can a parent or guardian appear in the photo of a minor child?
No, the minor child must be the only subject in the photo. Nothing used to support the minor child, whether by mechanical or human means, should be in the camera's frame.

Is a photo that is copied from a recent driver license or other official documents acceptable?
No, only an original photograph is acceptable. Copied or digitally scanned photos of photos will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be retouched to alter the customer's appearance in any way.

Are snapshots, magazine photos, or photos from vending machine acceptable?
No, snapshots, magazine photos, most vending machine prints, or full-length photographs are not acceptable.

May the photo be taken with a digital camera?
If the digital camera has sufficient resolution -- capable of capturing and storing images with 1 million pixels (megapixels) or more -- it can be used to take the photo. However, printing of digital images is best done by professional photography processing labs because many off-the-shelf digital printers cannot achieve the image-quality required for passport and visa photographs. The image-quality criteria, described on this website, must be met whether the submitted photo is conventional film or digital.


Last modified: March 2, 2011