Your photo is a vital part of your passport application. To learn more, review the information below on how to provide a suitable photo to avoid passport processing delays. The acceptance of your photo is always at the discretion of the U.S. passport agency.
We recommend you use a professional passport photo service to ensure your photo meets all the requirements.
If you are applying for a U.S. Passport, you must provide one (1) photo. Your passport photo must be:
- In color
- Printed on photo quality paper
- 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
- Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis:
- Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
- Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
- Headphones, wireless hands-free devices or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
- If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn for your photo.
- Dark glasses or non-prescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required)
- Glare on glasses is not acceptable in your photo. Glare can be avoided with a slight downward tilt of the glasses or by removing the glasses or by turning off the camera flash.
Review the Photo Examples to see examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos. Photos copied or digitally scanned from driver’s licenses or other official documents are not acceptable. In addition, snapshots, magazine photos, low quality vending machine or mobile phone photos, and full-length photographs are not acceptable.
Need help with some photography terms? View our Glossary
Want to take the photo yourself?
While we recommend you use a professional passport photo service to ensure your photo meets all the requirements, you may take the photo yourself. Hand-held self portraits are not acceptable. Photos must not be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way. Please review the following technical requirements and references for guidance on taking your own passport photo.
- Photographer’s Guide
- Photo Composition Template
Taking photos of your baby or toddler
When taking a photo of your baby or toddler, no other person should be in the photo, and your child should be looking at the camera with his or her eyes open.
Tip 1: Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. This will ensure your baby’s head is supported and provide a plain background for the photo. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby’s face, especially if you take a picture from above with the baby lying down. Tip 2: Cover a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat. This will also ensure your baby’s head is supported.
Change of Appearance
Your passport may not be accepted at the border if your appearance has changed significantly or if you cannot be identified from the photo in your current passport.
If you cannot be identified from your current passport photo, you should apply for a new passport, even if your old one has not yet expired (appropriate fees required).
You may have to apply for a new passport if, from the time of your last passport photo, you have:
- Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
- Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
- Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
- Made a gender transition
If you feel that you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport, you do not need to apply for a new passport. For example, growing a beard or coloring your hair would not constitute a significant change.
If the appearance of your child under the age of 16 has changed due to the normal aging process, you do not need to apply for a new passport for him or her.
Source: US Department of State