Picture Perfect Passport

Picture Perfect Passport

August 30, 2016 image of PAM Carousel Image.jpgIt is Passport Awareness Month and the U.S. Department of State wants you to have a picture perfect passport.

Bad photos are the #1 reason passport applications get held up during the application process.  In 2015, we received more than 200,000 unacceptable passport photos!  Submitting a passport application with a bad photo will delay processing your application and could interfere with planned travel.

That’s why during the month of September the U.S. Department of State is promoting the #PicturePerfectPassport campaign on our @TravelGov Twitter handle and the Bureau of Consular Affair’s Facebook page.

Save yourself the anxiety of delays and make sure you’re not making these mistakes!


1.   Glare on glasses

It’s tough not have glare on your glasses. It’s actually more common that you think. Glare can appear even when the camera doesn’t flash. So, it may be easier to take them off. Starting November 1, eye glasses will no longer be allowed in passport photos.

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2.   Overexposed or Underexposed

Photos that are too bright or that show shadows on your face will also cause you problems.  Your photo needs to be clear, reflecting your true skin tone.  Remember, photo filters are good for social media, not your passport photo.

3.   Photo is not recent

Your passport photo needs to have been taken within 6 months of submitting your passport photo.  We verify that the photo looks like you.  So, save your old photos for throw-back Thursdays.


4.   Image size

Selfies are a bad idea when it comes to passport photos.  Photos that are taken too close or too far away will be rejected. For help, use our smart photo tool.


5.   Low quality image or paper

Photo is blurry, grainy, pixelated, or printed on the wrong paper. Photos should be high resolution and not damaged.

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, go to our photo requirements to learn more about proper dimensions, see sample passport photos, and use our helpful photo tool.  With these additional tips and tools you are on your way to having a picture perfect passport.

 Get some quick tips for a great passport photo in this video.



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