Passport photos are the number one reason a passport application can be denied. One of the major requirements for passport application is your passport photo; this requires the proper dimensions required and quality required for it to be valid. Many applications are suspended or rejected due to unmet photo requirements. Over 400,000 passport applications were denied last year for an improper passport photo, sizes, backgrounds, and various other reasons. As of November 1st, 2016 passport holders can no longer wear glasses in your photo. To ensure you get your photo accepted, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
General Guidelines for Passport Photo
Passport photos must be:
- Printed on high-quality (glossy or matte) photo paper
- In color
- 2 inches by 2 (51mm x 51mm) inches in size
- Should be obvious that it’s different than the previous photo used
- Was shot within the past six months
Requirements – Photo Composition
- facing forward, neutral face expression
- white and plain background
- lighting is even and no shadow or glare obscuring
- your head must be between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches measured from top of the head to the chin on the printed photo
What To Wear?
The following are not allowed:
- Eyeglasses, any type (as of November 1, 2016), includes sunglasses
- Hair bows, head scarves, headbands
*Religious headgears worn on daily like headscarf or yarmulke can be worn in the photo as long as it does not cover your face. A letter must be submitted that the headgear is worn daily as a part of religious practices.
* Attire suggestions :
- Ensure you are wearing a different attire from your old passport photo
- Bangs are accepted as long as both eyes are visible.
- A shirt with a very tight neckline or with a collar is recommended so as not to make you look naked when the photo is cropped.
Children – Passport Photo
Same requirements with adults are subjected to children and babies. Taking photos of children can be difficult so here are some tips to guide you:
- Other objects are not allowed (toys, pacifiers, etc.)
- Only the child should be in the photo, not even a parent’s hands.
- Hair bows or hats are allowed, but not headbands
- The child needs to look at the camera directly with both of his eyes open. (Babies 6 months and under can have eyes partially closed.)
- You can place the child on a white blanket or sheet and just shoot the image from above
Taking My Passport Photo On My Own
Passport photos should be taken by professionals; there are numerous services for passport photo in a city. However, you can still do this as long as you follow the requirements and guidelines:
- Don’t use devices like a smartphone or others, opt for a high-quality digital camera
- Only the feature for red-eye reduction can be used, digital editing is not allowed
- 300dpi at least is needed, 600 by 600 pixels and 1200 by 1200 pixels is the required dimensions
- For photo formatting, the State Department’s has a free photo sizing tool
- The photo should be printed in color using a laser printer or an inkjet.
If you feel comfortable taking your own photos, there are a few great passport and visa photo applications available for download for your smartphone. We really recommend the Passport Photo Creator. This application uses facial recognition and biometrics so you can always take the #pictureperfectpassport. The app also has a version where you can take your passport photo and print in over 60 countries. You also have the option to print the photo to your local Walgreens.