Guidelines for taking passport photos

aipassportphoto.com / 2023-03-07

A passport photo composition

You might be a little nervous about taking the passport photo yourself considering the above statistics. The task is actually much easier than you might think. All you need to do is follow a few simple, but very intuitive, rules set by the officials. You will have a perfect passport photo ready for submission if you can do this. To ensure your passport photo conforms to the requirements, you should learn the guidelines for photo composition.

What size passport photo is acceptable?

Let's first look at the technical aspects of creating your passport photo. You must ensure that your image is exactly the right size and cropped to meet all requirements.

The official U.S passport image guidelines will provide the following criteria for the size:

  • 2 by 2 inches (51 x 51mm)
  • The head should be approximately 1-1/3 inches (25-35 mm) long from the base of the chin to top of the head.

It means that your photo must be square and in a 2-by-2-inch format. You also need to position your head appropriately within the picture. These rules only regulate the best cropping for passport photos.

The picture should be:

  • High resolution with no blurs or grains;
  • Print on matte or glossy photo quality paper
  • Digitally changing should not be done.

The second part is easy to fulfill. After all, this is the default method of printing photos. Things get more complicated with the first requirements. There is an easy and reliable way to do this. You can read more about it in the text.

Which facial expressions are allowed?

Your head may be up and about, trying to figure out the dimensions. Passport photos cannot be taken with a frowned forehead. Relax your facial muscles and yourself, and keep a neutral expression.

These are the steps to follow if you want your passport photo taken.

  • You can either sit down or stand straight.
  • Face the camera directly with your head centered. Keep your eyes open.
  • Keep your face straight, and don't tilt it sideways or backwards.
  • Keep your eyes open to the camera, and try not to smile. This is the best expression.

A subtle smile is also permitted in passport photos. If you choose to be more joyful, however, any unusual expressions or facial expressions will be rejected.

Bonus tip: Don't wear jewelry or glasses. Normal street clothes are best.

Is it acceptable to have shadows in a photograph?

Let me quickly answer your question: No. Make sure you choose a suitable location to take your passport photo before you begin. The official U.S passport picture guidelines recommend that you use a plain white background. It doesn't necessarily have to be white. A light gray or whitish background will do.

No matter what color your background is, there are some rules you must follow:

  • The background should be uniform and free from any irregularities
  • There can't be any objects behind your back;
  • Shadows are strictly prohibited

If you're taking your passport photo, you should locate a white wall that faces a window. You can use a blanket, or any other material if you don't own one.

Shadows, as mentioned previously, are not permitted. Shadows are not allowed in your background or on your face. Avoid bright, direct lighting sources as they will cast visible shadows. Although some sources suggest that you can tolerate small shadows around your ears, this is not recommended by the official guidelines. Natural daylight is best, but professional studio lamps are also available. No matter what light source you use, ensure that the lighting is consistent and subtle. 

Can I pose with facial injuries for a passport photo?

This is where we reach a crossroads. If you submit a photograph with a minor facial injury such as a bruise, or scar, it will most likely be rejected. If you're unable to wait for your injury to heal, postponing the passport photo session is strongly recommended.

However, there are some situations where you can't wait and need to have your passport updated immediately. You can have your passport stamped with a cut, bruise, or bandage if you are in such a situation. This comes with strings attached and some restrictions.

You must justify a facial injury when applying for a visa. The proper documentation will be required to prove your case. Every case is unique and the officer will decide whether to accept or deny your application based on the facts. If your application is successful, your passport will be issued, but it will only be temporary. You will need a case note to prove that the photo was accepted to facilitate urgent travel in order to use the limited validity passport. This note will be provided by the authorities.

The passport you are issued for an emergency only applies during the emergency. This means that you will need to obtain a new passport at the cost of your trip. You may face difficulties at the border if you continue to legitimate yourself with your passport.

You might be allowed to take a passport photo with visible injuries or bandages if you are not traveling urgently. If your head is not covered, you can have a cover for religious or medical reasons. If you are in this situation, your doctor will need to provide a medical certificate and justification for the use of bandages or other medical elements. It is especially important if the treatment is ongoing.

No matter what the circumstance, your face must always be visible. The bandages must not be applied to your entire face as it makes it difficult for officers to identify you. If you are unsure and want to get more information, it's best to contact the appropriate personnel, such as a passport office.

How do you take your passport picture easily?

You were promised an easy-to-use and reliable tool that would allow you to crop your photo for passport purposes. This is the most difficult part of the whole process. Therefore, it is important to use tools that can generate passport photos in accordance with the official regulations.

AiPassportPhoto is the app with the best price-quality ratio. Forbes is not the only one who has appreciated its innovative solutions and ease-of-use.

AiPassportPhoto lets you upload a previously taken photo to the system so that it can be scanned using Artificial Intelligence algorithms. It analyzes the requirements for passport photos, including background, size and dimensions. The program then adjusts your photo accordingly, such as converting your background to a plain white background. You will receive a flawless passport photo. All of this is possible in seconds from your home.

AiPassportPhoto seems to know that you may have difficulty choosing the right photograph so it allows you to upload as many photos as you like. Once you are satisfied with all aspects of your passport photograph, you only pay for the final result.

You also get a bonus, a guarantee of acceptance. AiPassportPhoto boasts a nearly 100% success rate. If your photo is rejected by authorities, you will be eligible for a 100% refund.

Guide to passport photo-FAQs

We'll end with a few questions on passport photo requirements.

Are you able to show your teeth on a passport photograph?

You can show your teeth in your passport photo. However, it is best to smile naturally and gently. Your photo application might be rejected if your expression is too dramatic or outlandish.

Are passport photos allowed to show your ears?

According to U.S. passport photo guidelines, your ears are not required to be visible. You can cover them with your hair, or if necessary by religious or medical headwear.

Can I have hair on my face in a passport photo?

The official requirements say that all facial details must be visible, including the forehead.

Is it necessary to shave my beard for passport photos?

You don't have to shave your beard if you are a regular wearer of it.

Can I wear a hairband on a passport photograph?

The U.S. passport photo does not allow accessories for the head.

Are earrings allowed in passport photos?

You can wear jewelry and facial piercings. However, they must be very small so as not to create shadows or glares.

Is it possible to have a passport photo with only one face?

A U.S. passport photo must include the head, neck, and shoulders.

Is it possible to take my passport photo and apply a bandaid to my face?

Only a signed statement from your doctor can be used to accept any bandages or patches.

Can I take a passport photo with a bruised face?

A photo showing a temporary injury will generally not be accepted by passport offices. It can, however, be accepted for urgent replacements and emergency passports.

Is it possible to accept a passport photo if the image is too large?

No. The requirements specify that the face size must meet the specified range.

Can I take a passport picture with my face down?

No. Applicants must face the camera straight in front of it, and not tilt their heads in any direction.

What is the passport photo size?

Official guidelines stipulate that the head should measure 1 to 1 3/8 inches from the chin up to the top.

Which facial expressions can be used in a passport picture?

The U.S. passport photo requirements require that passport photos be taken with a neutral expression of the face or natural smile.

Summary of Passport photo guide - passport photo face guide

Simpler is better. If there were a golden rule for passport photography, it would be this: It is important to keep things simple and avoid complicating matters by keeping the surrounding, including clothing, mimics and surroundings, simple.

If you find yourself in an unusual situation and require a passport with limited validity, you should consult an officer at a Passport Acceptance Facility (or National Agency) as they can provide the best information about your passport photo. No matter what your circumstances may be, you can now have your passport photo taken online in just seconds.

Make US Passport Photo
Make US Passport Photo