US passport photo requirements
One of the first rules when applying for a new U.S. passport or visa (both on the travel.state.gov website or offline): always make sure your photo meets official passport photo requirements. Incorrect size, format, eye placement, facial expression or clothing can result in your application being rejected.
In this article we list in detail passport photo requirements the USA government imposes for all applicants.
Note that the USA passport photo rules are the same as the photo requirements for USA visa and for Diversity Lottery. The following information is valid for all these photo types.
USA passport photo format and size
The standard photo size for all major documents in the U.S. is 2x2 inches (51x51 mm). For online submission its pixel size should be 600x600 pixels (i.e. 2x2 inches at 300 DPI), and width to height ratio is 1:1.
USA passport photo specifications include not only the size of the image, but also the position of the head: it must be centered and sized between 1 and 1 3/8 inches (about 25 and 35 mm). The optimal head height, including the top of the hair, is 1.3 inches. The distance from the bottom of the image to the eye line must be within 1 1/8 inches to 1 3/8 inches (that is 1.125 to 1.375” or 29 to 35 mm). The picture should include shoulders.
USA passport photo background must be plain white or off-white with no shadows and any objects.
Color and lighting
The photo must be clear and in color, with no strong shadows, blurring or visible pixels.
Pose and facial expression
The applicant should look directly at the camera with eyes clearly seen. Shoulders should be kept straight. The facial expression should be neutral, although a natural smile is acceptable.
Some passport officers require that ears should be visible too.
Passport photo clothing requirements
USA passport photo rules do not allow the following items and accessories:
- Glasses (even if they are worn every day);
- Headwear, except for religious or medical purposes that should be confirmed with a signed statement. Anyway, the clothing shouldn’t obscure the face and forehead;
- Uniform of any kind.
More information can be found at the Department of State website.
US passport photo guidelines
One of the fastest ways to make a compliant U.S. passport or visa photo is to use speсialized online tools. Visafoto.com instantly converts a photo so that it meets all the U.S. passport photo criteria.
Getting the passport photo online: instructions
- Take a photo of yourself against any background. Look directly into the camera and keep your shoulders straight;
- Make sure the photo matches clothing requirements mentioned above and there are no strong shadows at the picture;
- Load the photo to Visafoto.com and get the immediate result. The service will adjust the background, set the required size and format and improve image quality. The technical support is ready to answer all of your questions in the 24x7 mode.
You can use the same instructions for the USA visa photo guidelines as well.
How to check if my U.S. passport or visa photo matches the requirements?
For this purpose you can use the US passport photo checker from the DVLottery.me website. The tool has been specifically designed to check the photo for the criteria set by the US Department of State.
Incorrect photo example
Valid photo example
If for any reason the photo purchased at Visafoto.com doesn't pass the checks, contact our support. We will fix the photo for free. For your convenience, the support is available 24/7.