There is no single rule that will guarantee a perfect passport photo. Before you begin, it is important to fully understand the U.S. passport photo requirements.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of State a unfit photograph is the number one reason for rejection of passport applications during processing. Let’s see what officials have to say about this matter in order to avoid it.
Let’s start with the technicalities. If you want to take your passport photo, ensure that the lighting conditions are right. Underexposed photos won’t be accepted. It is best to use natural light. For example, you can pose in front of a windowsill. Shadows on passport photos are strictly prohibited, whether they be behind or on your face.
There are a few things your passport picture must comply with. The base must be the right size and proportions.
- Photographs must be at least 2 by 2 inches (5×5 cm) in size.
- When measured vertically, your head should be between 1 and 1 3/8″.
Print your passport photos on glossy or matte paper, and send one copy to the appropriate passport offices.
Now that you have mentioned this, it is time to move on to more personal criteria such as:
- Facial hair
- Dress code
Passport photo: Keep it neutral
A bright smile is not the best way for you to pose for photos of official documents, as you may have already figured. This section will explain the passport guidelines for your face: from make-up to mimics.
The U.S. Department of State guidelines state that is the most friendly facial expression. Although a subtle, natural smile is acceptable, it’s best to avoid it if your photograph is not accepted. Stand straight up and stare into the camera with your eyes closed. Blinking is prohibited, it’s not surprising.
You can use makeup if you wish, but only in a restricted amount. Passport photos are only allowed to use gentle, natural makeup You run the risk of having your passport photo rejected if you try to make your face look more dramatic with cosmetics.
Keep in mind that your photo must accurately reflect your biometric features. You must not cover imperfections such as scars or birthmarks.
This is a quick list that will help you remember the basics.
- Shadows are prohibited. Your entire face must be visible.
- Keep a neutral facial expression;
- Keep both your eyes open.
- A natural smile is acceptable, but not recommended.
- It is acceptable to use simple makeup, but it is not recommended.
Passport photo hair: Limit the accessories
There is no official rule that regulates what hairstyles are allowed on passport photos . One could assume that any hairstyle is acceptable, but it is important to be careful.
There are limitations, as usual. These are the three basic rules.
- You must show off your entire face.
- You cannot allow your hair to go beyond the boundaries of the photograph.
- Hair accessories are not allowed.
You are not required to show your ears in passport photos, contrary to many myths. If your hair is long and doesn’t cover your face it is fine to wear a ponytail. It can be left as it is.
You can also wear your hair up in a bun or other style. Although you are free to do whatever you like with your hair, it is important to remember the rules. Your passport photo will be rejected if you use a headband. If your hairstyle isn’t fully visible in the photo, it will be rejected.
You might also consider pining your long bangs back if they are too loose on your forehead. You will see that your face must be visible if you follow the #1 rule. If any part of your hair covers your face , particularly eyebrows or eyes then you need to use simple hairpins to expose your face .
Passport photo dress code: Wear casual clothes
While your face is the most important part of passport photos, there are many regulations regarding what you should wear.
Let’s start with the most basic advice for choosing clothing for your passport image: Dress up casually.
The U.S. Department of State website has guidelines for passport photos. Accordingly to them, the best outfit is one that you wear regularly.
Many believe that elegant clothing is inappropriate for occasions such as photographing for official documents. It is not prohibited to wear such an outfit , but it is best to keep your everyday clothes .
Passport photo beard: You can grow your mustache
The same rules apply to facial hair. This is a simple situation. You are allowed to have whatever type of facial hair that you like, without any restrictions.
Similar to the last case, beards and mustaches are not considered biometrics data. Therefore, you have complete freedom to choose how to wear them.
The official regulations for facial hair can be found here.
Keep in mind that not all casual outfits are acceptable. For a quick overview, take a look at this list:
- You can’t wear uniforms or clothes that contain elements of camouflage.
- Simple jewelry is not allowed.
- Hair accessories, other than a simple hairpin or scarf, are not allowed.
- If you are unable to wear glasses due to medical reasons (signed note from doctor),
- Avoid wearing black and white clothes. Also, avoid dressing up in too formal outfits.
If you have a signed physician’s note stating that the accessories are necessary for your daily functioning or essential to your healing process, you are permitted to use head covers, hearing aids, and glasses.
A head covering may also be allowed for religious purposes. This requires a signed declaration from a religious authority.
Jewelry and piercings are allowed, provided they do not cover your face. Passport Acceptance Facility will not object to simple earrings or necklaces.
Glasses are prohibited. The latest ban on glasses in passport photos was lifted. This rule only applies to accessories that are part of medical treatment and must be approved by a doctor. These circumstances must be supported by a signed statement from a doctor.
Passport photo: Sit straight
While you are free to stand or sit for your photo, it is not allowed to tilt your head in any direction. Your head must not be tilted in any direction.
The picture should not show your hands. Let them flow freely with your body. Avoid performing unusual movements, as they could result in your photograph being rejected.
These 5 steps will make it easier:
- You can either stand straight or sit straight.
- Face the camera directly, don’t tilt your head.
- Look straight into the camera.
- You should not tilt your head to the side, either to the front or back.
- Keep a neutral facial expression.
You should now be able take the perfect passport photo using the information in the preceding paragraphs.
The next section will show you how to manage an image that has been taken so it meets the requirements for a passport photo.
What is the best tool to create a digital passport?
AiPassportPhoto allows you to convert your own photo into a perfect passport picture. Forbes was one of the first to recognize its intuitiveness, speed processing and spot-on functionality.
AiPassportPhoto‘s backroom uses an AI algorithm to scan the photo and adjust it according the official passport requirements. After uploading your photo, the app will change the background to a plain white background, crop the image according to the official requirements, and adjust the proportions so that you can be sure your photos will be accepted.
You can upload as many photos as you like because you don’t have to pay until you select your final passport picture. The best part is that you can experiment with different settings without worrying too much about the cost.
After you have chosen your passport photo, you will be able to receive it digitally right from your email or you can have it printed on high-quality photo paper that meets all the official requirements.
It has been downloaded millions of times worldwide, and it boasts a nearly 100% acceptance rate. If your photo is rejected by authorities, you will be refunded 100% the amount.
Final thoughts: How to get the best passport picture?
It might be difficult to meet the many passport photo requirements if this is your first time taking a passport picture on your own. As it turns out, even though the official language of government agencies can seem complicated, it is easy to understand and follow once you break it down into smaller pieces.
Passport officials recommend that you submit photographs with as few features as possible.
It is best to keep the photo casual and to maintain a neutral expression. Pay attention to the technical aspects.
You have the tools to do this, thanks to technology.
FAQs: Best passport photo
Do I have to shave my head for the U.S. passport picture?
There is no such requirement. You can have whatever facial hair you want, including mustaches, beards, and other facial hair.
Which color is best for passport photos?
There are no rules regarding the colors you should wear to take passport photos. Camouflage is the exception. You shouldn’t wear camouflage outfits under any circumstances. Also, avoid using black and white colors. The photographs should be taken against a white background.
Is your hair visible in passport photos?
According to official regulations, you must show your entire face. Ears are the only exception to this rule, and hair can be covered. If you do have hair that falls onto your face, you can simply clip it with a hairpin.
Do you have to smile on a passport photograph?
The U.S. Department of State states that passport photos should be taken with a natural smile. Your passport photo will be rejected if you show excessive expressions like laughter or frowning.
How do you take the best passport picture at home?
We recommend using specialized apps to help you take the best U.S. passport photos at home. These apps will guide you through the entire process, including how to adjust the image to meet official standards and whether you receive digital or printed copies. AiPassportPhoto is one of these apps.