USA Passport Photo Guide

Your USA passport photo needs to be 2x2 inches, recent (within 6 months), with a plain white background, and your full face (neutral expression, mouth closed) visible. Head size should be 1-1 3/8 inches (50-69% of image height), eyes 1 1/8-1 3/8 inches from bottom. Wear plain clothes, no hats (except for religious purposes), remove glasses, and ensure hair doesn't obscure your face. You can continue reading to know more about the full specifications of the USA passport photo.


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Here are the full specifications of the United States passport photo:

  • General Requirements
    • Size: The photo must be 2 inches (51 mm) wide by 2 inches (51 mm) tall. This is a square format image.
    • Color: The photo must be in color with a natural skin tone.
    • Recent: The photo must have been taken within the last 6 months.
    • Background: The background must be plain white or off-white with no shadows, patterns, or lines.
  • Head Size and Composition
    • Head size: The height of your head (top of hair to bottom of chin) must be between 1 inch (25 mm) and 1 3/8 inches (35 mm). This should take up between 50% and 69% of the image’s total height.
    • Eye placement: Your eyes should be level and between 1 1/8 inches (28 mm) and 1 3/8 inches (35 mm) from the bottom of the photo.
    • Full face view: You must face the camera directly with your full face visible.
    • Neutral expression: Maintain a neutral expression with your mouth closed and relaxed. No smiling, frowning, or squinting.
United States Passport
Click the photo to view the full-size United States passport photo size infographic.

Visas for Future Passport Photo Service

Use the Visas for Future passport photo service to get a passport photo that’ll work for your application. Simply take a photo of yourself using our guidelines, send it in, and we’ll edit it. We’ll send you your passport photos by post with free shipping. We deliver to Canada, the EU, the US, and the UK. For individuals outside of those countries, we can deliver your passport photos to your inbox, which you can print at home. For every product sold, we plant a tree!

How it works

Take a photo.
We verify your photo.
Passport photos are delivered by post or email.

How to take your passport photo

Here’s how you can take passport photos at home, to ensure that they’ll be high quality:

1.) Stand .5 meters or 2 feet from the wall. This ensures that there’s no shadow on your portrait.

2.) Place the camera 2 meters or 6 feet away from subject. This will prevent distortion and give you a prettier picture!

3.) Have the camera on the same level as the subject’s face.

4.) Use plenty of lighting. Natural light is preferred but plenty of light in general is the best. Make sure it is even and doesn’t leave a shadow.

Benefits of using an online passport photo service

There are many choices when it comes to getting a passport photo but here are reasons why you should go with an online agent:

  1. You don’t have to leave your house.
  2. We know the passport photo rules of the country you’re applying to.
  3. We validate your photo – we check your passport photo to make sure it is in order.
  4. Save money with bulk orders – you can order many passport photos and save.

Why choose us

Visas for Future is a convenient service that can help you with your passport photo needs. Here are six reasons why you should choose Visas for Future for your passport photo services:

  • Expertise: Our experts ensure that your passport photo meets the official requirements of your destination country.
  • Convenience: You can upload your photo or take one with your smartphone, and we will crop, resize, and enhance it to create a perfect biometric photo.
  • Support: We’re visa and passport photo experts. You can ask us travel questions, which will make your trip-planning process easier.
  • Speed: Your photos are shipped within a day!
  • Unlimited retakes: You can also take as many photos as you want until you are satisfied with the result.

Tips for Taking a Perfect USA Passport Photo using a Smartphone

Taking a perfect passport photo with your smartphone might sound tricky, but it’s doable! Here are some key tips to ensure your photo gets accepted:

Setting the Stage

  • Background: Find a plain, light-colored background like a white wall, sheet, or virtual background app. Avoid patterns, busy backgrounds, or anything that casts shadows on your face.
  • Lighting: Opt for even, natural light. Diffused sunlight coming through a window is perfect. Avoid harsh shadows or using flash directly on your face.
  • Camera: Use the rear camera of your phone as it has a higher resolution than the front-facing one. If possible, prop your phone up on a tripod or stack of books for stability.

Posing for Perfection

  • Face: Stand or sit straight with your head centered and level. Look directly at the camera with a neutral expression. No smiling, frowning, or tilting your head.
  • Distance: Stand about 4-6 feet away from the background. This ensures your head fills the frame within the required size specifications.
  • Hair & Glasses: Ensure your hair doesn’t cover your face or ears. Remove eyeglasses (unless medically necessary) and headwear (including religious coverings with alternative photo options available).

Capturing the Shot

  • Multiple Takes: Snap several photos to ensure you have options with clear focus and proper framing. Use burst mode or a self-timer if you’re setting up alone.
  • Expression Check: Pay attention to your expression in each photo. It should be relaxed and neutral, with both eyes open and visible.

Post-Processing (Optional)

  • Cropping: Use a photo editing app to crop the image to the required size (2×2 inches) with your head centered and appropriate space around it.
  • Brightness & Contrast: Minor adjustments are okay, but avoid heavy editing or filters that alter your appearance.

USA Passport photo for kids and babies

Taking a passport photo for a child or baby can be an extra challenge, but with the right approach, you can still achieve success! Here are some specific tips for capturing that perfect pic:

For Infants

  • Lay them down: Place your baby comfortably on their back on a white blanket or sheet. This ensures head support and a plain background.
  • Capture their attention: Use a rattle or bright-colored toy to hold their gaze toward the camera. Be patient and wait for a moment with open eyes.
  • Mind the shadows: If taking the photo from above, ensure no shadows fall on your baby’s face. Consider using diffused natural light from a window.
  • Relaxed expression: Don’t worry if your baby smiles or frowns slightly. As long as their eyes are open and the overall photo meets requirements, it’s usually acceptable.

For Toddlers and Young Children

  • Engage them: Explain the process calmly and make it fun. Offer incentives like a sticker or short screen time after taking the photo.
  • Practice makes perfect: Take several photos with different facial expressions, but aim for a neutral one, like a closed-mouth smile.
  • Keep it simple: Dress your child in plain clothes without busy patterns or hats. Remove headbands or other accessories that cover their face.
  • Offer support: If your child needs help sitting upright, use a car seat or highchair with a white sheet draped over it for background consistency.

Capturing your little one’s passport photo is indeed hard, that is why Visas for Future is here to help you obtain your little one’s passport photo that meets all the requirements set by the government.

Correct and Incorrect Samples of USA Passport Photos

Steps to get a USA passport photo Online

Here is a simple guide to help you obtain your passport photo through Visas for Future:

Step 1: Go to the Visas for Future.

Step 2: Click on the Get Passport Photo now button.

Step 3: Fill out the order form by providing your name, email, country of residence, and the country you are applying to.

Step 4: Pay the application fee.

Step 5: Upload your photo.

Step 6: You will receive your photo in seven days for printed photo service or within 24 hours for digital photo delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear lipstick in my passport photo?

You can wear lipstick in your US passport photo, but there are some key things to consider:
1. Stick to natural shades: Avoid bold colors like red or purple. Opt for nude shades that closely match your natural lip color.
2. Keep it subtle: Don’t overdo it with the lipstick. It should enhance your features, not drastically change your appearance.
3. Focus on visibility: Make sure your lips are still clearly visible through the lipstick.

Can I wear a shirt in my passport photo?

Yes, you need to wear a shirt in your US passport photo! While there’s no strict dress code, the photo should clearly show your head and shoulders, which wouldn’t be possible without a top. Stick to shirts with a defined neckline (not tank tops) and avoid things that blend in with the background (white against white).

What is the best color to wear for passport photos?

While any color technically works, here’s a quick guide for a flattering passport photo:
Best choices:
1. Solid, darker colors: Contrast well with the white background (e.g., navy blue, dark green, black).
2. Neutral tones: Professional and avoid distractions (e.g., beige, grey).

Generally, avoid:
1. Very light colors: Can blend with the background.
2. Bold patterns or bright colors: Distracting and may cause rejection.

Can I smile in a US visa photo?

It is allowed to smile in a US visa photo, however, certain important conditions need to be kept in mind.
1. Natural smile: It must be a subtle, closed-mouth smile, not a big grin or exaggerated expression.
2. Both eyes open: Smiling shouldn’t cause squinting or closed eyes.
3. Neutral overall: Your expression should still appear professional and neutral despite the smile.

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Apple Gajes
Written by

Apple is a skilled content writer of Visas For Future who had a bachelor's degree in Education. She does well at producing high-quality visa articles and continuously upgrading her skills by actively engaging herself to various courses and training opportunities. She also contributes to travel forms and visa fulfillment in Turkey and India. Committed to writing exceptional visa articles, she performs real visa orders and provides customer support quarterly to stay abreast of the visa processing process.

Glen Vidania
Managed by Glen Vidania

Glen Vidania is the Content Manager at Visas for Future, a company that offers online visa services for eco-friendly travelers. He is a certified Content Marketer and an experienced academic writer. He writes and promotes content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to the readers. He had work experience and gained skills in writing articles, data entry, SEO email marketing, and guest posting. He is also an expert in applying for visas for Turkey and India.

Glen Vidania
Published by Visas for Future

Visas for Future strives to help you virtually, so that your research is complete in one visit. Our articles are informative, complete and to-the-point. We write in an accessible way, so that non-native English speakers will understand. Our website is accessible for the visually impaired. We have full oversight of our articles and are unbiased in writing. Check our editorial guidelines.

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Cite this article

MLA Style

Gajes, Apple. "USA Passport Photo Guide." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/passport-photo-requirements-usa/. Accessed on 24 September 2023.

Chicago Style

Gajes, Apple. "USA Passport Photo Guide." Visas For Future. September 24, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/passport-photo-requirements-usa/.

Published: 24 Sep 2023 21:56 UTC

Last modified: 11 Mar 2024 8:48 UTC

Reading time: 9 minutes

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