South Africa Passport Photo Guide

Your South African passport photo must be 35x45mm, with a neutral expression with mouth closed and eyes open. Plain light background, head centered with 70-80% face coverage. No hats (except religious), busy patterns, shadows, or alterations. Digital format needs 600DPI resolution. To learn more about the full specifications of a South African passport photo, keep reading.

Get Professional South Africa passport photo Help

As seen on

Here are the full rules for South African passport photo requirements:

  • Size and Format
    • Dimensions: 35mm wide x 45mm high (passport-sized)
    • Color: Color photo only
    • Format: Digital or printed on high-quality photo paper
    • Digital Resolution (online submission): 600 dpi minimum
  • Background
    • Plain white or light gray background (no patterns or shadows)
  • Head and Pose
    • Head facing directly towards the camera (no profile or tilted views)
    • Both ears visible
    • Neutral expression, closed mouth (no smiling or frowning)
    • Eyes open and visible, not covered by hair or glasses
    • Head size should take up 70-80% of the photo, with equal space above and below the head
  • Attire
    • Plain clothing that contrasts with the background
    • Avoid busy patterns, hats (except religious headwear), and scarves
    • Ensure shoulders are visible

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.

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 the 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 South Africa Passport Photo using a Smartphone

Getting a perfect South African passport photo with your smartphone is possible! Here are some tips to ensure a smooth application process:


  • Official Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the South African Department of Home Affairs’ specific requirements for passport photos.
  • Background: Choose a plain, light-colored background (white, light blue, grey) and avoid busy patterns or shadows. A wall or a sheet hung on a door works well.
  • Lighting: Use bright, even natural light (avoid direct sunlight as it can cause harsh shadows). If natural light is unavailable, use diffused artificial light.

Taking the Photo

  • Camera: Use the rear camera of your smartphone, as it generally has higher quality than the front-facing one.
  • Distance: Stand around 1-2 meters from the rear camera and closer to the front-facing one, ensuring your head fills most of the frame with some space for cropping.
  • Pose: Stand or sit straight with your shoulders relaxed. Look directly into the camera with a neutral expression (no smiling or frowning). Tilt your head slightly forward to avoid shadows under your chin.
  • Attire: Wear clothes that contrast with the background. Avoid busy patterns, hats, and headwear (except for religious purposes). Ensure your hair doesn’t cover your face or eyes.

Additional Tips:

  • Focus: Ensure the photo is in sharp focus, especially on your face.
  • Cropping: Make sure your head takes up 60-70% of the photo, with equal space above and below your head.
  • Editing: Avoid excessive editing that alters your appearance. Minor adjustments like brightness or contrast are okay.

Capturing your South African passport yourself might not meet the requirements set by the government and might lead to rejection. To ensure your passport photo meets all the requirements use Visas for Future online passport photo service.

South Africa Passport photo for kids and babies

Taking a South African passport photo for kids and babies requires a bit more patience and creativity compared to adults, but it’s achievable! Here are some specific tips for each age group:

Kids (over 12 months):

  • Follow the same general smartphone photography tips as above.
  • Engage them: Make it fun! Use toys, games, or silly faces to get them to look at the camera with a neutral expression.
  • Multiple attempts: Be prepared to take several photos as kids might get restless or uncooperative.
  • Posture guidance: Gently help them sit or stand straight and avoid slouching.
  • Hair management: Ensure loose hair isn’t covering the face.

Babies (under 12 months):

  • Laying down: You can photograph them lying on their back on a white sheet or blanket.
  • Upright position: If they can sit, support them with pillows or a baby chair to ensure a straight posture.
  • Neutral expression: Aim for a relaxed state, not asleep. Try soothing techniques like singing or feeding just before the photo (except for infants or newborns).
  • Open eyes: Gently stimulate their eyes to stay open, like using a brightly colored toy or light source (except for infants or newborns).
  • Mouth: Newborn babies can open their mouths, but older babies aim for a closed mouth.
  • Multiple photos: Patience is key! Be prepared for many attempts and different poses to capture a suitable photo.

Capturing your kids and babies’ passport photos is hard; Visas for Future can help you and make your baby’s simple picture into a baby’s South African passport photo that meets all the official requirements.

Correct and Incorrect Samples of South Africa Passport Photos

Steps to get a South Africa passport photo Online

Here’s the step-by-step process for obtaining your passport photo through Visas for Future.

Step 1: Visit Visas for Future.

Step 2: Click on Get Passport Photo now

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

Step 4: Pay the application fee.

Step 5: upload your photo.

Step 6: Receive your photo in 24 hours.

How to Submit the South Africa Visa Photo?

The method for submitting your South Africa visa photo depends on whether you apply online or in person:

Online application

  • Digital photo: Many online visa application systems allow uploading a digital photo directly.
  • Photo format: Follow the specific format and resolution requirements specified by the online platform. They are usually high-resolution JPEG or PNG files.
  • Photo editing: Use minimal editing to adjust brightness, contrast, or cropping while maintaining a natural appearance.

In-person application:

  • Printed photos: Print two-color passport-sized photos (35mm x 45mm) on high-quality photo paper. Ensure they meet all the South African visa photo requirements, including background, lighting, pose, attire, and expression.
  • Submission: Attach the photos securely to the designated area on the application form with glue or staples as instructed by the South African mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What color is the South African passport?

The South African passport is green. It has a green cover with the South African coat of arms emblazoned in gold in the center. Both the “REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA” and “PASSPORT” are also written in gold text on the front cover.

Can I wear a wig in my passport photo in South Africa?

Yes, wearing a wig is allowed as long as it doesn’t obscure your facial features or eyes. Ensure the wig’s size and volume follow passport guidelines and don’t overshadow the background. Remember, religious headwear is always an exception.

Can I wear lipstick in a passport photo?

You can wear lipstick in your South African passport photo, but with limitations:
1. Stick to neutral shades: Opt for nude colors close to your natural lip color. Bright, bold shades are risky.
2. Keep it subtle: Avoid heavy application or anything that significantly alters your appearance.

Can I wear my hair in a ponytail for my passport?

Yes, you can wear your hair in a ponytail for your South African passport photo, but it must not obscure your face.

Ask a question

If you still have a question about this topic after reading the article, let us know and we'll update the article. Include your email if you want us to reply to you.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Glen Vidania
Written by

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
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.

Send fan mail

We love to hear from you! If our article helped you in anyway, let us know and we'll share it with the team on our Friday meetings.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Cite this article

MLA Style

Vidania, Glen. "South Africa Passport Photo Guide." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/south-african-baby-passport-photo-requirements/. Accessed on 24 September 2023.

Chicago Style

Vidania, Glen. "South Africa Passport Photo Guide." Visas For Future. September 24, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/south-african-baby-passport-photo-requirements/.

Published: 24 Sep 2023 7:17 UTC

Last modified: 23 Feb 2024 10:45 UTC

Reading time: 8 minutes

Check our editorial guidelines

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.