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| Updated on Dec 1, 2016

US Passport / Visa Photo Requirements and Size

When renewing a United States passport, your photo needs to meet their requirements in all aspects. My Passport Photos will save you time and money by making sure that your photo is right the first time. Simply review and follow the Quick Facts below and My Passport Photos will process the correct photo each time.

Before traveling abroad, make sure you check out to determine whether you need a visa. Most visas can be processed online, saving you significant aggravation, time and money.

Photo Specs

  • Size: 2x2 inches.
  • Color: Photo must be in color and not in black or white.
  • Head size and position: The head should be between 1 and 1 3/8 inches from chin to the top of your head.
  • Recency: Cannot be older than the past six months.
  • Background: Solid white or a shade off white.
  • Smile: It’s encouraged to use a neutral expression, however, you can use a soft, natural smile if preferred.
  • Eyes: Open and visible.
  • Glasses: No glasses are allowed to be worn
  • Headgear: No hats, beanies or other head coverings are allowed unless it’s for religious reasons.
  • Dimensions and size (pixels): 600x600 pixels minimum and 1200x1200 maximum.
  • Attire, clothing, dress code: No uniforms. Most other clothing is acceptable.
  • Beard: If you normally have a beard, keep it. If not, then don’t grow one for the picture.
  • Quantity needed in application: 2 per person and per application.

United States Passport Photo and Visa Photo Requirements, Rules, Guidelines, and specifications

Here is a more in depth idea of what you should and shouldn’t do when taking a professional passport or visa photo:

  • Be sure the lighting is correct as an underexposed or overexposed photo could be rejected.
  • It needs to be recent. Any photo more than 6 months old will need to be retaken.
  • A good rule of thumb is your nose should be the center of the photo.
  • Solid background only. No designs or colored background permitted.
  • Clothing: Avoid wearing a military uniform or any other type of work uniform. Attire for religious purposes is acceptable. Be cautious of wearing bulky scarves around the neck as they can decrease visibility of the head.
  • No eyewear are permitted.
  • If hearing aids are worn on a daily basis, they are allowed in the photo. Other devices such as wired or wireless headphones, Bluetooth and any other device other than a hearing aid are not to be worn.
  • Printed pictures to be submitted with passport application should be on glossy or matte paper.

If you are looking to take the photo yourself or scan an existing one, there are a few checklist items to be aware of:

  • Photos may not be digitally enhanced or altered.
  • You can use the government’s free tools to help get the correct photo for submission.
  • Be sure to use a plain background and that your face covers about 55% of the photo with face centered.
  • Use correct pixel dimensions as stated earlier.

Rules and requirements for babies, infants, and newborns Passport and Visa photos

One important note about infant and children photos is you cannot be in the photo with them. Each child needs to have their own separate photo taken and submitted with their own application. Below are some tips for acceptable photo taking:

  • Use a plain white sheet for infants to lay on when taking a picture. This is for either professionals or your own personal use.
  • If you prefer to use a car seat for support of the infant’s head, be sure to have a plain white sheet on it.
  • Before snapping the picture, check for shadows on his or her face. Both eyes need to be open and the infant looking at the camera.

For older children, the above rules and guidelines are applicable. If a child’s photo differs from their appearance, the government does not require a new image if the change comes from the natural aging process.

Price and Cost

Choosing where to have these snapshots done is the next question. Whether you are looking for a place in town or somewhere online, there are plenty of options. A traditional route is going to the post office or local drugstore. These can be a bit more costly, not to mention you have to drive and wait for prints. This is about $10-$15 for two photos per person. A family of four can cost up to $60 just for the pictures. Another alternative to the traditional method is getting a passport photo online. Cost for these average around $5 for two photos. So a family of four could spend $20 instead of $60. Quite a deal!

How to get a United States Passport Photos or United States Visa Photos Online

Technology has truly made it easier, cheaper and much more convenient for people to accomplish daily tasks. At, we can assure 100% government compliance for all your passport or visa photo needs. Take a photo in the comfort of your own home and leave the editing and submission to us. If for some reason your photo is not accepted by the government, we allow retakes. In addition, you can take as many photos you like until you get one you are happy with. We offer quick processing and allow for downloads or photos can be sent to a local drugstore for printing. Got additional questions? No problem. We are here to assist you with step-by-step guidelines and email if you require additional support. Best part of allowing us to help with your travel needs is pricing. Our photos begin at $0.99. Save time and travel funds by choosing

Example of correct passport photos

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Add Comment
I just received an e-mail saying my photo cannot be delivered - I am not using it for a passport -' but for an ID for bus fare -!what is wrong?
Cathy Bogart (1230 days ago)
The current Passport application from the US Dept. of State web site specifically requires ONE photo. Am I missing something? We have always provided two in the past.
Alan Gaddy (1192 days ago)
To answer your questions: Hello Cathy, Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. We checked the emails we exchanged with you and found no mention that you don't need the photo for a passport. We always assume photos are for passports so we make sure that we deliver the best quality prints. We are always available on live chat and we are also very active in answering emails so please do not hesitate to let us know if you have concerns. Hello Alan, You only need to submit one passport photo as long as it is compliant.
Admin (1182 days ago)
Paul, to deal with customer service please chat with us or send us an email in response to your order confirmation. Best regards
Support (1092 days ago)
Got my pics in a timely manner. However, they were NOT in the 2x2 inch requirement as all US passport photos are requested in. Was not able to attach my photos to my application because they were not formatted correctly. Waste of money.
Aimee Lynn (1091 days ago)
Hello Aimee Lynn, Thank you for taking the time to post your comment. We found that you actually placed an order for Mexican instead of US passport photos. The photos we sent for printing were processed specifically for Mexican passports. We can reprocess the photos according to US standards. As a matter of fact, majority of our photo orders are for US passports.
Admin (1085 days ago)
My pics came in timely manner but my pic looks a little dark than pics I took in past
Sameeh Gardner (1033 days ago)
do I have to wear my hair behind my ears on my passport photo ?
marilyn hodgin (960 days ago)
@Marilyn No need to wear the hair behind the ears on US passport photo, just need to keep the hair away from the face and the eyes
MyPassportPhotos (959 days ago)