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| Updated on Nov 22, 2016

Passport Photo Background

When getting ready to travel abroad, you’ll need a little bit more than a desire to see the sights. A passport or visa is mandatory no matter where you go. Preparing to take you passport photo should include a few extra details to assure acceptance by the government. Let’s take a moment and talk about how your passport photo background should be in order to not cause a rejection letter.

Preparing to take your photo requires a lot of details but one is a solid background. There are a few variations in the passport photo background color but for every country in the world, you must have a solid background. This means, no patterns or prints. It cannot have palm trees or friends blurred out from a party. Selfies are never acceptable and should you try to submit one, be prepared for a longer delay in your passport application. Your face and head should be in clear contrast with what’s behind you. This also means wearing a darker color so you ‘pop’ in the image. If the background is white and your wear the same color top, chances are your headshot will not be acceptable when you send in the application. When taking your picture or having your child’s photo taken, be sure to double check and assure nothing is in the background, including hands, toys or car seats.

As for the color, it varies slightly from country to country. The general consensus is a solid, white or off white background. Citizens in the United States can expect to take a passport photo with a white background. Reasons in variations are attributed to your skin tone and hair color. If you have very light skin or hair, it’s recommended to use the ‘darker’ solid background color in order to achieve desired contrast. Same goes if you have a darker complexion. A few countries allow for a light blue color and others ask for a grey background. It truly depends on your country’s guidelines. If you are unsure, stick with an off white background. Just remember to keep the color solid and assure nothing is obstructing the background, including glare from a flash. Also, it should be properly and evenly lit with no shadows cast behind you.

Regardless of where you are from, assuring compliance with your government is vital to traveling the world. gives you guidelines according to your country and allows you complete control over the passport photo process.

As long as you have a solid background with the appropriate color to your country’s requirements and a smartphone or tablet, you can take the photo from anywhere. We take care of the other details such as sizing and format. When the photo is sent back for pickup at a drug store or instant download, rest assured your image is in 100% government compliance. Should you not be satisfied with the image, feel free to retake the picture at no extra cost. When you’re ready to venture off into the world, keep the background solid and leave the rest to us!

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