DV Lottery Photo

DV Lottery Photo

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Green Card Photo - Size & Requirements

DV Lottery Photo, Green Card
Width: 2 in
Height: 2 in
301 dpi
Image definition parameters
  • Head height: 1.29 in
  • Bottom of the Photo to the Eye Line: 1.18 in
Is it suitable for online submission?
Is it printable?
Background Color

How to take a photo?

Body-camera distance
Body-camera distance
Posture: Straight ahead
Posture: Straight ahead
Posture: Straight ahead
Even lighting on both sides of the face
Even lighting on both sides of the face
Even lighting on both sides of the face

DV Lottery (Green Card) photo guidelines

Do you want to take the correct U.S. Green Card photo? Would you like to know what the most recent requirements are for a DV lottery photo? Are you wondering how to take a DV lottery photo with a smartphone? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you definitely need to read this guide. In this guide, you will find tips on how to pose for your photo to get your application approved. You will also learn how to prepare yourself for the photo that you take with your smartphone at home. In addition, you will learn about all of the possibilities that PhotoAiD offers, i.e. the application and the DV lottery online photo tool. If you're ready to read on and find out how to take the perfect photo for your DV lottery application then let’s go.

Green Card photo requirements

The photo is a very important part of the application for a U.S. Green Card. It must meet a number of requirements that have been set by the U.S. Department of State. You can take your DV lottery photo with a professional photographer or by yourself with your phone, as long as you comply with government requirements. You can use PhotoAiD to help you with this, which is a DV lottery photo tool. Below you will find all of the most important tips and requirements for the U.S. Green Card photo. You will learn how to pose for a photo, what to wear and how to look, to make sure your DV lottery photo passes the approval process. And you can meet all of these requirements just by taking a picture at home with an iPhone or any other smartphone.

Green Card photo general requirements:

  • Along with the application for the Diversity Visa Program, upload 1 (one) digital photo or a scan of a printed photo that is at least 600x600 pixels up to a maximum of 1200x1200 pixels in size and does not have a file size of more than 240 KB.
  • Photos must be in color as black and white photos will not be accepted.
  • The picture must be in JPG format.
  • Photo resolution: at least 300 dots per inch (dpi); preferably 600 dpi.
  • The photo must have a color depth of 24-bits.
  • If you are attaching a scan of a photo, the print must be scanned with a resolution of 300 dpi.

Validity of the photo

The DV lottery photo must be valid as to your current appearance, which means it must have been taken within the 6 (six) months before the date that you are applying for the U.S. Green Card. In addition, if you have changed a lot in the last few months, you have lost weight, grown a thick beard, radically changed your hairstyle, you should take a new Green Card photo. This is because the DV lottery photo has to reflect your current appearance. For more situations that require you to take a new one, see the FAQ section.

Resolution and size

The appropriate dimensions of a digital Green Card photo are: a minimum of 600 x 600 pixels and a maximum of 1200 x 1200 pixels. The dimensions must have a square aspect ratio, which means that the height of the image in pixels must be equal to its width. The resolution of a scanned photo should be at least 300 dpi, but preferably 600 dpi. Also, you can only scan a printed photo that has a size of 2 x 2 inches (51mmx51mm).

If you are applying for an immigrant visa using Form DS-260 or you are applying for an immigrant visa as a Diversity Visa Selectee, you must also provide 2 (two) identical printed photos at your immigrant visa interview. The required size of the printed photos is 2 x 2 inches (51mmx51mm).

You can compress the image, if necessary, so that it is less than the maximum file size. Just make sure the compression ratio is less than, or equal to, 20:1.

Photo quality

The photo must be in focus, sharp and of good quality. There must be no visible pixels or blurring. The scanned photo must not have any scratches or fold marks. You must also make sure that there are no visible scanning dots on the image.

Head in the DV lottery photo

Your head in the U.S. Green Card photo must be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inch from the bottom of the chin to the tip of the hair (between 25 and 35 mm). If you are uploading a digital photo, make sure your head is between 50% and 69% of the total height of the image measured from the top of the head (including hair) to the bottom of the chin.

Digital alterations and retouching

Digital alterations and retouching the photo for your U.S. Green Card is not allowed. You cannot remove the background from the photo or crop the photo yourself. You cannot retouch your appearance in the photo and you must ensure that the photo shows your natural skin tone and natural eye color, so do not edit or retouch this in any way.

Pose and expression

This is a very important requirement for a U.S. DV lottery photo. The photo is biometric, so you should pose in front of the camera, so both your head and body must be facing straight ahead. The photograph must show the entire face and forehead of the subject. To truly capture the biometric features of the face, the image must show the oval of the face, including the jawline and temples.

Your facial expression must be neutral. You can't laugh or show your teeth. However, unlike the photos required in European documents, you can have a slightly natural smile in the photo.


The photographed person should be in front of a neutral, light-colored background. No objects or other people can be visible in the background as the background must be clear of obstructions of any kind. Remember that our mobile application and online DV lottery photo tool also does background removal so you don't have to worry about the background of the photo, as PhotoAiD will remove, and replace, it automatically.

Shadows and lighting

The photo must have high-contrast and should reflect your natural skin tones. The image should be properly exposed, so no photos that are underexposed or overexposed. It is very important that there are no shadows in the background or on your face, neck or shoulders in the photo. You can find information on how to avoid shadows in the U.S. Green Card photo in the part of the guide that talks about taking photos with your phone by yourself.

Hats and hair

You cannot wear hats or head coverings in the DV Lottery photo. However, headwear worn for religious or medical purposes is permitted. In order to be allowed headwear in your photo, that is worn for religious or medical purposes, you must have a signed statement from a religious leader or doctor, and it must not cover your face or cast any shadows.

You can have your hair loose and your ears don't need to be visible. However, remember that your hair must not cover your face, so if you have particularly long hair you will have to brush or tie it back.


As of 2016, you cannot have any glasses on in your U.S. Green Card photo and other U.S. biometric photos. This includes prescription glasses, sunglasses, and tinted glasses. The reason being that the frames may obscure the shape of the eyes, and there may be reflections in the lenses that obscure the irises. So remember - no glasses on in the DV lottery photo.

Green Card photo − take with your phone

Although the U.S. Department of State recommends using a professional visa photo service to ensure the photo meets all the requirements, you may take the photo yourself and this is fully acceptable. Below you will learn tips for taking a Green Card photo, so you can take a photo with your phone, completely alone in your own home. Learn how to prepare yourself and what mistakes to avoid.

Prepare a tripod or ask for help

To have the perfect picture for your Green Card, ask someone for help. Selfies are not accepted as they can distort the proportions of your face due to the limited ways you can pose. You can, however, mount the phone on a tripod and even any other surface, thanks to which the frame will be appropriate and the photo will not be blurred, and it will allow you to pose in the appropriate manner.

Set the lighting

The lighting in the photo is the hardest thing to deal with, but we'll help you handle it. Stand in front of a window in full light because daylight that illuminates both sides of your face evenly will be the best. To avoid shadows in the picture, keep your camera at a distance of about 4 feet (1.2 m) from you.

Get dressed

How to dress for a U.S. Green Card photo? Thankfully for you there are no clothing requirements, which will help make your job much easier. You can wear casual clothes, but remember - don't wear a uniform or anything eccentric. Consider wearing a shirt color other than black or white as these colors disturb the contrast between the background and the person being photographed. By wearing white, in particular, you risk the clothing blending in with the background, which may cause the image to be rejected.

Pose according to the Green Card requirements

You already know the requirements for DV lottery photography, so all you have to do is stand in front of the camera, put on a neutral expression and take a shot. Just make sure that the photo is in focus and your head is in the center of the frame.

How does the DV lottery photo tool work?

It is a tool with many functions that allows you to take a Green Card photo with your own phone. How to take a picture? Place your phone on a tripod or ask someone for help. Dress according to Green Card photo requirements. Upload the file to the application or online with a DV lottery photo tool and wait a few minutes. You will receive a ready-to-go photo back, which you can immediately attach to your U.S. Green Card application. The tool is based on Artificial Intelligence, which has a few different functions, which we will discuss in detail below.

Background remover

The mobile application and the online DV lottery photo tool both remove the background from the photo and replace it with one that meets the requirements. Therefore, unlike other programs, you don't have to worry about setting up a white background in your home. Regardless of what background you are photographing, our program will remove, and replace the background from the photo in a professional manner.

Size cropper

You don't have to worry about getting the Green Card photo size right as our online tool will crop your photo and crop your image to the size required for a digital U.S. Green Card photo application.

Photo checker

It's a validator and photo checker in one. The artificial intelligence assesses biometric facial features to ensure they are shown correctly. It checks to see if the face is under or overexposed, that your eyes are open and mouth is closed, and if there are no shadows in the photo. If everything is correct, you will receive a verified photo that you can attach to your application.

Taking photos of your baby or toddler

Taking a photo of your child for the Green Card doesn't have to be difficult if you follow a few tips. As for the requirements for a child’s photo, they are generally the same as for an adult photo. This is the case with children over 6 years of age. Pictures of newborns and infants are treated with greater leniency. For example, a newborn baby does not need to look directly at the camera and may have a naturally parted mouth, but they shouldn't be crying. Also, parents' hands and other objects cannot be seen in the frame. Remember that with PhotoAiD you don't have to worry about the background or size of the photo. Our DV lottery photo tool does it for you.

DV lottery photo - the most common mistakes

The U.S. Department of State always publishes a list of the most common mistakes that are responsible for the rejection of applications for the Diversity Visa Program. See what NOT to DO when preparing a Green Card photo:

  • The photo is underexposed or overexposed (poor contrast).
  • You submitted a photo from the previous year.
  • The red eye effect or the 'flying head' effect (white clothing blends into the background).
  • You are wearing glasses in the photo.
  • There are shadows in the photo.
  • You are wearing clothes that look like a uniform.
  • You have closed eyes or an open mouth.
  • You have a wide smile, which is not allowed.
  • The photo has been edited or retouched using a program such as Photoshop.
  • The head in the frame is too close or too far.

Last update: 5/31/23

Frequently Asked Questions

❓ How many photos do I need to submit for my U.S. Green Card application?

When you apply for the DV Lottery, you need to apply online and attach 1 (one) digital photo.

❓ What is the correct size for a DV lottery photo?

At least 600 x 600 pixels, but preferably 1200 x 1200 pixels (digital photo). Additionally, if you are going to a Green Card interview, you must bring 2 printed 2 x 2 inch (51mmx51mm) photos.

❓ What are the general requirements for a Green Card photo?

The general requirements for a Green Card photo are as follows:

  • Photo in color and in focus,
  • No older than 6 months from the date of submitting the application,
  • Digital biometric photo,
  • Dimensions of 1200 x 1200 pixels (square proportion),
  • No larger than 240 KB.

There are a few reasons as to why you would need to take a new photo for your DV lottery application, they are:

  • When your photo is more than 6 months old.
  • When you have undergone significant facial surgery or trauma.
  • If you have added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos.
  • If you have undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain.
  • When you have obtained a new gender identity.

Yes, you can take a DV lottery photo with an iPhone and any other devices that are equipped with digital cameras that take high quality photos.

Before taking a photo for your Green Card you should first download and install the PhotoAiD application from the AppStore. Make sure you take a picture according to the guidelines, then upload the file using the application and receive a finished and ready-to-go digital photo.

Your pose should be compliant with the requirements for DV lottery photos. Take a photo with your digital camera or smartphone and upload the file using our DV lottery photo tool or PhotoAiD application for iPhone or Android devices. The editor will prepare the photo in accordance with the technical requirements and check if the file meets the governmental requirements. You will receive the finished photo by email.

Yes, you can upload a scan of the photo to your application. However, you must meet the scanning requirements. The photo that you scan must be printed and with a size of 2 x 2 inches (51mmx51mm). Scan the photo with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. If you need to compress the file, make sure that the compression ratio is less than, or exactly 20:1.

The biometric photo reflects the most important biometric features of the face of the person in the picture. These are the individual features that allow you to quickly and reliably identify the person in the photo. The features of this type are the jawline, face oval, eye spacing, iris color, eye shape, mouth shape, nose length and many more.

You can wear any clothes you want with few exceptions. You shouldn't wear any uniforms in your photo, unless it is religious clothing that is worn daily. In addition, we recommend that you do not wear a white or a black shirt as they have poor contrast and may distort the image in some way. The color white, in particular, can blend with the background and cause you to appear as a floating head, which is not acceptable.

No, you must not wear prescription glasses, sunglasses, or tinted glasses. This has been the case since 2016. The exception is glasses worn for justified medical reasons, for example as a consequence of a difficult medical operation, with which you will need to provide a signed statement from your doctor stating that you are required to wear them.

Yes, but make sure the jewelry does not cover any part of your face or eyebrow line. Make-up is best worn as you wear it every day, so that the photo reflects your normal look.

Hats are generally not allowed in the Green Card photo. The exception is hats and scarves that are worn for religious reasons, which you can wear as long as they don't cover your face. If the scarf normally covers your nose or chin you will need to pull it back so that all of your facial features can be seen. You must also have a signed statement that states it is something you wear on a daily basis for religious reasons, from a religious leader.

In general, you are not allowed to digitally enhance or alter the photo to change your appearance in any way. However, this does not apply to our DV lottery photo tool, which crops the image and removes the background professionally and does not interfere with your natural look or the color of the photo.

The key requirements for a Green Card photo are the position and appearance of the face. The photo must be that of the entire face centered in the photo horizontally. Profile photos or photos that are out of focus will not be accepted.

About the document

DV Lottery Program

A Green Card application is the common name of an application that is submitted in order to participate in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The name of the program in operation is also Green Card Lottery and DV Lottery. It is a program that allows non-US citizens to obtain an immigrant visa, and with it the right of permanent residence, allowing, among other things, the holder to work legally in the USA. Importantly, the immigrant visa under the Green Card Lottery may be granted not only to the applicant, but also to his or her entire family.

Each year, 55,000 visas are up for grabs under this immigration program. The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. Europe and Africa always get the most visas in the DV Lottery program. This number is as high as 80% and this is due to the fact that citizens of other continents are much more present in other categories for visas to the US (especially Asian and South American citizens).

Who can apply for a Green Card?

The U.S. Green Card can be applied for by nationals of countries permitted by the US authority to participate in the lottery (The rule of Eligibility). The main factor is the low number of immigrants in recent years. In addition, each applicant must meet the requirements for areas such as education and work experience. In addition, they must comply with the entry period and complete the Electronic Entry for the DV Program correctly and attach a U.S. Green Card photo.

How to apply for a Green Card?

Applying for a visa under the Green Card Lottery first takes place online. You must apply online at dvprogram.state.gov and attach a digital dv lottery photo. Please note that the US government will require a lot of personal information from you. In the application, you must inform them about your personal data, but also the data of your immediate family members.

You need to keep an eye on the time slot as Green Card applications can only be submitted for one month each year. Also remember that the lottery for a given year takes place 2 years earlier. This means that the DV Lottery for visas issued for 2022 takes place in 2020.

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