Prepare a perfect US passport photo using your smartphone
You save time and money - take a biometric photo conveniently without leaving home
A passport picture is an important image which you are required to submit when you apply for your passport. It is a “biometric” photograph, which means that it can be analyzed for the unique physical characteristics of each person’s face. Thanks to this, immigration authorities at border crossings can quickly and easily identify the person in the photograph.
Biometric photographs can be taken at home with a digital camera or smartphone. In fact, properly formatted photo files are easy to create using the Photo AiD app or another online tool. Read on to learn how to take a proper passport picture at home using your own phone.
According to the US Department of State, passport photos that don't meet the official requirements are the # 1 reason applications get held up during the application process. Photo AiD’s online app makes meeting these requirements easy. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the official U.S. passport photo requirements.
The size of the photograph must be 2 inches by 2 inches square (51mm x 51mm). Included within the frame are the whole head, neck and upper shoulders. The head must be centered horizontally within the picture. The top of the head needs to be between 1 to 1.4 inches (25 to 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin. The height of the eyes needs to be between 1 1/8 inches to 1 3/8 inches (28 mm – 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo. Allow about an eighth of an inch of headroom at the top of the photo. For best results, the photo cannot be taken from too near or too far- about four feet away is recommended.
Your passport photo must be of high quality. This means that it must be clear and in focus, without blur or grain and without visible pixels or printer dots. It needs to be printed on high-quality photographic paper (either matte or glossy), not plain printer paper. Also, the image cannot be retouched, beautified or color-corrected using computer filters.
When printing your passport photo from a digital file, make sure that your resolution is at least 300 dpi. But for a higher-quality product, you really need at least 600 dpi, which is our recommendation. This will give you a much better chance at meeting the official requirements and not getting rejected by the State Department.
The background is an important requirement for U.S. passport photos. It must be uniform, plain and white (or off-white). A white wall is fine; if you don’t have a white wall, hang up a white sheet. Make sure that the wall or sheet is free from any shadows , patterns or wrinkles. If you don’t have a white wall or any sheets you can use, PhotoAiD has a background removal tool that can change any background into a plain white background automatically.
The photo must be well lit - it cannot be overexposed or underexposed. The light must illuminate the entire face evenly and not create any shadows on the face, neck or shoulders.
In the U.S. passport picture you must face directly towards the camera. Likewise, your arms should be straight ahead. Half-profile photos are not allowed and will result in the rejection of the image and possibly the entire passport application.
You must keep your face neutral. Don't smile and don't show your teeth. You must keep your mouth closed and you cannot laugh in the photo.
Americans can no longer wear glasses in their U.S. passport photos. Not even prescription glasses. Forget about sunglasses or tinted lenses! This is to make sure that frames and lenses do not obscure the eyes. Your eyes must be open and looking directly into the camera. Your pupils and irises must be visible in the picture.
Your face must be fully visible, so do not cover the oval of your face with your hair. Yes, you can wear bangs, but make sure that the fringe is above the line of your eyebrows. If needed, pull long hair back or wear it up.
As far as headcovers go, they are generally not allowed: no hats or caps can be worn for fashion. Exceptions are made for headcovers worn every day for religious reasons (such as yarmulkes and hijabs), but you must provide a signed statement that the headcover is part of a recognized, traditional religious garment that must be worn in public. Special headgear can also be worn for medical reasons, and here too you must provide a signed statement from your physician confirming that the item is used daily for medical purposes. And in either event, remember that the headgear cannot cover any part of your face, and it cannot cast shadows upon your face.
There are no official dress code requirements for the U.S. passport photo. You can wear casual clothes as long as it is not extravagant. It is forbidden to wear a uniform or military clothing.
The more important issue is the color of the clothes on the U.S. passport photo. Consider putting on something other than white or black. These colors disturb the contrast between the background and the person in the photo. Bright colors that stand out from the background will be best.
Now that you know what the requirements are, here are the seven most common mistakes people make with their passport photos. Read this to know what to avoid.
You must provide a recent photo for your US passport application, not older than 6 months from the date of application. The picture must show your current appearance.
Lighting the photo is very important. You need to ensure that the face is well lit and clearly visible. There must be no shadows in the photo.
Attach a printed photo with the exact size of 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) to your application. The frame of the photo must be correct, i.e. the head must be centered in the image and must cover an area between 1 - 1.4 inches (25 - 35 mm).
When taking a U.S. passport photo, make sure the image is clear and in focus. The pixels cannot be seen, and the photo cannot be blurry. This is true for both the digital file and the finished printed photo.
As of 2016, wearing glasses in photos for the U.S. passport is no longer accepted. To avoid your application being rejected, remove your glasses when taking the photo. Even eyeglasses for special medical purposes are not accepted.
Remember that a U.S. passport picture is not a photo for Instagram. You cannot apply filters to an image or edit it with computer programs. The photo must reflect your natural appearance, especially your natural skin color and eye color.
There must be no red eye effect in the photo. Red eyes are most commonly caused by using the flash on the camera, so this is another reason to take care with your lighting. You cannot use a filter to change the color of your eyes in the photograph. The photo must be original and of high quality.
U.S. passport pictures of babies and kids generally have similar requirements to adult photos. However, the State Department is more forgiving about the facial expressions of infants and newborns. Such babies may have their mouths slightly parted and do not always have to look directly at the camera. But older kids must have their eyes open.
Also, there must not be any scarves or hair accessories on the child's head. No bottles, toys or blankets can be seen in the frame. A baby cannot have a pacifier. The child should not cry in the photo either - this shot should be repeated until the child calms down and its skin regains its natural color.
How to make successful photos for a child with a phone at home? It's easy if you follow our tips and also use the online photo editor or the PhotoAiD app. Read on to learn more.
For newborns, spread a plain white sheet on the floor and place the newborn on top of it. Photograph the child's body and face from above in front of the sheet. TIP: take a photo of the plain white sheet in advance, to make sure there are no shadows in the photo.
In the case of babies, you can use a children's chair on which you spread a white sheet. If your baby doesn't keep his head upright by himself, you can hold his head up with your hand. Just make sure your hand is behind the sheet and not in the frame. It is very important that no one else should be in the picture when photographing a baby or toddler.
U.S. passport pictures are easy to get when you use an intelligent online tool such as our iPhone or Android app. All you have to do is dress and pose in accordance with the US passport requirements, drop your photo into our photo tool, and let us prepare a ready-to-print digital file that meets all US Department of State regulations. Here’s how::
Our online app and website use Artificial Intelligence to automatically evaluate and edit your photos. This makes it extremely user-friendly! Here are some of the features we offer:
When you use the PhotoAiD app or online tool, you don't need to prepare the background. The editor will remove the background from the photo automatically, making it completely white and without any objects.
No need for you to measure things down to the millimeter; we handle all that for you. Our app crops your photograph to the correct sizes and dimensions, making sure that things like eye height and headroom meet the exact specifications.
Artificial Intelligence software verifies the position of the head, head height in the photo, and the visibility of all biometric features of the face. It also checks if the picture has normal contrast and lighting. If there is something wrong, you are informed that you need to repeat the shot.
Last update: 5/16/22
💡 Is the current U.S. passport photo a biometric photo?
Yes, it is a special photo that must reflect the individual biometric features of the face of each person for whom the document is issued. These features include the oval of the face, the shape and distance of the eyes, eye color, the width and height of the nose, and many other features.
💡 How up-to-date must the US passport picture be?
Taken within the last 6 months from the date of submitting the document application. If you have changed significantly during this time (for example, you have lost a lot of weight or have a face tattoo), you should also prepare a new photo.
💡 What is the size of the US passport photo?
The printed photo should be a 2 x 2 inch (51 x 51 mm) square.
💡 How to pose for a US passport photo?
Stand straight, facing the camera. Your head must be straight ahead, you must look directly at the camera lens.
💡 What to wear in the photo for the American passport?
Do not wear white and black colors that interfere with the contrast between the background and the person in the photo. Wear casual but neat clothing in bright colors, preferably colors that stand out from the background.
💡 Can I wear glasses?
No, as of 2016, no glasses are allowed. You must not wear sunglasses, tinted glasses, or prescription glasses.
💡 Can I wear a uniform?
No, neither adults nor children can wear uniforms or clothing that looks like a uniform. Camouflage attire is also not permitted.
💡 Can I have a smile on a US passport photo?
In general, you should not smile. However, you can have a soft and natural smile, but keep your mouth closed.
💡 Do I have to apply for a new passport for a child who has grown?
No. If the look of your child under the age of 16 has changed due to the normal aging process, you do not need to apply for a new passport for him or her.
💡 Can I do a US passport photo with my phone?
Yes, you can take a picture with your phone or any other device that has a high-quality digital camera. However, you must prepare the photo in accordance with the requirements of the US Department of State, and for this purpose use the PhotoAiD app or online tool.
Remember that “selfies” are not allowed. If you want to take a picture by yourself with your phone, mount the device on a tripod and position it approximately 4 feet away.
A US passport is a document that fulfills several functions. First, it is an identity document, secondly, it allows you to travel to foreign countries, and thirdly, it can be used as proof of American citizenship. The current US passport is a biometric passport - it has a US biometric passport photo and an electronic chip containing important information about the document holder. The passport looks like a booklet with a navy blue cover. It is issued to applicants by the U.S. Department of State.
Only an American citizens and non-citizen nationals, i.e. people with permanent allegiance to the United States, can apply for a US passport. In the case of underage people (under 16), a legal guardian or a parent can apply for a passport for them. A passport can also be issued to a person who has dual citizenship and already has a passport of another country. To apply for an American passport, the applicant has to provide an actual US passport photo of size 2 x 2 in, birth certificate or naturalization certificate and in-state valid photo ID.
Interestingly, in the USA you can apply for either the US passport book or the US passport card. The booklet has a wider application because it allows international travel by air, sea, or land. On the other hand, a US passport card cannot be used for international air travel. It only allows you to enter the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean or Bermuda. Also, remember that Passport books and cards are alternatives to a state-issued ID.
Issuing the US passport book costs $145 for first-time applicants who are 16 and older. These documents are valid for 10 years. Applicants under 16 must pay $115 for their documents which are valid for only 5 years. US passport renewals by mail cost $110.
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