Prepare a perfect US passport photo using your smartphone
You save time and money - take a document photo conveniently without leaving home
A US passport picture is an important image that is necessary to be able to apply for this document. It is a biometric photo that emphasizes the biometric features of each person's face. Thanks to this, officials can easily and quickly identify the person in the photo using special biometric programs. Importantly, a biometric photo can be taken at home with an iPhone or other device equipped with a digital camera. The file itself can be easily prepared using the PhotoAiD app or an online tool. How to do it? Learn more about the US passport photo requirements and take a proper picture at home with 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. Correct execution of the US passport image requires getting to know the detailed requirements, but it is still possible to take such a photo at home and prepare it using the PhotoAiD. Find out more!
Correct US passport photo size is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm). Image must have definition parameters. It is very important that the head in the photo is between 1 -1.4 inches (25 - 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. Also, the head must be in the center of the picture. The whole frame should cover the entire head, neck and upper shoulders. To achieve this, the photo cannot be taken too close or too far.
The photo must be in focus, with no visible pixels or printer dots. Print it on matte or glossy photo paper. The picture cannot be changed by any computer program and you cannot apply filters to it. Moreover, the photo cannot be blurry or grainy.
US passport picture resolution for digital photos has to be at least 300 dpi, but it is better to take a picture with the resolution of at least 600 dpi. This allows you to print the photo in high quality. Thanks to this you have a greater chance that your application will not be rejected.
Background is a very important requirement for US photo passports. It should be uniform, plain and white or off-white. Also, make sure the background of the picture is free of shadows on the face, shoulders and back.
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, arms or back. Everything to ensure the correct contrast between the background and the person in the photo.
In the US 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.
Unlike in Europe, you cannot wear any glasses on a US passport photo. Neither prescription nor sunglasses or tinted glasses. All this so that the frames or lenses of the glasses do not cover the eyes of the person in the photo. Your eyes must be open and you must look directly at the camera. The pupils and irises of the eyes must be visible in the picture.
As your face must be fully visible, do not cover it with your hair. The oval of your face must be visible in the biometric photos, as well as your eyebrows. If you have a fringe, move it aside.
As for US passport image headcover, they are generally prohibited. Exceptionally, the U.S. Departament of State allows headgear worn for medical or religious reasons, such as head scarves or Jewish skullcaps. However, you must provide a signed statement that the headgear is part of a recognized, traditional religious garment that must be worn continuously in public, or a signed statement from a physician confirming that the item is used daily for medical purposes. Remember also that hats cannot cover even a small part of the face and cannot cast shadows.
There are no official dress code requirements for the US 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 US passport photo. Consider putting on something other than white and 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.
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 US passport photo, make sure the image is in focus. The pixels cannot be seen, nor the photo blurred. The same is true for both the digital file and the printed photo.
As of 2016, wearing glasses in photos for the US passport is no longer accepted. To avoid your application being rejected, remove your glasses when taking the photo. Medical glasses, sunglasses, such as tinted, are not accepted.
Remember that a US 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. The photo must be of high quality.
US passport picture of babies and kids generally have similar requirements to adult photos. However, the Dep. Of State is more forgiving about the facial expressions of newborns and toddlers. 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.
Spread a plain white sheet on the floor and place the newborn on top of it. Take a photo of it in advance, however, make sure there are no shadows in the photo. The child's body and face must be photographed in front of it.
In the case of babies, you can help yourself with 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 back with your hand. Just make sure your hand is not in the frame. It is very important that no one else should be in the picture when photographing a baby or toddler.
A US passport picture is easy to understand when you use an intelligent online tool or our iPhone and Android app. How to do it? It is enough to pose for a photo in accordance with the requirements for a US passport photo, and put the photo file into the tool, which will prepare a photo from it ready for printing or sending online for application. See how it works exactly:
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 itself, making it completely white and without any objects.
The app works like a photo cropper. It crops the US passport photo to the correct size and prepares the correct frame from which you can print the photos or send a printed version.
Our online tool and app work like a passport photo checker. Intelligent software verifies the position of the head, head height in the photo, visibility of all biometric features of the face. It also checks if the picture has Normal contrast and lighting. When there is something wrong, you are informed that you need to repeat the shot.
Last update: 29.09.2021
💡 Is the current US 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?
Well. Both adults and children cannot wear uniforms or clothing that looks like a uniform. Moreover camouflage attire neither is allowed.
💡 Can I have a smile on a US passport photo?
In general, you better 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 up?
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.
Better not, because the selfie disturbs the proportions of the face. If you want to take a picture of 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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