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There could be an endless number of reasons to go to the United States of America. Exploring, sightseeing, visiting family and friends, work, education or liking for adventures. If going to the US is on your plan list, you need to be prepared to meet some requirements. Of course, you need a passport and in many cases - also a visa. To get a visa you must provide certain documents and a visa photo. There is not an obligation to take it in a professional photograph studio - you can do it yourself, using only your smartphone and online photo editor. Be attentive because there is a specification for the US visa photo and if you fail, your visa application form will be rejected.
When it comes to American visa photo spec, people are often confused because its required size and some other demandings are different than for visa pictures to the majority of countries in the world. We have created a short handbook on this topic - please, be our guest and grab the most important information about the US visa photo requirements. You will read this text in less than ten minutes after after reading it, you will know how:
If you want to save your money and time, you will love our Visa Photo Tool which is based on Artificial Intelligence technology. Nowadays all photos in American passports and visas to the US must be machine-readable, so what is better to verify them than a machine itself? All pictures uploaded to our editor are automatically verified by AI and marked as
correct or incorrect. This is completely free of charge. You pay only for a perfectly done photo which you wish to download. All previews are gratis.
When you decide which shot you want to print or send with your visa application, you may order a template which you can later use as many times as you wish.
There are only a few things that you need to create your visa photo in a couple of seconds. There are:
Preparing by yourself a visa photo you probably have many questions about size, head position, cropping, background, face expression, allowed and forbidden accessories like eyeglasses or hearing devices. Maybe also questions about dress code or hairstyle have crossed your mind. We know all the answers and will share them with you with pleasure! So, let’s start!
The only required American visa photo size is 2 x 2 inches (51 mm x 51 mm) with a small framing allowed. This is worth knowing because it is not a very common photo size. But, anyway, even if you forgot it right in the moment, do not worry! Our intelligent photo tool will resize your picture accurately and automatically
This one is about the right cropping. All your face, area around the collarbone and upper part of shoulder must be seen in the picture. Important thing: the head must be centered and fill 50-69% of the whole photo. Eyes line should be placed 28-35 mm from the bottom edge.
Your head must not be tilted in any direction and you must look straight at the camera. A shot must be taken en-face, no profiles, no semi-profiles are allowed.
Are you wondering how to obtain the right crop? This is easy and you do not need to do anything but using the cropping tool for a visa photo.
Only color photographs are accepted as US visa photos. The background must always be white or off-white. It must also be free of patterns, spots and shadows which may be not so easy to get. What to do if you take your picture at home and behind you there is a wall in another than white color or other objects are visible?
The answer is: erase the wrong background and change it into the required one - plain, white or off-white. How? Of course with our specially dedicated background removing app!
The visa photo must reflect your natural skin color. For this reason it must not be black and white, neither overexposed or underexposed. Use preferably daylight to obtain the most natural effect and get rid of unwanted shadows.
We have this instinct to smile while taking a picture. This is nice and desired when we pose against the Eiffel Tower or on the beach but when it comes to official photographs, the smile is not only unwelcome. Is not allowed.
Some people say that a biometric photo which is required to US visa documentation reminds them of a mugshot. That is probably because the photo must be taken in front with eyes turned directly towards the camera and the photographed person must keep a neutral face expression. So… don’t smile, even a little bit. Also, close your mouths and open your eyes. All “smiling” pictures will be rejected, also “blinking” ones.
In the visa picture the eyes and pupils of a photographed person must be clearly visible. It means that you must keep them open but not only this. The second important thing is that nothing can obscure your eyes - no hair or eyeglasses frame if you wear them in the photo.
More about eyeglasses:
The point number 3 needs a larger write-up. What are the medical reasons justifying wearing eyeglasses in the US visa photo? It may be e.g. recent ocular surgery or other reason why the eyeglasses are necessary to protect your eyes. In such a situation you must provide the embassy or consulate with a medical statement signed by a medical professional or health practitioner.
Anyway, even if the eyeglasses are accepted, you must make sure that:
There is only one main rule for American visa photos: ban on uniforms and clothes looking like uniforms. You are not allowed even to wear a blouse or t-shirt in a camouflage pattern. All photos which are recognized by AI as “a person in a uniforme” will be rejected.
But aside from this interdiction you can wear as you wish. We just have some tips for you such as:
If you prove that a head covering you wear in your visa photo is a part of recognized, traditional religious attire, you may keep it. On this purpose you must submit a signed document that you wear an item like hijab, yarmulke or hat for religious reasons. Anyway , niquabs covering most of the face are not allowed under any conditions.
Fashion headgears are forbidden so take off your cap or hat before starting to pose for the photograph.Don’t wear either headbands, scarves or big decorative hair accessories as they may obscure your face. Keep in mind that your full face must be visible and free of shadows so even if you wear a head covering for religious reasons, make sure that it does not cover your face below the hairline.
Candidats often ask about recommended hair style and beard . F. ex.: “May I have my hair down?”, “What’s about the beard?” “Is facial piercing allowed?”
We dispel doubts and inform that in the US visa photo you CAN:
You CANNOT instead wear headphones or other wireless devices (the exception are medical hearing devices).
Every year thousands of applications for American visa are rejected. A “wrong photo reason” is a significant part of them. So, what to do to avoid denial or delay of processing your US visa application? Get familiar with the most commonly made mistakes and check if you did not commit them in your picture!
The villain of the piece are:
Remember that you absolutely must not use any retouching programs to retouch your picture. All scars or skin imperfections must be seen as in reality. Of course you can use make-up, so maybe that is a good idea? If you want to make your visa photo prettier, try to operate the light, use some foundation, take care of your hair, but never use a computer software to interfere in the photo.
However, you can use a professional photo app which is able to resize, crop, adjust the background and check your picture at the end.
You must attach to your US visa application two identical pictures taken within the last 6 months. Maybe you already have a template and want to use it on this purpose? You can do it but make sure that your photo is not older than 6 months.
However, you need to submit a new picture if your appearance has changed significantly during this period. Cutting or dyeing the hair or growing a beard is not the case. Also children and teenagers under 16 years old are not obliged to provide a new photo for the US visa even if they have changed during the natural growth process. But there are some cases when this is mandatory. Submit a new photo if:
Congratulations! You have read all the text below and now you are probably thinking about taking your perfect visa photo at home. Or the office. Or maybe in your garden, doesn’t matter. Just download our App and let us convince you that it is nothing easier than create an ideal visa photo in less than a minute! Your job is only to look good and remember about requirements described above. We will crop, resize and do the rest with your image!
You may know that a required size of an American visa photo is 51 x 51 mm. But the best thing is that you do not need to remember it! Once you pick up the desired document in our online photo creator, it is Artificial Intelligence which takes care about correct dimensions, the right crop and resolution. You can focus on choosing the best shot of yourself. You will pay only for the chosen one. All other shots are free of charge.
Our smart photo tool is able to generate every color of the background. It doesn’t matter if in your picture are other people or objects visible, if the background is full of shadows or in pattern. The online Photo Generator manages every challenge! After a second the background in your visa picture will be plain and white as required.
Do you want to be 100% sure that the photo attached to your visa is correct and will be accepted by authorities? You do not need to ask a professional photographer or look for a separate tool on the Internet. Our Visa Photo Generator is a complete tool to give you 100% of satisfaction! Every photo is verified by AI and if it is marked as correct, you can be sure it really is. If somehow (what never happens but we want you know it) your photograph approved by our verifying tool is not accepted, just let us know and we will return you the money. But really, it cannot happen. We give you the warranty of acceptance.
Once you create and accept your photo shot, you may order its digital version sent on your email address. You have the opportunity to print it f. ex. in Walmart, Walgreens, Costco or another store near you. If you apply online, your photo will be ready to attach to the application form. You can use your photo template more than once.
Regardless of the operating system on your smartphone, you can use our Visa Photo Online App. It is available for iOS and for Android as well. You can download it from Google Play Store for Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC, Lenovo and Sony smartphones or from AppStore for your iPhone.
Of course, you may not wish for any help and create your visa photo absolutely by yourself. But it is time consuming and in many cases frustrating. You must resize precisely and crop the picture, do something with the unsuitable background and at the end you are still not sure if everything is alright. So, why not to give us a chance to help you? With our photo tool your photo will be:
Of course, you can look for a photo booth or book a visit in a professional photography studio but do you really want to spend your money and time for something you can have for a part of costs and in a minute? Moreover, we have difficult times, we need to keep a social distance from other people so going to a mall or city center or waiting in a line or waiting in an antechamber is not the best idea.
Stay safe and do via the Internet what is possible to do. And for sure taking a correct American visa photo is! And it may also be funny! You can try different outfits, hairstyles and makeups, take many shots and play with lights. It doesn’t matter how many shots you take, you pay only for what you order. And you have a warranty of photo approval. Could it be better?
💡 What is the required size of the US visa photo?
Photos dedicated to an American visa must be 51 x 51 mm (2 x 2 inches). The head must fill 50-69% of the whole image.
💡 Can I take an US visa photo with my Iphone?
Absolutely! And not only with an iPhone - all smartphones can do it!
Take a picture according to specification for the US visa photo and upload it to the online photo generator which will do the rest.
💡 How to resize an image for the US visa?
The best way to do it is use the resizing and cropping photo tool available online. You don’t even have to know requirements about size, all the process is automatized.
💡 I wear eyeglasses - may I have them in my US visa photo?
Generally speaking, no. You must take off your prescription glasses even if you wear them every day. You are allowed only to wear glasses which cannot be removed for medical reasons. Sunglasses and tinted glasses are not allowed in any case.
💡 What if I have the medical reasons to wear eyeglasses?
There is the possibility to wear eyeglasses if it is required for medical reasons. It may be e.g. a recent ocular surgery or a doctor confirms that you must wear them to protect your eyes. In such a situation you must provide a medical statement signed by a medical professional or health practitioner.
💡 Can I print a photo to American visa on my home printer?
No. You can take a picture with your phone or digital camera but it must be printed on high quality photo paper and in good resolution. Ink printers are not suitable devices for this process.
💡 Where can I take a visa photo near me?
You can try with photo points or photo booths in your neighbourhood but a better idea is to create the photo by yourself at home. All you need is your smartphone and some technology. This technology is also known as the Visa Photo Maker and you can download it in an instant from Google Play Store or AppStore.
💡 How is the validity of the photo for the US visa?
The photo you attach to your visa application form must not be older than 6 months.
💡 I wear a hijab - can I wear a head covering in my US visa photo?
Yes, if you submit a signed letter or statement that it is required by your religious community. And if you keep your headgear (it may also be another part of attire used for religious reasons as yarmulke or hat) make sure that it does not obscure your face under the hairline.
💡 Can I smile in the US visa photo?
Not at all. American visa photo must be a biometric photo and here a neutral facial expression is required.
💡 What is this “neutral facial expression” required for a US visa picture?
Have you ever seen a mugshot? It is similar :) You must look straight at the camera, relax your face muscles and close your mouths.
💡 Can I use Photoshop to correct my photo?
No. Never do it if you do not want your photo to be rejected. Any alteration by computer software or internet filters will disqualify your picture.
💡 Can I put on some makeup before taking a photo for the US visa?
Why not? Makeup is allowed and even recommended if you like it. Note: the visa photo must reflect your natural skin color and facial features so don’t exaggerate!
💡 May I have my hair down in the US visa photo?
Yes, you can. There are not any requirements about hairstyle in US visa photos. You don’t have to either expose your ears but make sure that your hair does not obscure your eyes and face oval.
💡 Is there any dress-code for American visa photo?
Generally speaking, no. You may wear what you like as long as this is not a uniform nor any kind of shirt looking like a uniform. All colors but camouflage (moro) patterns are allowed.
A US visa is a document issued to foreign citizens who seek to enter the United States of America. Not every foreign national needs a visa to cross the American border, there are many US visa-exempt countries. A U.S. visa is always placed in the traveler’s passport and contains some personal data and the passport’s holder biometric photo. Every visa has an expiration date and its holder must not stay in the US after this date. A traveler must show their visa while leaving the country - if you lose it or stay longer than you were allowed to, you may have troubles with an US immigration office.
Certain international travelers can come to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program of the USA federal government that allows citizens of 39 countries to travel there for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without a requirement of obtaining a visa previously. On the list of these countries are:
All citizens of other countries generally must first obtain a visa if they want to enter the US.
There are more than twenty nonimmigrant visa types and many more types of immigrant visa. If your plan is traveling to the United States temporarily, you may choose one of the large range of nonimmigrant visas. The others are s for those who go to live permanently in the United States. The type of Visa you need is determined by the purpose of your intended travel. If your intention is sightseeing, visiting, meeting your family and friends, pick up the B-2 category Visitor Visa. The best for your goals is a Business and Pleasure Visitor Visa.
Even if you have a visa, it does not guarantee you entry into the United States. A visa allows foreign citizens only to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry. At this point is a Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector who authorizes or denies admission to the United States. It means that even if you have a valid visa in your passport, you still may be returned from the border (airport or land border).
A Visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa and generally is used to enter the United States temporarily for business, for pleasure or medical treatment, or a combination of these purposes. If the purpose of your travel is recreational in nature, then a Business and Pleasure Visitor Visa would be appropriate for you. What exactly is this indicated recreational purpose? It may be one of the following:
Remember that with this type of visa there are some activities which cannot be done during your stay in the USA. You cannot study, be employed, give any professional performance before a paying audience, stay as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft. So, if you are planning to travel to the United States for such a purpose, you must apply for a different category of visa.
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary and it is the embassy or consulate which decides about all this process. Anyway, the first step is always gathering mandatory documents. You will need to carry with you to the appointment in embassy or consulate:
Optionally, you may be asked to submit certain documents from the sponsors - it is for applicants whose trip is sponsored by their children, relatives, or friends who live in the United States.
The last step is to schedule an appointment for your visa interview. You need to go in person to the embassy or consulate. If in your country there is not such a possibility or you stay temporarily in another location you may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live but this is still possible.
Wait times for interview appointments can differ between embassies, depend on season, and visa category. Our tip is to apply for your visa early. For better planning you can always call the embassy or consulate in your location and ask about wait time.
A visa includes limits on the duration of the stay, the dates you may enter, the number of permitted visits and of course the expiration time. Generally speaking, you must leave the US before this date, otherwise the immigration services of the USA will start to be concerned about you. Failure to depart the United States on time may result in deportation and making you ineligible for visas in the future.
If you have important reasons to stay longer in the US, contact Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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