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There could be an endless number of reasons for you to go to the United States of America: exploring, sightseeing, visiting family and friends, work, education or simply wanting some adventure. If going to the U.S. is on your bucket list, you need to be prepared to meet some requirements. You need a passport and in many cases you will also need a visa. In order to obtain a visa you must provide certain documents as well as a visa photo.The U.S. visa photo guidelines
When it comes to the American visa photo requirements, people are often confused because the required size and some of the other requirements are different for visa pictures than they are in the majority of countries in the world. We have created a short guide and you will know:
If you want to save your time and money, you will love our visa photo tool which uses Artificial Intelligence technology. Nowadays all photos on American passports and visas must be machine-readable, so what better way to verify them than with a machine itself? All pictures uploaded to our editor are automatically verified by the AI and marked as correct or incorrect. This is completely free of charge and you will only pay for a perfectly edited photo that you wish to download. All previews are free.
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 in order to create your visa photo in a couple of seconds. They are:
If you are preparing a visa photo by yourself you probably have many questions about the size, head position, cropping, background, facial expression, which accessories are allowed or forbidden, such as eyeglasses or hearing devices.
The only required American visa photo size is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) with a small frame allowed.
All of your face, the area around the collarbone and upper part of the shoulder must be seen in the picture. The head must be centered and fill 50-69% of the whole photo. The eyeline should be placed 28-35 mm from the bottom edge.
Your head must not be tilted in any direction and you must be looking straight at the camera. The shot must be taken with a front-facing view, no profiles or semi-profiles are allowed.
Only color photographs are accepted as U.S. visa photos. The background must always be white or off-white. It must also be free of patterns, spots and shadows, which may not be so easy to achieve.
The visa photo must reflect your natural skin tone. For this reason it must not be black and white, or overexposed or underexposed. It is preferable that you use daylight in order to obtain the most natural effect and get rid of unwanted shadows.
Some people say that a biometric photo, which is required for U.S. visa documentation, reminds them of a mugshot. This is probably because the photo must be taken from the front with their eyes turned directly towards the camera and the person being photographed must maintain a neutral facial expression.
You need to close your mouth and open your eyes. All pictures where the person is smiling will be rejected, also photographs where the person is blinking, as it will appear as though their eyes are closed.
In the visa picture the eyes and pupils of the person being photographed must be clearly visible. This means that you must keep them open but this isn’t the only thing you must do. The second important thing is that nothing can obscure your eyes - this means that your hair or frames of your eyeglasses must not be in the way of your eyes.
More about eyeglasses:
There is only one main rule for American visa photos: you are not allowed to wear uniforms or clothing that looks like a uniform. You are not even allowed to wear a blouse or T-shirt that has a camouflage pattern. All photos that are recognized by the AI as “a person in a uniform” will be rejected.
But aside from this you can wear whatever you wish. We have some tips for you such as:
If you can prove that the head covering you are wearing in your visa photo is a part of recognized, traditional religious attire, you may keep it. For this purpose you must submit a signed document that you wear an item like a hijab, yarmulke or hat for religious reasons. Niquabs, which cover most of the face, are not allowed under any conditions.
Fashionable headwear is forbidden so take off your cap or hat before posing for your photograph. Don’t wear headbands, scarves or big decorative hair accessories as they may obscure your face. Your full face must be visible and free of shadows, so even if you do wear a head covering for religious reasons, you must make sure that it does not cover your face below the hairline.
Applicants often ask about the recommended hair and beard styles. Questions such as: “Can I have my hair down?”, “What about my beard?” “Are facial piercings allowed?”are common questions that are asked regularly.
We can dispel your doubts and inform you that in the U.S. visa photo you can:
You cannot wear headphones or other wireless devices (the exception being medical hearing devices).
Get familiar with the most commonly made mistakes and check to make sure that you did not make them in your picture for the U.S. visa.
The villains of the piece are:
You absolutely must not use any retouching programs to retouch your picture. All scars or skin imperfections must be seen as they are in reality.
You must attach 2 (two) identical pictures, that were taken within the last 6 (six) months, to your U.S. visa application.
You will need to submit a new picture if your appearance has changed significantly during this period. Children and teenagers under 16 years old are not obligated to provide a new photo for the U.S. visa even if they have changed because of the natural growth process. But there are some cases when this is mandatory, so submit a new photo if:
You have read all of the text below and now you are probably thinking about taking the perfect visa photo at home. Download our PhotoAiD app that will crop, resize and make the rest of the necessary alterations to your image.
You may know that the required size of an American visa photo is 51 x 51 mm. Once you choose your desired document in PhotoAiD, its Artificial Intelligence will take care of the correct dimensions, the right crop and resolution. You can focus on choosing the best shot of yourself. You will only pay for the picture you choose to use. All other shots are free of charge.
Our smart photo tool is able to generate every color for the background. It doesn’t matter if, in your picture, there are other people or objects visible, if the background is full of shadows or has patterns. PhotoAiD overcomes any challenge and after a second the background in your visa picture will be plain and white as required.
Do you want to be sure that the photo you have attached to your U.S.visa is correct and will be accepted by the authorities? Every photo is verified by our AI and if it is marked as correct, you can be sure it really is. If somehow your photo that was approved by PhotoAiD is not accepted, let us know and we will return your money.
Once you have taken, had it edited and accepted your photo, you can order a photo for U.S.visa in a digital version sent to your email address. You can print the image in stores such as Walmart, Walgreens, Costco or any other store near you that offers printing services.
If you apply online, your photo will be ready to attach to the application form. You can use the photo template more than once, when you will be applying for other documents that require photos with the same measurements and requirements.
PhotoAiD app is available for iOS and Android and you can download the app from the Google Play Store for Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC, Lenovo and Sony smartphones or from the AppStore for your iPhone.
With PhotoAiD your photo will be:
With our app you will be spending a fraction of the costs and save time, because it will only take you as long as it takes to get your phone out, set up for a photo and hit the button.
Last update: 11/30/22
💡 What is the required size of a U.S. visa photo?
Photos that are to be used for an American visa must be 51 x 51 mm (2 x 2 inches) and the head must fill 50-69% of the whole image.
💡 Can I take a U.S. visa photo with my Iphone?
Absolutely! And not just with an iPhone - all smartphones can be used.
Take a picture according to the requirements for the U.S. visa photo and upload it to our online photo generator, which will do the rest.
💡 How to resize an image for a U.S. visa?
The best way to do this is to use the resizing and cropping photo tool available online. You don’t even have to know the requirements about the size, the entire process is automated.
💡 I wear eyeglasses - can I have them on in my U.S. visa photo?
Generally speaking, no. You must take off your prescription glasses even if you wear them every day. You are only allowed to wear glasses that cannot be removed for medical reasons. Sunglasses and tinted glasses are not allowed no matter what.
💡 What if I have a medical reason to wear eyeglasses?
There is a possibility for you to wear eyeglasses if they are required for medical reasons. It may be because of something such as recent ocular surgery or your doctor confirming that you must wear them in order to protect your eyes. In such a situation you must provide a medical statement that has been signed by a medical professional or health practitioner.
💡 Can I print a photo for an American visa using 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. Inkjet printers are not suitable devices for this process.
💡 Where can I take a visa photo near me?
You can try with photo booths in your neighbourhood but a better idea is to take the photo by yourself at home. All you need is your smartphone and some technology. This technology is also known as a visa photo maker and you can download our PhotoAiD app in an instant, from the 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 U.S. visa photo?
Yes, if you submit a signed letter or statement that it is required by your religious community. And if you do keep your headwear on (it may also be another part of attire used for religious reasons such as a yarmulke or hat) make sure that it does not obscure your face under the hairline.
💡 Can I smile in the U.S. visa photo?
Not at all. American visa photos must be biometric and in a biometric photo a neutral facial expression is required.
💡 What is this “neutral facial expression” required for a U.S. visa picture?
Have you ever seen a mugshot? It is similar. You must look straight into the camera, relax your facial muscles and close your mouth.
💡 Can I use Photoshop to correct my photo?
No. Never do this if you do not want your photo to be rejected. Any alteration made by computer software or internet filters will cause immediate rejection of your photo, and trust us when we say that the AI the government uses to check photos will detect it.
💡 Can I put on some makeup before taking a photo for a U.S. 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 and put on so much that it changes how you look.
💡 Can I have my hair down in the U.S. visa photo?
Yes, you can. There are no requirements about hairstyles in U.S. visa photos. You also don’t have to expose your ears, but make sure that your hair does not obscure your eyes and facial oval.
💡 Is there a dress-code for an American visa photo?
Generally speaking, no. You can wear whatever you like as long as it is not a uniform or any kind of shirt that looks like a uniform. All colors are allowed but camouflage patterns are forbidden.
💡 How old can my U.S. visa photo be when applying?
The photo that you attach to your visa application form must not be older than 6 months and show your current appearance as closely as possible.
A U.S. visa is a document issued to foreign citizens who seek to enter the United States of America. A U.S. visa is always placed in the traveler’s passport and contains some personal data and the passport holder’s biometric photo. Every visa has an expiration date and its holder must not stay in the U.S. after this date.
There are more than 20 nonimmigrant visa types and many more types of immigrant visas. If your plan is to travel to the United States temporarily, you may choose one of the large range of nonimmigrant visas. The others are for those who are going to live permanently in the United States. The type of Visa you need is determined by the purpose of your intended travel.
A Visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa and is generally used to enter the United States temporarily for business, 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 that cannot be done during your stay in the USA. You cannot study, be employed, give a professional performance before a paying audience, or work 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 when applying for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary and it is the embassy or consulate that decides on this process. The first step is always gathering the mandatory documents. You will need to take them with you to the appointment at the embassy or consulate. The documents that you will need are:
Optionally, you may be asked to submit certain documents from sponsors - which 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 no such possibility, or you are staying temporarily in another location, you may schedule your interview in another U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It may be more difficult to qualify for a visa with an embassy or consulate outside of the country you live in, but it is still possible.
Wait times for interview appointments can differ between embassies, and depend on the season, and visa category.
A visa has limits as to the duration of your stay, the dates you may enter, the number of permitted visits and of course the expiration date. Generally speaking, you must leave the U.S. 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 will make you ineligible for visas in the future.
If you have important reasons that require you to stay longer in the U.S., contact Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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