USCIS Photos

USCIS Photos

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USCIS Photos - Size & Requirements

USCIS Photos Online
Width: 2 in
Height: 2 in
300 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 make 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

If you are planning to apply for U.S. citizenship, this guide is for you! Knowing the citizenship application photo requirements will help you take the right photographs to any official documents so it is worth getting familiar before taking a photo and including it with your application. 

Applicants who live in the U.S. don’t need to send two paper photographs because photos are taken at the biometrics appointment. Applicants who reside outside the United States, on the other hand, must provide two identical photographs in colour which were taken recently. 

USCIS passport photos guidelines

Let’s start by saying that the USCIS photo is a U.S. passport photo. The size and requirements are the same so you can use your passport photo or take a new one for your U.S. citizenship application as well as the passport. 

It is good to have a picture like this in your database as it is a passport-style biometric photo which means that they are specially made to be an easy way to recognise the document holder’s identification. Read on to find out how to take the right photo for the application for U.S. citizenship.

USCIS photo size and dimensions

The photo for USCIS is a square aspect ratio where width equals height where the size is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm). The head area must be between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inch (22 mm to 35 mm) or 50% to 69% of the total height of the image from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. You don't have to worry about the size with the USCIS photo editor. This photo creator will resize the picture, that it has the correct dimensions.

Other specifications regarding the USCIS photos:

  • has to be in color and focus
  • taken against a plain light background
  • shows the current appearance of applicant’s
  • not older than 6 months from the date of application
  • uniform and without shadows or patterns

Remember, that the photo has to meet the technical requirements for US passport photos.

Head position

The photo must be taken in full-face view, directly facing the camera. In the picture should be clearly visible the entire head, including the hair, neck, and upper shoulders. It is best to leave some space around the head. If you are not sure about the cropping, use the PhotoAiD cropper which ensures that the photo is properly resized regarding the official US document photos requirements.


The background for USCIS photos should be light and uniform in white color. However, if you can’t arrange the background to be perfect, use our PhotoAiD site or app which removes the background and replaces it with the one required for the document. 

Facial expression

The neutral expression is only one appropriate way of posing which means you can smile only slightly. Don't smile widely or show your teeth. The mouth must be closed and the eyes must be open. The face must be fully visible, so it is best to brush the hair back so that both of your face sides are possible to notice. Keep your face straight − don't tilt it as the photos from the half-profile are rejected immediately.


Regarding face, make-up should reflect your everyday look. Do not put a lot on your face before taking the USCIS photo because it will look unnatural and glossy. It should not mask the individual face features such as moles, wrinkles, birthmarks, scars, etc. as well as tattoos. So any interfering like retouching or trying to change the features will cause the photo rejection. Use our photo editor instead. It will edit your picture without breaking the official rules and you have a 100% of guaranteed acceptance!


You can't wear glasses on a passport photo. Sunglasses and tinted glasses are not allowed. In exceptional circumstances, you may wear glasses for special medical purposes. This applies, for example, where the glasses cannot be removed for medical reasons because the applicant has recently had eye surgery and the glasses are essential to protect the eyes. However, you must provide the appropriate statement from the doctor.


There is no special dress code for USCIS photos. Only uniforms are forbidden. You cannot have a uniform or military clothing in the photo. It is best to wear every day but neat clothes in which you will look elegant and professional. Is better to not choose eccentric styles and white shirts that may blend in with the background. 


Hats, caps, berets, etc. are not allowed in photos for documents such as USCIS passport photos. Only for medical or religious reasons, headgear is allowed on the passport photo as long as it does not cover the face and it is confirmed by a statement from his religious community or a doctor. However, burqas or other Muslim headscarves which cover your face are not allowed. The headscarf must be removed so that the face oval, chin and forehead are visible.


The light must illuminate both sides of the face. There must be no unwanted shadows in the photo, that is, on the face, neck or in the background. Make sure that the photo is not underexposed or overexposed. There must be a stark contrast between the background and the object.


USCIS passport photos must be in color, contrast and focused. It can't be blurry, grainy or pixelated. When submitting printed photos, you must ensure that they are not scratched, damaged and that there are no visible pixels after printing. Remember to print the pictures on matte or glossy high-quality photo paper. We recommend printing it in photo labs as the home printers have different quality often.

USCIS online Photo Tool

The US photo tool is a perfect solution while taking the right photos to the USCIS application. It works fast and gives you a 100% warranty of any of the US photo institutions. All you have to do is just upload a picture you just have taken and the rest leave to us! 

The online photo editor or app edits and resizes your image as well as removes an unsuitable background and changes it into a required one, so for USCIS in white, uniform color.

The last thing which the photo editor does is verifying if the picture meets all the U.S. citizenship photo requirements. If you want to be sure that the attached to your application form picture is correct, use the USCIS online Photo Creator!

You can download our PhotoAiD editor from AppStore or GooglePlay store depending on the phone you use - iPhone or a smartphone with Android. Is that simple!

Disqualifying mistakes while taking photos for USCIS

Taking photos to documents is not a piece of cake but we are here to help you with the process. While you already met the requirements regarding USCIS photos and you know how to use our PhotoAiD Tool, it is time to meet the most commonly make mistakes to know what you should avoid:

  • An overexposed or underexposed photo
  • Submitting an old photograph - the photo can’t be older than 6 months ago
  • Not showing the true appearance - you have changed a lot since the photo was taken or you are wearing too heavy makeup
  • Bad quality − blurry, grainy or pixelated images
  • Wrong head position - the head in the frame is not between 1 and 1 3/8 inch and the head is tilting
  • Uploading selfies – selfies are not allowed as they abrupt the natural face proportion and don’t really fit the official documents
  • Looking sideways
  • Smiling - smiling in photos is nice but not appropriate in the passport or USCIS application ones, the face must be neutral and do not show your teeth!
  • Headwear covers the face − the face must be perfectly visible and the hair neither headwears must not cover any part of it.

Last update: 13.08.2021

Frequently Asked Questions

❓ What is the size of USCIS photo?

The size of the USCIS photo is the same like for a US passport so the size is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm). The head area must be between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inch (22 mm to 35 mm) or 50% to 69% of the total height of the image from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

❓ Are the US passport photos requirements the same as USCIS?

Regarding photos to USCIS application - yes, you can use the US passport photo and following the requirements take the right photograph.

❓ Can I take a USCIS photo by phone?

The USCIS photos are biometric U.S. passport photos so if you meet the US passport photo requirements you know what the colour of the background has to be, head position, facial expression as well as the quality, etc. Then, start taking photos and we advise to use our photo editor which will edit, resize and verifies your picture that the process will be quicker and the photo 100% correct!

Only if you are from outside of U.S. you have to attach a passport size photographs but if you live as a U.S. citizen in America, you don't have to as the photo will be taken at the biometric appoitment.

It is required to not wear anything which is white to not blend with the bakcground. Also, extravagant outfits will not suit the official documents. Wear something casual and what you like but nothing eccentric.

Slighlty smiling is generally allowed but you must not laugh broadly and show your teeth. The face must be as natural as possible and the mouth closed.

Yes, you can but not heavy make-up or glossy. It should rather reflect your everyday look and not mask the individual face features such as moles, wrinkles, birthmarks, scars, etc. as well as tattoos.

Required documents are: a photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as “Green Card”), the check or money order for the application fee and the biometric services fee. You must write your Alien Registration Number (A-Number) on the back of the check or money order and two identical color copies of the USCIS photo with your name and A-Number wrote lightly in pencil on the back of the photo (only if you reside outside of the U.S.)

Currently you don't need to attach anything and the photos will be taken at biometrics appointment.

About the document

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administers the country's naturalization and immigration system. It is a successor to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which was dissolved by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and replaced by three components within the DHS: USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

USCIS performs many of the duties of the former INS, namely processing and adjudicating various immigration matters, including applications for work visas, asylum, and citizenship. Additionally, the agency is officially tasked with safeguarding national security, eliminating immigration case backlogs, and improving efficiency. 

Who is eligible for US Citizenship?

People who were born in the United States or if they were born abroad to Americans are also U.S. citizens. It is possible to become a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization or as a minor following the naturalization of one or both parents. According to the situation, there are different ways to obtain US citizenship. There are two main ones:

Acquisition − citizenship is obtained through U.S. citizenship parents either at birth or after birth, but before the age of 18.

Naturalization − is the way that an alien not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. It is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a:

  • lawful permanent resident (LPR) after meeting the requirements,
  • a person married to a U.S. citizen,
  • a person who serves/served in the U.S. Military,
  • child of a U.S. citizen.

In general, you may qualify for naturalization if you are at least 18 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen) and meet all other eligibility requirements.

How to apply for USCIS?

Apply for US citizenship you can in person or by using the mail service. The application and documents should be printed and put in one envelope. 

Application for the U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization requires filing the N-400 Form online or in-person. Also, all applicants must send the following three items with their N-400 form:

  1.  A photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as “Green Card”).
  2.  A check or money order for the application fee and the biometric services fee. You must write your Alien Registration Number (A-Number) on the back of the check or money order.
  3. Two identical color copies of the USCIS photo with your name and A-Number wrote lightly in pencil on the back of the photo (only if you reside outside of the U.S.)

Naturalization processing time and fees

The naturalization process takes 14 to 20 months. It is long but consists of 5 stages, including preparation, application, biometric meeting, interview and final activities. It ends with the granting of a Naturalization Certificate. 

The naturalization fee in total is $725. This amount includes filling the naturalization application for $640 and $85 is the fee for the biometric services. The costs of $725 you are advised to send with your USCIS application. It is payable with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank payable to the Department of Homeland Security or possible to pay with a credit card using the Authorization for Credit Card Transaction.

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