Passport Photos Overview:
Almost all international travel requires a passport to get in and out of the country. When submitting your passport application, it is essential to never overlook the photo. Unlike a driver’s license, where the photo is taken by government employees, passport photos must be submitted with the rest of the application. Because of this, it is important to understand the requirements associated with a photo before completing your application.
A good passport photo should be an accurate representation of your daily appearance. Photos should be taken no more than six months before your application is submitted. All photos must be exactly 2 inches tall and 2 inches wide with no variations. The photo must be high resolution and should be in color. The background should be a solid color, and white or cream is often preferred. The composition of the photo should feature the head and shoulders with the head taking up the majority of the frame.
Your pose is also important to consider. Passport photos are standardized to help with identification procedures. All photos should be taken with your face forward, and no profile shots are accepted. You should wear normal clothes and keep your face neutral. Despite your desire to say cheese, most photos no longer feature smiles, and your eyes must be open and directed straight at the camera. Any weird expressions or poses will not be allowed.
As of November 1st, 2017 eyeglasses are only acceptable if you wear them regularly with a doctors letter, but your eyes must be visible through them. Therefore, if there is a glare on your glasses, the photo is not usable. Hats are allowed when worn for religious reasons, but even then, the hat cannot obscure your visage. Children are expected to adhere to the same guidelines, and they must be photographed alone. The only exception applies to newborns, who can be photographed while sleeping.
Photos cannot be digitally altered at all. Even correction after the fact for a red eye is not allowed. You must take an original photo to submit for your passport, and official photos for other badges or your driver’s license cannot be transferred to your passport. While it is possible to take your own passport photo, the number of restrictions makes such a prospect uncertain. Instead, it is best to get the photo taken professionally. Shipping stores, drug stores, photo stores and professional photography studios are all excellent choices for a passport photo. Do not use a photo booth because those pictures will not be accepted.
While you may be worried about other parts of your paperwork, bad photos are often cited as reasons for a denied application. The most common reasons that photos are rejected include tilted faces, grainy images, obscured eyes and physical damage to the photo. Passport photos are also commonly rejected for being composed incorrectly with a background that is not plain or a face that is not facing the camera. Be mindful of the requirements so you can get your passport approved and start your adventures around the world.