New Reqs for Passport & Visa Photos as of Nov. 1, 2016 (Video)

Beginning November 1, 2016, applicants for U.S. passports and visas must remove their glasses for their application photos.

This change will help eliminate glares and shadows that can lead to delays in processing visa and passport applications.

Applicants may wear glasses only in rare circumstances of documented medical necessity during urgent travel.

The change will ensure consistent photo standards for passport and visa services.

No Glasses

The Department expects a record-high of more than 20 million passport applications in Fiscal Year 2017.

Last year, more than 200,000 passport customers submitted poor quality or otherwise non-compliant photos, which delayed processing their passport applications.

The #1 problem was glasses.

No Glasses

We had to put their passport applications on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify them from their photo.

Many U.S. visa applications have been delayed due to the same problem.

If the photo of you in your unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. visa has glasses, don’t worry about it.

You don’t have to get a passport or visa now.

Next time you renew your passport or apply for a new visa, though, you’ll have to take your glasses off.

(Tips for taking the perfect passport picture from Consular Affairs at the Department of State. Courtesy of YouTube)

This policy change helps us and it helps you.

We can see you more clearly now and you will experience fewer U.S. passport and U.S. visa application delays and can move faster through U.S. ports of entry.

Don’t get us wrong, we love your glasses, but take them off for your U.S. passport or U.S. visa photo.*

*If you must wear eye glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement with your U.S. passport or U.S. visa application from a medical professional or health practitioner.

The change will prevent many such delays, ensuring more passport and visa applicants have travel documents when they need them.

Photo Requirements

You must provide 1 photo with your application.

Requirements for a Good Passport Photo

  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
  • Size of photo
    • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
    • Size of head must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
    • View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
  • Recent, taken in the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Eye glasses may be worn, but there must not be any glare.
  • Background must be plain white or off-white
  • Head must be directly facing the camera with your full face in view
  • Taken with a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open
  • In color
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
  • No hats or head coverings, unless you wear it daily for religious purposes. Your full face must be visible and your head covering cannot cast shadows on your face.
  • No headphones or wireless hands-free devices.

To see examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos, please visit the Photo Examples page.

Want to take your own photo?

If you don’t want to use one of the many retail locations that offer passport photo services, you may have a friend or family member take a photo of you. No selfies, please!

Please note: Do not digitally enhance or alter the photo to change your appearance (however, you must remove red eye).

The digital image must adhere to the following specifications:

Dimensions The image dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (the height must be equal to the width). Minimum acceptable dimensions are 600 x 600 pixels. Maximum acceptable dimensions are 1200 x 1200 pixels.
Color The image must be in color in sRGB color space which is the common output for most digital cameras.

Please review the following technical requirements and references for guidance on taking your own passport photo.

Want to use your own digital photo?

Use the Department of State’s free photo tool to:

Start Photo Tool
  • Select a digital image stored on your computer
  • Resize and rotate it if necessary
  • Crop it to a square image of exactly 600 x 600 pixels, and
  • Save it to your computer for printing

This tool requires Adobe Flash Player 10 or later.

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Still have questions about passport photos?

For more information on photos, check out our passport photo requirements and photo examples or visa photo requirements and photo examples.