Passport Photo Requirements for a Passport

If it’s time for a new passport, it’s also time for a new passport photo. Whether you’re renewing an existing passport, replacing a damaged, lost or stolen one or obtaining a passport for the first time, you will need to provide a photo of yourself when you apply. The photo you submit with your application must adhere to strict guidelines outlined by the U.S. Government.

If the photo does not adhere to these guidelines, your application will be rejected, and you will have to begin the application process again. If you are traveling soon, a delay in your application could also mean a delay in your travel plans. To prevent an expected delay in your departure, it is important that you follow the photo guidelines carefully.

Passport Photo Guidelines

You must submit one photo of yourself with your application when you apply for a passport. The photo must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • It must be in color. Black and white photos will not be accepted.
  • The photo should be printed on high quality photo paper.
  • The background should be white or off-white.
  • The size of the photo must be 2 in. x 2 in., and it should measure between 1 in. and 1 3/8 in. from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin
  • You must be facing forward with your eyes open in your passport photo. Profile shots and photos where your eyes are closed will not be accepted.M/LI>

    Other Considerations

    You must submit a photo that has been taken within the last six months with your passport application. Photos that are older than six months should not be included with your passport application because the photo must reflect your current appearance.

    You should wear clothing that you would normally wear, and you should not wear a uniform or hat in your photo unless you wear it on a daily basis for religious reasons. You can wear glasses in your photo if you normally wear them, but there cannot be a glare in the photo from your glasses. For examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos as well as additional details about the requirements, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

    Changes in Appearance

    If your appearance has undergone a significant change since your last passport photo, you may want to submit a new photo and apply for a new passport even if your existing passport is still valid.

    The choice is yours, but if you cannot be identified by the photo on your passport, your passport won’t be accepted by officials, and you could be prevented from entering a foreign country or re-entering the U.S. Examples of why you may need a new photo include a dramatic weight loss or weight gain, or cosmetic surgery that has significantly altered your appearance. You don’t need a new photo if you make a small change like dying your hair.

    Do it Yourself

    You may decide to take your passport photo yourself rather than having it taken by a professional. If you choose to do so, you need to make sure the quality of the photo meets the standards required by the government. Acceptance of your photo is solely at the discretion of the U.S. Passport Agency.

    If you choose to take it yourself, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The photo cannot be altered in any way
  • You must use proper lighting and an acceptable background. Photos that have shadows, are too dark or do not have a white or off-white background will not be accepted.
  • Hire a Professional

    If you want to be sure your photo will meet the strict requirements of the U.S. government, so you don’t experience any delays in the processing of your application, you can get a professional to take the photo for you.

    A variety of retail locations offer professional passport photo services and some passport acceptance facilities will take your photo for an extra fee. Finding one in your area is easy. When you choose to have your photo taken by a professional you can be sure it will adhere to the government’s guidelines.


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