You must submit a passport photo along with your application if you do not have a U.S. visa or it is up for renewal. You can take your passport photo if you have the right equipment and know how to crop. However, passport photos must meet certain dimensions. You can pay for your photo to […]

You must submit a passport photo along with your application if you do not have a U.S. visa or it is up for renewal. You can take your passport photo if you have the right equipment and know how to crop. However, passport photos must meet certain dimensions.

You can pay for your photo to be taken at a U.S. service center. It might cost $15 to have your photo taken at a Postal Service office, CVS pharmacy, or Walgreens. It is possible to avoid this expense by taking your passport photo at home. Here are the basics.

U.S. U.S. passport photo requirements

Passport photos are subject to strict guidelines by the U.S. Department of State. If your photo is rejected, it can cause delays in your renewal or application. This could lead to disruptions to your travel plans. These are the specifications for passport photos to avoid any headaches.

  • Color photo.

  • Taken in the last six months.

  • Clear image of your face under full lighting.

  • Face and body orientation are centered with neutral expressions.

  • Plain white background or off-white background with no lines or texture.

  • 2 by 2. Your head must be 1-1/3 inches inside the frame.

When submitting a digital photograph, you will need to follow the same criteria as above, but with some nuances about format and size.

JPEG files should have a minimum 600×600 pixels resolution and a minimum 54kilobytes. An online tool by the State Department automatically crop digital passport photos to the right size. Make sure you have enough space around your head to use this feature.

Common reasons passport photos are rejected

It can take some time to learn how to properly take a passport photograph. Sometimes, your submitted photo may be rejected. Apart from the above mentioned criteria, your photo may be denied.

  • It has been edited or has a filter.

  • It is blurry or grainy.

  • It can be either overexposed or underexposed.

  • It has red eye.

  • It can include shadows and other objects.

  • This doesn’t show your true skin tones.

  • It is damaged, wrinkled, or smudged.

  • Your expression was not neutral.

  • Your body and face weren’t aligned.

  • Your face may be too close or too far.

  • You have closed your eyes.

  • A object that blocks your face like glasses or hair.

  • Your attire is uniform-like.

For the photo, glasses must be taken off, even prescription glasses. Passport photos can be taken with jewelry, permanent tattoos and piercings that do not cover your face.

Although hats or head coverings are not permitted, they can be worn if you use them for religious or medical purposes. However, your entire face must be visible. You will need to sign a statement attesting that the hat/head covering was used for religious purposes or provide a doctor’s note.

How to take your passport photo at home

You don’t have to be a professional photographer. Here’s how you can create your passport photo at home.

1. Choose your outfit

You should choose an outfit you would wear out in public on a regular day that doesn’t conceal your face. A bathrobe or sweatshirt with a hood on your head is not appropriate.

Garments that resemble uniforms (including military fatigues) are not allowed. Keep your glasses off and remove any hair that covers any part of the face.

2. Get your shot

Locate a spot with a smooth, off-white or white wall. It is not allowed to digitally crop out your background and replace it with a white one. When scouting locations, it is best to start with a blank canvas.

You should check the lighting conditions in the area where you intend to take your photograph. Shadows are not accepted. Don’t stand in direct sunlight as it can cause your eyes to squint. Instead, find a spot that has soft lighting.

Selfies will not be accepted for passport photos. Use a tripod or hire someone to help you take your photo.

You can set up your camera on a tripod, or ask someone to help you. Make sure the center of your frame is in line with your eyes. Your head should not be in the way of your camera.

Uploading digital photos online requires extra space around your head to allow for the auto-cropping tool.

3. Multiple photos are possible

After you have set up your shot, make sure your shoulders and face are in line with the camera. This will ensure that your photos show your full-face view. Keep your expression natural and neutral. This means that you should keep your eyes open while keeping your mouth closed.

You can take multiple photos to choose the best. Take a few photos and then look through them to determine if you need to change your pose, lighting, or any other details.

4. Your image should be sized

You will now need to size the image. You will need to size your image if you are sending your passport photo by mail or in person. It should be 2×2 inches in size and printed on glossy or matte photo paper.

If you want to avoid having to find the right paper and sizing the photo yourself, you can order your digital passport prints online at a site like Walmart’s photo center or 123passportphoto.com, though this will cost you money.

You can skip this step if you are submitting your digital passport photo online to renew. The State Department’s passport tool will crop the image for you.

5. Send your passport photo

If you are applying by mail, attach your 2-by-2-inch printed photo to the designated area of your passport application. Staples should go along the sides of your photo.

Bring your passport photo with you to an acceptance facility. The associate will attach your passport photo to your paperwork.

Upload the photo to the photo tool when you submit a renewal online. The tool will crop and size your image according to the guidelines.

The photo will be cropped and you can approve or modify it. To ensure that the photo meets all requirements, the Department of State reviews it again.

Take your passport photo.

Although it might seem complicated to take your passport photo at home, it is actually quite simple if you follow the rules.

Follow these steps to complete your passport application for your next international trip.

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