Perfect Passport Photo Size and Detail Tips
Get the Right Passport Photo Size and Detail Tips
You’ll need a set of passport photos to send with your passport application and the US State Department is very particular about the details of that passport photo. Your passport application can be DENIED if the photo isn’t correct so read the details to make sure you have the right passport photo – size and all the details!
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – No GLASSES
Take off your glasses for the perfect passport photo! The reflection from your eyeglasses is apparently enough of a problem with using a passport for identify purposes that eyeglasses have not been allowed in passport photos since November 1, 2016. Since a passport is used for identification purposes and those who need to wear glasses will probably be wearing them in real life, it seems to make more sense to me that they would keep them on in the photos!
Oddly enough, there is an exception. You can keep on your eye glasses in your passport photo if you wear glasses for a medical condition. This sounds odd to me since technically anyone who wears glasses to see better, as opposed to those who wear glasses to…look smarter or cooler or whatever, uses them for a medical condition. Hmm….
To use the medical exception and wear glasses in your passport photo you’ll need to submit a signed statement from your medical professional about the reason you need to wear glasses in a photo and submit with your passport paperwork. Honestly, if it is AT ALL POSSIBLE, take off the glasses in your photo to give them less reason to deny your passport.
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – No Smiling
Yes, that is correct. You may NOT smile in the passport photo so stop thinking of how exciting your trip will be! Wipe that smile off your face right now!
Apparently all of our brilliant facial recognition technology can not yet adjust for the changes in your face shape when you smile. I followed directions which is why my passport was approved and why my passport looks like Elvira after a long night out. (Wish I were joking!)
This goes for kids, too, so be prepared to see your sweet kiddos faces looking like mug shots. This better be the only time I ever seen a mug shot type photo of my kids!! LOL!
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Pose
In short, the correct ‘pose’ for a passport photo is to face the camera. That works for adults no problem, but what about the littles? The child must be the ONLY person in the photo. You can’t hold the baby because part of you will show.
The easiest way to get a passport photo of a baby that can’t sit alone is to lay them down on a white blanket or paper and take the photo from above. Another idea is to throw a white sheet over the car seat for a background. This will hold baby upright for the photo as well.
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Eyes OPEN
Only infants can close their eyes. Everyone else needs to have their eyes open for the perfect passport photo.
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Wear Regular Clothes
The US State Department rules say that you need to take your passport photo with the clothes you normally wear on a daily basis. I’d love to hear the story that made this rule necessary. Did someone show up dressed as Batman for his passport photo?
Think honey looks extra handsome in his uniform? Well, I won’t disagree with you but looking extra handsome in your passport photo is not allowed – and neither are uniforms.
No uniforms. No clothes that look like uniforms. No camoflage.
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Religious Clothing
As you would expect…there is an exception to that rule as well. Uniform exception: Religious clothing is allowed IF you wear it every day AND it must be
‘recognized, traditional religious attire that is customarily or required to be worn continuously in public’
So, for example, the Pope can wear his Pope clothing to get his passport photo. That is probably really good because does the Pope even own ‘non Pope’ clothing?
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – No HATS!
I love hats so much and never travel without one. BUT since a hat covers up the shape of your head, they are not allowed in passport photos. The facial recognition technology needs to see the true shape of your head and face to work. I suppose we should all be glad artificial intelligence hasn’t gotten to the point where it can make this adjustment anyway, right? (Remember HAL9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey)
The photo needs to show the shape of your entire head so that means NO: headphones, ear buds, scarves, or anything else that might attach to your head. (If you wear a hearing device that shows from the front in a photo, include documentation from your medical professional.)
Dolly Parton famously wears a BIG wig. Honestly, that hair is so big who knows what is underneath it, right? She could be a cone head with that wig and no one would ever know. Wonder what her passport looks like?
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Color Photos
When you are taking passport photos remember – this is not the time to get creative. No sepia, no photo shop, no black and white, no clever frames or borders. No canvas or pic monkey fun. Plain, plain plain photos are what you need for the perfect passport photo! Nothing from the fun photo booth at your sister’s wedding either!
****Removing red eye IS allowed but NO other photoshopping or alteration of the photo.*****
When it comes to passport photos, the US State Department has ZERO interest in your artistic creations and ZERO humor when it comes to your fancy instagram shots.
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Only Boring White or Off White Background
So, pretend, colorful or really amazing backgrounds from around the world are not allowed. Save those for when you are using your passport! The passport itself can have a photo with only a plain boring white or off white background. Save the fun for when you get to a new destination!
How to Get the Perfect Passport Photo – Size and Details – Current Photo
Unlike photos for dating websites where photos can be either 10 years old, 20 pounds ago, or of your favorite movie star who look nothing like you…..passport photos need to be of you (duh!) and no more than 6 months old.
Like your hair dresser and your mom – the US State Department needs to know what you really look like!
Read related posts for more information to make your trip smooth and wonderful!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist