R 090233Z NOV 01
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS
SPECIAL EMBASSY PROGRAM
UNCLAS STATE 195459
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS, CMGT
SUBJECT: Revised Procedural Notes Concerning NIV Photo Requirements
Ref: State 190930
1. Further to reftel, following revised 9 FAM 41.113 procedural notes concerning photograph requirements for MRV processing. Principal changes include specific reference to head coverings being allowed only for religious purposes and an attempt to define the term "face."
2. Begin revised text of FAM notes:
PN1.2 PHOTOGRAPH REQUIREMENTS FOR MRV
a. The photograph of each visa applicant must be an unmounted full face photo, taken within the past six months. A "full face" photo is one in which the applicant is facing the camera directly. The applicant should not be looking down or to either side, and the face should cover about 50 percent of the area of the photo. Although variations in hair styles and in head coverings (see discussion below) make it difficult to rigorously define the term "face," in general, the head of the applicant, including both face and hair, should be shown from crown of the head to tip of chin on top and bottom and from hair line side-to-side. It is preferable that ears be exposed. The key requirement is that the photograph clearly identify the applicant.
b. The photograph should measure from 1-1/2 to 2 inches square (either in color or black and white against a light background), and should be stapled to Form DS-156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application). The staples should be placed as far away as possible from the applicant's face. Photos taken in front of busy, patterned, or dark backgrounds should not be accepted.
c. Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant. Sunglasses or other paraphernalia which detracts from the face as defined above are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons (an eye patch, for example). A photograph depicting a person wearing a traditional facemask or veil that does not permit adequate identification is not acceptable. Photos of military, airline or other personnel wearing hats are not acceptable. Photographs of applicants wearing tribal, national costume or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable. Consular officers are encouraged to use their discretion and knowledge of local conditions in evaluating the appropriateness of headgear in visa photos. Photos of applicants for A and G visas wearing head coverings as part of national costume may be accepted at the discretion of the consular officer provided the face as defined above is clearly identifiable.
d. Since a separate visa is issued to each qualified applicant, an individual photo is required in all cases. Group photos are not acceptable.
End revised text.
3. These changes will be incorporated in the next release of Inserts.