Uploading a Digital Photo

When you renew your passport online, you will need to upload a digital photo.

  • Before you start your application, get your passport photo taken. 
  • You can go to a professional photo vendor, or have a friend or family member take your photo. 
  • Carefully follow the Special Requirements for a Digital Photo and Photo Examples on this page. 
  • Do not scan a printed photo or take a photo of a printed photo. 

 

How Does the Photo Tool Work

When you upload your photo, the tool will:

  1. Crop and size your photo. Make sure the image you upload has large dimensions and there is ample space around your head to allow room for automatic cropping by our photo tool.
  2. Do an initial quality check 
  3. Accept your photo OR reject your photo and provide a reason

After the photo tool accepts your photo, a Department of State employee will do a final review of your photo to confirm it meets our passport requirements.

If the photo tool rejects your photo, the tool will provide a message explaining the reason. You can find information about what these "error codes" mean on this webpage.

Special Requirements for a Digital Photo

Photo Element Requirement
Dimensions Your photo must be at least 600 x 600 pixels. If you have a friend or family member take your photo, make sure the image has large dimensions and there is ample space around your head to allow room for automatic cropping by our photo tool. 
Color Your photo must be in color (24 bits per pixel) in sRGB color space which is the common output for most digital cameras. 
Format Your photo must be in JPEG file format.
Size Your photo must be at least 54 kilobytes and no more than 10 megabytes.
Compression Your photo's compression ratio should be less than or equal to 20:1. Use the highest quality settings on your camera so your photo maintains clarity and resolution. When saving and emailing your photo, select the highest quality setting (large file size). Do not edit or digitally manipulate your photo. To avoid compressing your image, do not send the image via text message or save it to a cloud-based application.

Photo Basics

  1. Submit a color photo, taken in last 6 months
  2. Use a clear image of your face. Do not use filters commonly used on social media.
  3. Have someone else take your photo. No selfies.
  4. Take off your eyeglasses for your photo.
  5. Use a plain white or off-white background.

Photo Examples

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Understanding Common Photo Tool Error Messages

Background may not meet our requirements

There are several reasons why you may be receiving this error message. Please make sure you upload a new photo that includes:

  • A plain, uniform background
  • White or off-white background without shadows
  • Space above and below your head

 

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Image overly compressed

We need you to upload a new photo that has a higher resolution, is not grainy or pixelated, and is not compressed. Compression means the file size is too small with respect to the pixel dimensions. A photo may become compressed if it is edited after it is taken. Improve the resolution of your photo by changing the settings on your camera.

When saving and emailing your photo, select the highest quality setting (large file size). Do not edit or digitally manipulate your photo. To avoid compressing your image, do not send the image via text message or save it to a cloud-based application.

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Expression may be unnatural

Our photo tool detected that your expression may be unnatural. We recommend you upload a new photo with a natural smile. Make sure your eyes are open and your mouth is closed. 

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Head size or position may be incorrect

We need you to upload a new photo because the size and positioning of your head is not acceptable for a passport. If the person taking your photo is standing too close or too far away, your head may take up too much or too little of the photo. 

Please make sure there is ample space around your head and body when you upload your photo. Our photo tool will crop your photo into the correct dimensions. 

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Overall image quality may be poor

This message means your photo may be blurry or out of focus. Your photo may have a low resolution and file size, or it may be grainy and pixelated, and lack clarity. Please upload a new photo with a larger file size and resolution. 

Watch this video to see an example:

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Lighting or exposure may be incorrect

There are several reasons why you may be receiving this error message. Please make sure you upload a new photo that is not overexposed or underexposed.

Underexposure happens when a photo appears to be darker than neutral exposure. Overexposure happens when a photo is too bright or appears washed out. 

Watch this video to see an example:

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Internal Server Error

We are experiencing a temporary, technical issue with our online renewal application. Please log out of your application, clear the cache and cookies in your web browser, and try again later.