Passport Photos

This page provides information about passport photos if you are applying in person or renewing by mail. 

Photo Tips

  1. Submit one 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 white or off-white background without shadows, texture, or lines.

Tips for taking a U.S. passport photo
This image includes tips for taking a good U.S. passport photo when submitting an application by mail or in person.

Photo Examples


Tips for Submitting your Photo

Resolution, Print Size, and Quality

  • Submit a high resolution photo that is not blurry, grainy, or pixelated.
  • The correct size of a passport photo is:
    • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) 
    • Head must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 - 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper.
  • Do not digitally change the photo.
  • You cannot submit a damaged photo with holes, creases, or smudges.

Pose and Expression

  • Have a neutral facial expression with both eyes open and mouth closed. 
  • Face the camera directly with full face in view. 
  • Note to parents of young children: we have sample photos in the Photo Examples section below with tips for submitting a baby's passport photo. We realize that an infant's pose and expression are challenging to maintain for a photo. 


  • You cannot wear glasses.
    • If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, please include a signed note from your doctor with application.
  • Taken in clothing normally worn on a daily basis.  
  • You cannot wear a uniform, clothing that looks like a uniform, or camouflage attire. 
  • You cannot wear a hat or head covering.
    • If you wear a hat or head covering for religious purposes, submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering in your photo is part of traditional religious attire  worn continuously in public.
    • If you wear a hat or head covering for medical purposes, submit a signed doctor's statement verifying the hat or head covering in your photo is used daily for medical purposes.
    • Your full face must be visible and your hat or head covering cannot cast shadows or cover up part of your face.
  • You cannot wear headphones or wireless hands-free devices.
  • You can wear jewelry and keep on your facial piercings as long as they do not hide your face. Permanent tattoos are acceptable for passport purposes as well. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I respond to a letter that asks me to submit a new passport photo?

Bad photos are the number one reason why we put passport applications on hold. Follow these easy guidelines to quickly respond to the letter asking for a new photo:

  • Make sure to include a copy of the letter you received from us, so that we can match your new photo to your pending application
  • Respond by the deadline on the letter
  • Double check that the new photo meets all the requirements listed on this webpage
  • Don’t write anything on the front or back of the photo

For additional information on how to reply to a letter, go on our Respond to a Letter or Email page


Can I wear glasses, sunglasses, or tinted glasses in my passport photo?

No, take them off for your passport photo.

If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you must submit a signed statement from your doctor with your passport application.

Watch this video to see an example!


Where can I get my photo taken?

You can have a friend or family member take your passport photo, or you can get your photo taken by an acceptance facility or photo vendor. 

Many acceptance facilities such as posts offices, libraries, and local government offices will take your photo. Check our Acceptance Facility Search page to see if your local facility offers photo services. 

Acceptance facilities and photo vendors charge different fees for taking your passport photo. Keep in mind you only need to provide us one photo when applying.


What pose should I be in for my photo?

Face the camera with your head centered in the frame and not tilted with a neutral expression.


Can I wear a hat or head covering in my photo?

You may wear a hat or head covering, but you must submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering is part of recognized, traditional religious attire that is customarily or required to be worn continuously in public or a signed doctor's statement verifying the item is used daily for medical purposes.

Your full face must be visible and your hat or head covering cannot cast shadows or cover up part of your face.


Can I wear a uniform or camouflage in my photo?

No. Both adults and children cannot wear uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, or camouflage attire in their photos. 


Can I remove red-eye from my photo?

No, you can not digitally alter a photo to remove red eye. You will have to submit a new photo without red eye. 


Can I smile in my passport photo?

Yes, but make sure both your eyes are open and your mouth is closed in your photo. 


What's the best way to take a photo of a baby or toddler?

When taking a photo of your baby or toddler, no other person should be in the photo.

Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby's face, especially if you take a picture from above. Covering a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and taking a picture of your child in the car seat may also be helpful.


Is it acceptable for my child's eye to be closed in his or her photo?

It is acceptable if an infant's eyes are not open or entirely open. All other children must have their eyes open.


Do I need a new passport if my appearance has changed (grown a beard, dyed my hair)?

Only if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your current passport. Growing a beard or coloring your hair would not constitute a significant change. If you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport, you do not need to apply for a new passport.  

You may have to apply for a new passport if you have:

  • Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
  • Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
  • Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
  • Completed a gender transition

If the appearance of your child under the age of 16 has changed due to the normal aging process, you do not need to apply for a new passport for your child.


I'm not sure if my photo meets your requirements. What should I do?

You can use our photo tool to see if your photo meets our requirements. Upload your photo and see examples of good and bad photos. 

Last Updated: June 26, 2023

Picture Perfect Passport

Get some quick tips for a great passport photo in this video.

Face Coverings and Masks

We realize customers may wear face coverings and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When someone takes your passport photo, you must remove your face covering or mask so your full face is visible and the face covering and mask do not block portions of your face. We need to see your full face to establish your identity.

Please do not take a selfie because they are often the incorrect size and have the wrong head position for passport photos.

Image Sizing Photo Tips

Photos that are taken too close or too far away will be rejected.

Low Quality Image or Paper Tips

Photo is blurry, grainy, pixelated, or printed on the wrong paper. Photos should be high resolution.

Photo Exposure Tips

Photos that are too bright or that show shadows on your face will also cause you problems. Your photo needs to be a clear image of your face. 

Previous Passport Book Photos

Your passport photo needs to have been taken within the last 6 months. We verify that the photo looks like you.