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Instructions for passport photos

Table of Contents

A digital passport photo of you, your spouse, and each child must be submitted online with your application. The passport photo can be produced either by taking a new digital photograph or by scanning a photographic print with a digital scanner. The passport photo must adhere to the compositional and technical specifications listed below. Entrants may test their passport photos for suitability through the photo validation link on before submitting their entries. The passport photo validation provides additional technical advice on photo composition, along with examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos.

Compositional Specifications for passport photos: The submitted digital image must conform to the following compositional specifications or the entry will be disqualified. 

Head Position

  • The person being photographed must directly face the camera.
  • The head of the person should not be tilted up, down, or to the side.
  • The head height or facial region size (measured from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin) must be between 50 percent and 69 percent of the passport photo’s total height.
  • The eye height (measured from the bottom of the passport photo to the level of the eyes) should be between 56 percent and 69 percent of the image’s height.

Passport photo Head Size Template

instructions for passport photos

Passport photo background:

  • The person being photographed should be in front of a neutral, light-colored background.
  • Dark or patterned backgrounds are not acceptable.


  • The photograph must be in focus.

Decorative items:

  • Passport photos in which the person being photographed is wearing sunglasses or other items that detract from the face will not be accepted.

Head coverings and hats:

  • Passport photos of applicants wearing head coverings or hats are only acceptable if the head covering is worn for religious beliefs; even then, the head covering may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant. Passport photos of applicants with tribal or other head gear not specifically religious in nature will not be accepted;passport photos of military, airline, or other personnel wearing hats will not be accepted.

Color passport photos in 24-bit color depth are required.

Color photographs may be downloaded from a camera to a file in the computer or they may be scanned onto a computer. If you are using a scanner, the settings must be for True Color or 24-bit color mode. See the additional scanning requirements below.

Technical specifications for passport photos:

The submitted digital passport photo must conform to the following specifications or the system will automatically reject the application form and notify the sender.

Taking a New Digital Image.

If a new digital image is taken, it must meet the following specifications:
  • Image File Format: The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format.
  • Image File Size: The maximum image file size is 240 kilobytes (240 KB).
  • Image Resolution and Dimensions: Minimum acceptable dimensions are 600 pixels (width) x 600 pixels (height). Image pixel dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (meaning the height must be equal to the width).
  • Image Color Depth: Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel). 24-bit black and white or 8-bit images will not be accepted.

Scanning a Submitted Passport Photo.

Before a passport photo is scanned, it must meet the compositional specifications listed above. If the passport photo meets the print color and compositional specifications, scan the print using the following scanner specifications:

  • Scanner Resolution: Scanned at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Image File Format: The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format.
  • Image File Size: The maximum image file size is 240 kilobytes (240 KB).
  • Image Resolution: 600 by 600 pixels.
  • Image Color Depth: 24-bit color. Note that black and white, monochrome, or grayscale images will not be accepted.

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