When applying for or renewing your passport, you will be required to include a recent photograph of yourself that meets very specific requirements. These requirements are meant to standardize how U.S. passport photos appear in order to make it easier for border agents to identify you when traveling.
While you are free to take the photo yourself, there are also local companies in most cities and towns that provide this service. Be sure that your passport photo meets the following requirements:
- It is in color, clear with high resolution, and with a full front view of your face.
- It only includes yourself with no other people.
- It is sufficiently recent to be a good likeness of you (taken within the last six months).
- It is 2x2 inches in size. The image size measured from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head (including hair) should not be less than 1 inch, and not more than 1 3/8 inches.
- It must be taken with a neutral facial expression and with both eyes open.
- There may be no shadows on the face or background. Avoid using any filters that alter the color or lighting of the photo.
- Have another person take the photo for you. Do not use a selfie.
- The photo must be undamaged, with no smudges, creases, tears, discoloration, or holes.
- It must be printed on photo quality paper with a plain light (white or off-white) background.
- It must be taken in normal street attire, without a hat or head covering unless a signed statement is submitted by the applicant verifying that the hat or head covering is part of recognized, traditional religious attire that is customary or required to be worn continuously when in public, or a signed doctor's statement is submitted verifying that the item is used daily for medical purposes.
- Headphones, "Bluetooth," or similar devices must not be worn. Glasses or other eyewear are not acceptable unless you provide a signed statement from a doctor explaining why you cannot remove them due to medical reasons (e.g. during the recovery period from eye surgery).
- Any photograph retouched so that your appearance is changed is unacceptable.
- A snapshot, most vending machine prints, hand-held self portraits, and magazine or full-length photographs are unacceptable. A digital photo must meet the previously stated qualifications and will be accepted for use at the discretion of Passport Services.
- Jewelry, face piercings, and tattoos are acceptable so long as they do not hide your face.
- Child Photos: The requirements are the same for children with the limited exception that their pose and expression are allowed to not be neutral due to the difficulty involved with photographing children. For instance, it is acceptable for a baby not to make eye contact with the camera or to have his or her mouth slightly open. That said, avoid any silly faces and anything else that violates the photo requirements other than the child’s pose or expression being slightly out of compliance.