Rejected Passport Photos

By Katarzyna

March 15, 2023

Rejected Passport Photos

Are you a US traveler who plans a trip abroad but needs to apply for a new passport? To successfully submit your application, you will need to fill out the application form, provide supporting documents, and cover the processing fee. Next, it may take up to 11 weeks for your new passport to arrive.

You wait several weeks only to receive the information that your passport application cannot be processed since your passport photo does not comply with photo requirements. Would you like to avoid such a scenario? Below, you will find all the necessary information that may help you to avoid common mistakes when taking a passport photo. Save your time and energy and get your new passport on time before your planned trip.


Most common reasons for passport application rejection

Hair, accessories, clothes

Although there is no specification regarding clothes that should be worn, one cannot wear uniforms or camouflage patterns.

When it comes to accessories, the passport applicant’s face cannot be covered, including the face piercings, which should be discreet. No glasses are accepted in a passport photo.

Wearing a headcover is only allowed for cultural, medical, or religious purposes. Moreover, it is necessary to submit a signed statement about why a person is wearing it.


Proper position is another crucial factor for the passport photo to be accepted or not. A person must be in a straight sitting or standing position, looking directly at the camera.

One cannot bow their head, and the face should be in the center of the photo, taking from 50-69% of the entire image’s height. A natural smile is acceptable, but you must remember that your face should have a neutral expression.


Size and dimension

The US passport photo requirements assume that the size should be 2” x 2” while the face should take about 1” to 1 ⅜” of space from the top head to the tip of the chin. The remaining space should be left for the upper and side edges of the picture.


Light and background

Make sure that your photo has the proper lighting and background. Your face can be neither over-lit nor under-lit. No disrupting shadows should appear in the picture. Ensure the natural light for your photo without any unnecessary filters that could interfere with the colors of the photo.

Regarding the photo’s background, it should be plain white without featuring any patterns, objects, or other people.


What happens if a passport photo is rejected?

In case of having the passport application is rejected due to the wrong passport photo, a new photo must be resubmitted within 90 days.

Make sure to provide the new photo within the 90-day period to avoid bearing additional application costs. Otherwise, you will need to reapply for a new passport, which entails repaying the processing fees.

Consider taking your passport photo at a professional photo services or passport agency. Although the costs may be higher, you will have peace of mind that your photo will be accepted and no corrections will be necessary.


Can I wear the scout uniform in my passport photo?

No. You cannot wear either the scout uniform or any other clothing looking like a uniform or camouflage attire in your passport photo.

Should I take off my eyepatch?

It is not necessary to take your eyepatch off if you have some scars or other medical reasons why you prefer to wear it. Please, however, note that you should provide a letter from your doctor confirming your medical condition.

Do I have to shave off my beard?

The passport photo should reflect your natural appearance. That is why if you normally wear a beard, there is no need to shave it just to take a photo. Should you grow a beard after obtaining a passport, you need to consider renewing it and updating the photo.

What should I do if my passport photo is rejected?

Applicants whose passport photos cannot be accepted receive a letter stating that the photo does not meet the requirements. The US. Department of State allows the applicant to resubmit a new passport photo for up to 90 days. Failure to meet the deadline will result in the need to submit a new application and cover the processing fee one more time.

What are the requirements for passport photos?

Both adults and children must meet the same passport photo rules, including:

  • size: 2 x 2 inches
  • good lighting: no casting shadows
  • quality: clear image, no blurred photos or smudges can be accepted
  • background: it must be white or off-white
  • face: visible, eyes open, lips closed without teeth (infants can have closed eyes)

Additionally, applicants need to meet some requirements regarding clothing and accessories. No sunglasses or casual head covering, including hats or headphones, are allowed. Wearing a beard or permanent tattoos in passport pictures is permitted as long as they reflect the applicant’s current appearance.

Avatar for Katarzyna


Katarzyna is a dedicated professional working in the dynamic field of eVisa services. Born with an adventurous spirit, she developed a deep curiosity about different cultures and a desire to explore the world from a young age. With a passion for international travel and a keen interest in streamlining visa processes, she stays up-to-date with visa regulations, guiding travelers through the complex procedures. 🐱‍🏍🛫🗺

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