Schengen visa photo requirements

By Julia

March 15, 2023

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements

Citizens of some countries willing to travel to Europe are required to obtain a Schengen visa. However, applying for a Schengen visa involves submitting a photograph that meets specific requirements.

The visa photo requirements and specifications are the same for every member of the Schengen Area. The visa photo must be recent, of a neutral facial expression, with eyes open and visible, and taken against a white background.

When submitting a Schengen visa photo, make sure you double-check the image against all these requirements so you can ensure your application is accepted. Want to know more details on the Schengen visa photo requirements? Keep on reading the article, as following these simple guidelines should help guarantee a quick approval of your Schengen visa application.

Are the Schengen Visa photo requirements the same for each country?

Schengen visa photo specifications and requirements are applicable for all members of the Schengen Area countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

One needs to get a biometric photo – a standard photograph satisfying the conditions of identifying face details clearly.

The European Union has adopted common standards regarding Schengen visa photo requirements, which are the same as the mandatory passport photo requirements that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency operating under the United Nations, has specified.

Schengen visa photo size requirements

The size of Schengen visa photos should be 35 mm in width and 45 mm in height. The head must occupy 70 to 80% of the photo.

The minimum allowable face height is 32, and the maximum allowable face height is 36 mm. Having your face trimmed below 27 cm in passport photos is a sign of a possible rejection for your Schengen visa.

The face has to have the center of a photograph, and the total head must also appear, from the tip of the chin to the top of the head, including both the left and right sides of the face.

Photograph quality

The biometric photo must be of high quality, color, in sharp focus, and don’t have any ink marks or creases. Ensure it has appropriate brightness and contrast and is printed on high-quality paper, and at a high resolution of at least 600 dpi.

A picture too blurring, too bright, or with poor contrast can be rejected. The photo must show your skin tones naturally.

Photograph style

You should be alone in the picture – no chairs, toys, or other people visible. The photo should be taken with uniform lighting and don’t contain shadows or flash reflections on your face.

The Schengen visa photo background must be light-colored and contain only one color. There should not be any patterns or shadows in the background, as a photo with mixed colors won’t be approved.

It also should be uniformly bright and spread all over the face: no side will be brighter than the others. You should avoid any possible shadows, reflections, and red eyes.

Facial expression and head position

You must have a neutral face expression: your mouth must be closed, there should be no raised eyebrows or grinning. No hair across your eyes can be shown in the picture. You cannot edit photos so that you have digital makeup.

A neutral look with eyes focused directly on the camera with a mouth closed is the only visa photo option accepted. The photo cannot be portrait-style, with the head tilted, be too close or too far away.

Glasses and head covers

If you are wearing glasses, you need to make sure that the frames don’t cover any part of your eyes, and try to avoid frames that are too heavy – go for lighter-framed glasses. Tinted lenses are also forbidden. Make sure your eyes are clear without any flash reflections off the glasses.

If it is possible, try to remove the glasses for the picture at all. No part of your face can be covered by big accessories.

You are not permitted to wear any head coverings except for religious reasons. Even if you wear it for religious reasons, you need to make your face clear from the bottom of your chin to the top of your forehead and both edges of your face.

Schengen visa photo requirements for babies

If you plan a family trip to Europe, you should know that all babies must have an individual passport and Schengen visa. The governments of Schengen countries slightly relaxed photo requirements for children. You can get an experienced photographer to photograph your baby, or take a photo yourself.

Under 6 months old

The Schengen visa photo requirements are the most relaxed for babies under 6 months. They can be photographed while lying down or sitting on a baby chair, but there cannot be any visible support like hands.

As it is not easy to get a baby to look at the camera, it is not mandatory for babies to look directly: their eyes can even be closed. Baby’s mouth opened in the picture also mustn’t be an obstacle to approval.

Under five years old

Children’s photos for those under 5 years old also have some relaxations. It is not required for them to have a neutral expression or a straight head. Still, even though children don’t necessarily have to look at the camera, the color of their eyes must be clearly visible.

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Julia's expertise lies in providing professional content, simplifying the visa application process for travelers worldwide. Her dedication to delivering valuable and accurate information, combined with her love for exploring new cultures, inspires others to discover new horizons and embark on their own adventures.