US Visa Photo Requirements

By Aleksandra

March 15, 2023

Photo Requirements for a US Visa

Do you want to obtain a US visa? In this case, as an applicant, you need to focus on the requirements, including preparing documents such as the face photo that must be attached to the visa application.

Accepting a digital picture is crucial for the whole visa or passport process. It is advisable to use a professional photo service, so you don’t need to worry if you meet all the conditions. In this article, you can learn more about the good photo for a US visa.

Size of USA Passport Photo

The passport picture must show an applicant’s head from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin. The head must be full and centered with the frame, while the face should be neutral (or with a natural smile), looking at the camera.

Besides, the paper visa photo needs to have the following sizes:

  • It must be 2 inches long and 2 inches wide.
  • The height of the head (from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should be 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (25 mm – 35 mm).
  • Eye height needs to be between 1 1/8 inches to 1 3/8 inches (28 mm – 35 mm) from the base of the photo.

In the case of digital visa photos, the template should be as follows:

  • The head of the applicant from the top (with hair) and chin to the bottom of the face need to be between 50% and 69% of the total photo height.
  • The eye height should be between 56% and 69% of the image’s height (measured from the bottom of the photo to the level of the eyes).
  • The height must be the same as the width.
  • The minimum dimensions, which are acceptable, are 600 pixels (width) x 600 pixels (height).
  • The maximum dimensions are 1200 pixels (width) x 1200 pixels (height).

Rules of the USA Visa Photo

Below we present the list of the visa photo requirements, as the picture must be:

  • Colorful.
  • Recent (taken within 6 months to show the applicant’s current appearance).
  • Good sized – head must be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or take 50% to 69% of the picture.
  • Taken without glasses with the face facing the camera (in rare cases, when eyeglasses can’t be removed for medical reasons, it is possible to have them on the photo).
  • Taken on a white background with a neutral expression on the face (or natural smile) and opened eyes.
  • Taken in the usual clothing (no uniforms, hats, headphones, etc. are acceptable, except for religious clothes).
  • With the full, visible head on a plain white background.

Besides, the hearing aid or similar devices can be in the photo if they are worn on a regular basis. It is possible to wear jewelry and keep the facial piercings, but only if they don’t hide your face. Permanent tattoos are acceptable as well.

It is advisable to check the examples of accepted and rejected visa photos. Remember that a picture from another official document, such as a driver’s license, won’t be approved.

Moreover, magazine photos, snapshots, mobile phones, and full-length or low-quality vending machine photos are unacceptable.

Can I Smile in my USA Passport Photo?

Yes, an applicant can smile, but it must be natural and unexaggerated. Remember that both eyes must be open.

US Visa Photo Requirements

Baby’s Passport Photo Requirements

Visa photo requirements for a baby or a toddler are as follows:

  • No one else should be present in the photo of the baby.
  • The baby should be laid on their back on a plain white background.
  • No shadows should be on the baby’s face, as it must be visible.
  • Children’s eyes must be open and look at the camera (except for infants).

Additional Nonimmigrant Visa Requirements

If you use Form DS-260, you need to provide two identical photos printed on quality paper that should have 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size.

In case of taking part in the online Diversity Visa (DV) Program, an applicant must meet the following photo requirements and upload a visa picture that is:

  • In JPEG (.jpg) format.
  • Less or equal to 240 kB in size.
  • In a square aspect ratio (width equals height).
  • 600×600 pixels in dimension.
  • Taken on a white background.

Also, it is possible to scan the existing photo that must be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) and scanned at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per millimeter).

Furthermore, each applicant must take two identical photos printed on quality paper (2 x 2 inches or 51 x 51 mm in size) for the interview.

It is recommended to use professional photo services, but you may take the visa photo by yourself. You can’t digitally enhance the photo or alter your appearance.

A Pose in the Photo

You must face the camera, your head should be centered in the frame, and your expression needs to be neutral (or you can have a neutral smile). Also, you should wear your regular clothes.

Change of the appearance

The current appearance of an applicant must be visible in the photo. In case it changes, an applicant should provide a new photo (even though the previous one is not older than 6 months) if they have:

  • Undergone trauma or significant facial surgery.
  • Added or removed facial tattoos/piercings.
  • Made a gender transition.
  • Undergone a great weight loss.

It is worth noting that you don’t have to submit a new photo in case you still can be identified. Coloring hair or growing a beard is not treated as a significant change.

Also, when the different appearance is caused by the normal aging process, you don’t need to provide a new photo. Remember that the photo requirements and acceptance are up to the US government.

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Aleksandra is an experienced visa expert passionate about writing and creating professional content. She loves reading fantasy books, traveling, and board games. 📚🐱✨