Passport Photo Requirements 

While passport photos are not flattering, they are essential when applying for a passport. They may seem like fairly simple pictures, but there are a large number of rules to follow to have a successful passport application. A large number of photos are rejected due to common, avoidable errors - don’t make one of these!

While every government has it’s own rules for passport photos, all governments have the following common requirements:

The photo must be:
  • Colour (with the exception of Canada)
  • High quality with no ink marks or creases
  • Correct contrast showing the subjects skin tones naturally
  • Centred
  • In sharp focus
  • No shadows on the face or on the background
  • Taken within the last 6 months (with the exception of the UK)
  • Printed on plain, thin, high quality photographic paper
  • Free from red-eye
  • Must be originals and not taken from an existing photo
  • Must not be digitally altered

The subject:
  • Must not wear a hat unless for medical or religious reasons, and must have anything cover the edges of the face
  • Must not have anything covering their face
  • Must not wear sunglasses
  • Must have a neutral expression with their mouth closed
  • Must face the camera directly
  • Must have both eyes open and clearly visible
  • Must not have hair across their face or eyes
  • Must look directly at the camera
  • Must show facial features from the bottom of the chin to the top of their forehead and both edges of the face
  • Can wear glasses, so long as the glasses do not reflect or obscure the eyes and the glasses are not heavy framed

In addition to these requirements, governments have some unique requirements for photos taken of their citizens, such as photo size and background colour. Read below to check the photo requirements for your government.

This is not a passport photo! Australian's find the Snow so novel!

Passport Photo

Australia passport photo requirements

  • Photos must be 45-50 mm high and 35-40 mm wide
  • Photos must show the applicant’s head and the top of the shoulders so that the vertical size of the head (as measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head) is between 32 and 36 mm
  • It is recommended that the camera should have at least 12 mega pixels resolution (preferably higher)
  • The photograph must show the subject with the head facing up so that an imaginary line drawn between the centres of the eyes is parallel to the top of the picture
  • If a subject wears a head covering for religious purposes, a photograph of the applicant wearing it will be so long as all facial features (including both edges of the applicant's face) are clearly shown
  • Glasses with tinted lenses are not allowed
  • Piercings such as nose rings and studs are allowed provided they are worn permanently by the subject and they do not cause a reflection
  • Ears do not have to be visible in the photo
  • Most hair types are acceptable if the hair does not cover the face and the face and eyes are visible
  • Earrings are allowed provided they do not obstruct the edges of the face
  • Hair accessories are allowed so long as they do not obstruct the view of any facial features

Canada Passport Photo Requirements

  • Two identical photos from the same film, or the same electronic file are required for each passport
  • The length of the face on the photo from chin to top of head must be between 31 mm (1 1/4 in.) and 36 mm (1 7/16 in.)
  • The photos must be 50 mm x 70 mm in size
  • The photos must be a close-up shot of the head and shoulders so that the face covers approximately 25% of the photo
  • Either colour photos or black and white photos are acceptable
  • Photos need to be taken against a plain white or light-coloured background so that the subject's features are clearly visible against the background
  • Glasses, including tinted glasses, are acceptable as long as the eyes are clearly visible and there is no reflection. Red eyes and sunglasses are not acceptable
  • Photos must be originals
  • On the back of one photo the name of the photographer or studio, the address and the date the photo was taken (not the date the photo was printed) must be provided. The photographer can hand write this information. Labels are not acceptable. Enough space must be allowed for the name of the subject, the signature of the guarantor and the guarantor’s declaration
  • One photo must be signed by a guarantor as a true likeness of the applicant, unless the application is being made through the Simplified Renewal Application Process. If that is the case, no guarantor is needed

New Zealand Passport Photo Requirements

  • Tinted prescription glasses may be worn providing the eyes are visible
  • Digital manipulation of photos is unacceptable
  • A plain, light coloured background is required for passport photos (not white)
  • The background is normally light gray. Blue is required if you have fair hair
  • The size of the photo has to be 45mm height x 35mm width
  • The head must take up a maximum 80% of the photo (36mm) and minimum 70% of the photo (32mm)

United Kingdom Passport Photo Requirements

Passport photos must be:

  • Taken against a background of plain light grey or plain cream
  • 45 millimetres (mm) high x 35 millimetres (mm) wide
  • Fit the template, with your eyes positioned in the area marked by the shaded area
  • Taken with your eyes open and clearly visible (with no sunglasses or tinted glasses, and no hair across your eyes)
  • Free from glare or reflection on your glasses. The frames must not cover your eyes (where -possible, we recommend that you remove your glasses)

United States of America requirements:

  • Photos must be 2x2 inches (51 mm x 51 mm) in size
  • Photos must be printed on a off-white or plain white background
  • There must be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the crown of the head
  • Photos must be taken in normal street clothing. Uniforms should not be worn in photographs with the exception of religious attire that is worn daily
  • If you normally wear a wig, a hearing device, prescription glasses, or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture
  • Non-prescription, dark glasses or glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons. A medical certificate may need to be presented

› Passport Photos

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