Rules for Passport Photos in Canada

Rules for Passport Photos in Canada
Photographs for Canadian passports have some very unusual requirements. The size of the passport, positioning of the head and certification requirements are different than for any other country in the world. Canadian passport authorities are very particular and will reject any photographs that are not precisely to specification.

Photograph Size

Photographs for Canadian passports must be 50 mm wide by 70 mm tall, or about two inches wide by two and three quarters inches tall.

Head Size

The face of the subject must be centered and be between 31 and 36 mm high.


The photograph must be taken against a neutral or white background. White is preferable.


Smiling is not allowed, and the subjects lips must be closed. There can be no shadows whatsoever in the photograph, especially on the background. Glasses, if worn, must be completely reflection-free. Head coverings, other than those worn for religious reasons, are not allowed; the entire face must be visible.

Photographer's Stamp

The name and address of the photographer or studio must be stamped on the back of the photograph. The photographer must write the date the photo was taken below this stamp.


One photograph must be signed by a person who can guarantee that the photograph is a true likeness of the person making the passport application.

Article Written By Ma Wen Jie

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.

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