How to Take Passport Photos

How to Take Passport Photos
A valid U.S. passport is required whenever you go to a foreign country and re-enter the United States. Laws have also now been enacted that even require U.S. citizens to show their passports upon entry from Canada and Mexico. When applying for a U.S. passport, you must submit two color photos. These steps must be followed exactly so that your application is accepted and your passport is issued.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • White or off-white background Normal street clothing Official medical note, if applicable
  • White or off-white background
  • Normal street clothing
  • Official medical note, if applicable
Step 1
Go to an appropriate store to have an official passport photo taken, including pharmaceutical chains, photography supply and print stores, supermarkets and many others. Just look for the photo counter. Because of the passport-photo specifications required by the U.S. Department of State, it is not recommended to have your photo taken at a photo booth or by a family member or friend at home.
Step 2
Provide two identical color photographs. The photos must measure 2 by 2 inches. The space between the bottom of your chin and top of your head in the photograph can be no smaller than 1 inch and no larger than 1 3/8 inches.
Step 3
Get your photo taken within six months prior to applying for your passport. Your appearance must be current, including facial hair and surgical alterations.
Step 4
Face directly forward when having photo taken. The background you're standing in front of must be white or off-white. If you submit a photo with your head slightly turned, a profile shot, or a background that is any color other than white, your application will be rejected.
Step 5
Wear only normal street clothing for your photo. Do not wear a uniform or costume of any kind. If you wear glasses, a hearing aid, wig or other religious attire on a daily basis, you must wear these items in your photograph. You may not wear a hat or any item that blocks your hairline. Dark and tinted glasses are forbidden unless you need them for medical reasons and can provide an approved medical certificate.

Tips & Warnings

 
An approved passport-photo facility will know the specifications required for an official passport photo. For examples of acceptable and unacceptable passport photos, you can go to the U.S. Department of State website. Because laws and rules can be amended without notice, it is advised to check with the website of the U.S. Department of State before preparing your passport application.
 
An approved passport-photo facility will know the specifications required for an official passport photo.
 
For examples of acceptable and unacceptable passport photos, you can go to the U.S. Department of State website.
 
Because laws and rules can be amended without notice, it is advised to check with the website of the U.S. Department of State before preparing your passport application.
 
If you are wearing dark or tinted glasses in your passport photo, whenever you travel it is advised that you carry an official medical note stating that you are required to wear them.

Article Written By Shannon Marks

Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.

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