How to Obtain a Passport Photo

How to Obtain a Passport Photo
When requesting a new passport or renewing your old one, you must submit two 2x2 (inches) photographs of yourself with your application. The requirements for these photos are very specific, and you should ensure that your photographs meet them all to avoid processing delays. A common misconception is that passport photos need to be taken with a special camera. While commercial services offering passport photographs use a camera that helps to properly align your face, you can also take your own passport photo with a camera at home.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Use the standard color photography mode on your camera---stay away from black-and-white or sepia tones---and print your photograph in color.
Step 2
Examine your photo before printing or digitally submitting to make sure it is of the appropriate quality. Poorly focused or incorrectly exposed images, such as those that leave bright spots or shadows on the face, will not be accepted.
Step 3
Stand in front of a solid-white or off-white background when composing your photograph. A white wall or door can be used, as long as the texture of the wall or door is not visible on the final photograph.
Step 4
Look straight into the camera when the photo is taken. Profile shots, even if slight, are not acceptable.
Step 5
Wear normal street attire when having your photograph taken. A uniform should not be worn unless it is worn daily, and any headgear should be removed unless it is worn for religious purposes. Anything you typically wear, such as prescription glasses or a wig, should be worn for the photo.
Step 6
Ensure that your head measures between 1 and 1 3/8 inches when measured from the tip of your chin to the top of your head. Special passport cameras will assist the photographer in meeting this requirement, but you will have to measure yourself if you are printing your own photos.
Step 7
Use a new (within the last six months) photo that you have trimmed to 2x2 inches. You must submit two identical photos, so be careful if you are trimming them yourself.

Tips & Warnings

 
Commercial locations that offer passport photos do not always follow these instructions as closely as they should. It is important to know these requirements and verify that they have been followed, even if you are not taking the photograph yourself. You can also submit a photograph digitally using the Department of State's online application form. The requirements for digital photos are the same as the requirements for printed photos, but saves you from having to cut them out yourself. While only two photographs are required, it is generally a good idea to have duplicates in the event you must replace your passport.
 
Commercial locations that offer passport photos do not always follow these instructions as closely as they should. It is important to know these requirements and verify that they have been followed, even if you are not taking the photograph yourself.
 
You can also submit a photograph digitally using the Department of State's online application form. The requirements for digital photos are the same as the requirements for printed photos, but saves you from having to cut them out yourself.
 
While only two photographs are required, it is generally a good idea to have duplicates in the event you must replace your passport.
 
Incorrect or insufficient passport photos will result in greater processing times and will probably get your application rejected. Always verify that the rules have been followed, even if your photograph is taken by a professional.

Article Written By Carl Brannon

Carl Brannon is a legal and political commentator whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of California, San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.