How To Take A Passport Photo

See the US passport photo requirements. When applying for a passport, you will need to provide a photo. There are specific requirements on how the photo should look like. Below we list those requirements to help you better understand how to take a passport photo.

If you don't want to take the photo yourself, then we provide a list of where to get passport photos nearby. It is required to provide one photo along with your US passport application.

Passport photo requirements

Below is a list of requirements you need to follow when taking your passport photo.

  • Head must face the camera directly with your full face in view
  • You must have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing normally worn on a daily basis
  • Photo must have been taken within the last 6 months
  • Use a plain white or off-white background
  • Be sized correctly
  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • Head must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 - 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
    Printed in color
  • You cannot wear glasses
  • If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, please include a signed note from your doctor with application
  • You cannot wear a hat or head covering
  • If you wear a hat or head covering for religious purposes, submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering in your photo is part of recognized, traditional religious attire that is customarily or required to be worn continuously in public
  • If you wear a hat or head covering for medical purposes, submit a signed doctor's statement verifying the hat or head covering in your photo is used daily for medical purposes
  • Your full face must be visible and your hat or head covering cannot obscure your hairline or cast shadows on your face
  • You cannot wear headphones or wireless hands-free devices

Where to get your passport photo

For applicants looking to find a place where they can go to have their picture taken and print it out, view the following locations that generally allow you to do this:

  • CVS
    In most cases, an applicant can go to a CVS to get their passport photo done quickly at participating locations. They are generally cheap to obtain, and applicants usually do not need to wait long to get their copies. For more information, see the CVS passport photo service page
  • Costco
    Costco passport photos can be taken at various facilities throughout the country but membership may be required
  • Walmart
    Using Walmart for your passport photo is economical and easy to obtain for first-time applicants
  • Walgreens
    Walgreens generally offers photo services. Occasionally, there is even a Walgreens passport photo coupon or discount that thrifty purchasers can use to lower their costs. For more information, see the Walgreens passport photo service page
  • Rite Aid
    You can check out your local Rite Aid for another option in getting your passport photo taken and printed out

You can also contact your local USPS to see if they offer passport photo services. However, you will need to schedule an appointment to make sure the service is available. You can search our list of passport office locations in your state to see if one nearby offers passport photo services.

Passport photo help

Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help you with taking a passport photo that meets their requirements listed above.

Can you wear glasses such as sunglasses, or tinted glasses in my passport photo?

No, they are not allowed. You will need to take them off for your passport photo. If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you must submit a signed statement from your doctor and include it with your passport application.

Can I have my head covered or wear a hat?

You are allowed to wear a hat or head covering, however you will be required to submit a signed statement saying that the hat or head covering is part of a recognized and traditional religious attire that is customary or is required to be worn in public.

Or you will need to provide a signed doctor note that verifies the item is used daily for any medical purpose. Your full face must be visible. The hat or head covering cannot go over your hairline or cast a shadow onto your face.

Is smiling allowed in my passport photo?

Yes, you are allowed to smile. However, it must be natural and not over exaggerated.

If my appearance has changed, do I need a new photo?

Only if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your current passport. Growing a beard or coloring your hair would not constitute a significant change. If you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport, you do not need to apply for a new passport. However, you may need to apply for a new passport if you have:

  • Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
  • Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
  • Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
  • Made a gender transition

If the appearance of your child under the age of 16 has changed due to the normal aging process, you do not need to apply for a new passport for him or her.

What is the proper pose to use in my photo?

The proper pose would be to face the camera with your head centered in the frame and not tilted with a neutral expression or natural smile.

Can I wear a uniform in my photo?

No, you are not allowed to wear a uniform, clothing that may look like a uniform or any camouflage attire.

Can I remove red-eye from my photo?

Yes, you can use digital altercation to remove red-eye. However, you cannot use any other digital altercations or any other editing on your photo.

How do I take a photo of a baby or toddler?

First, only the baby or toddler needs to be in the photo, no one else. Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby's face, especially if you take a picture from above.

Covering a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and taking a picture of your child in the car seat may also be helpful.

What if my child's eyes are closed in the photo?

Only an infant can have their eyes not entirely open or not open at all. Any other children, they must have their eyes completely open.