Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Taking your own passport photo might not be something you’ve thought of in the past. But in today’s world, the convenience of taking your passport photo at home is something you might want to take advantage of.
This guide will give you step-by-step instructions for taking your own passport photo, including photo requirements, so you’ll be ready to go the next time you decide to travel.
When applying for your first passport or renewing it by mail or in person, you’ll need to provide a printed passport photo in the correct size of 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm). You can upload your photo to many sites that will help format it to the correct size of 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) ready for printing.
Whichever site you choose to use, follow their instructions to upload, size, and order your photos.
When renewing your passport online, you can submit a digital photo rather than a printed version. The U.S. Department of State website has a photo tool that will resize and crop your digital photo to the required dimensions. You’ll still need to follow all the guidelines below on how to take a suitable passport photo, and when it comes to uploading your photo using this tool, you must also follow these guidelines:
After submitting your photo via the photo tool, this will be reviewed by a Department of State employee who will confirm whether your passport photo has been accepted or not as part of your application.
If applying for your passport by mail, you’ll need to attach your photo to your application correctly. This is done with 4 staples vertically placed in the corners as close to the edge as possible. Your application will show marks exactly where the staples should go.
If you’re applying for a new passport in person, you can take this photo and your application to an acceptance facility. Expedited service may also be available if needed.
Hot Tip: Want to keep your passport looking stylish? Take a look at these passport holders and covers.
All passport photos must adhere to a very specific set of standards.
Your photo must be submitted in color and should be no more than 6 months old. The background should be white or off-white, and you can’t use any filters. You’ll also need someone else to take the photo as selfies are not acceptable for your passport.
Both of these photos are examples of approved passport photos:
These 3 photos are examples of passport photos that are NOT acceptable:
Both of these photos show examples of acceptable passport photo expressions:
The following 3 photos are examples of passport photo expressions and poses that are NOT acceptable:
Here is an acceptable way to wear a head covering in a passport photo:
The 3 photos below are examples of passport photos with head coverings, accessories, and hair that are NOT acceptable:
Being able to take your own passport photo saves you time, and that means you can get your passport application or renewal underway as quickly as possible. Plus, it’s nice to know that you can renew your passport without leaving home — a matter of convenience that’s hard to beat.
Yes, it’s quick and easy to take your passport photo at home. You’ll need a white background in a well-lit area plus a friend to take the photo for you. You can then upload it to get the correct size and order prints online or get prints from your local store.
Yes, you can use your iPhone or another smartphone to take your passport photo at home. Just make sure you have good lighting, a white background, and a friend to help you because selfies aren’t allowed.
Yes you can have a natural smile in your passport photo. A neutral expression is also acceptable. Avoid any expressions that are exaggerated and make sure you are looking directly at the camera.
Your passport photo should be 2 x 2 inches in size. You can upload your photo to a website that can convert it into the correct passport size. Websites that can assist in converting your photo to passport size include Oddprints.com, ePassportPhoto.com, and even larger retailers like Walmart.
When taking your own passport photo, you must not shut your eyes, tilt your head, be wearing any head or eyewear (unless for medical or religious reasons,) have an exaggerated facial expression, have any hair covering your face, or have your body angled sideways. Check out the information above for the full list of dos and don’ts.
You should ideally take your passport photo in a location with even lighting to avoid shadows and against a white or off-white background.
When renewing your passport online, you can submit a digital photo rather than a printed version. The U.S. Department of State website has a photo tool that will resize and crop your digital photo to the required dimensions.
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