Expedite Passport Services

How to Take a Passport Photo at Home Guide

Before heading into a regional passport office, applying for a passport renewal over the mail, or handing your passport application to TravelVisaExpress, be sure you have a valid passport photo. Though many passport offices and post offices provide on-site photo services, there's nothing stopping you from taking a regulation-size shot at home provided you have a camera and a photo printer.

Need more info? Check our Ultimate US Passport Photo Guide!

Expressions on the face

Some passport photo criteria are self-evident: Face the camera directly, with your face unobstructed; wear a neutral expression or a closed-mouth grin; and keep both eyes open.

Can I wear spectacles?

Prior to November 2016, anyone seeking for a US passport could do so while wearing prescription glasses. Anyone with vision impairments will now have to use contacts or remove their glasses for the shot. Sunglasses, as well as other unusual eyewear such as monocles, are not permitted.

Piercings and tattoos

If you have any new face or neck tattoos, you may need to acquire a new passport photo. There is no limit on the amount of piercings allowed in passport pictures, but they must be representative of your regular look.

Religious dress

Hats, neckerchiefs, or anything that obstructs the view of your face or head are often not permitted in passport pictures. If a person wears a head covering for religious reasons, he or she must produce a signed declaration stating that such dress is essential as a member of their faith. Even with these exclusions, apparel that hides the face, such as a niqab used by Muslim women, is not permitted to be worn for passport pictures.

For medical reasons

Naturally, people with just one eye or facial abnormalities can travel, but they should be aware of how the passport photo requirements influence them. Sometimes wearing a hat or concealing portions of the face is medically necessary.

As long as the applicant shows a doctor's declaration, eye patches or any bandages covering the scalp may be worn. If you already have a passport but have recently been in an accident that resulted in serious (and permanent) scars, you should acquire a new passport photo to reflect this. A fresh passport photo is frequently required following any facial cosmetic surgery.

Are there certain hairstyles that are not permitted for passport photos?

Any hairdo may be used in a passport photo as long as it fits within the frame and does not considerably hinder your face's perspective; heavy bangs or dreadlocks may need to be brushed out of the eyes. By the same token, if you've changed your haircut, you don't require a new passport photo.

Other dress

Any type of camouflage design is not permitted in passport photographs. Suits, skirts, T-shirts, and polo shirts are all acceptable for passport photographs. Anyone wearing gear that resembles a uniform, including members of the US military and the police enforcement, will have their photo rejected.

Hearing aids and other technological devices

No one is permitted to use headphones, earphones, or hands-free equipment in their passport photograph. If you must wear hearing aids on a daily basis, they may be worn in photographs shot at home.

How may a passport photo be taken at home?

If you've ever had a passport photo made at a drugstore or photo studio, you're certainly familiar with the basic requirements: a white backdrop and clothes with contrasting colors. However, there are additional factors to consider, such as your facial expression and any tattoos or piercings.

For kids

The most typical passport photographs done at home aren't for people trying to save a few bucks, but for parents of newborns who know how their children would respond in photo studios with strangers. The US Department of State mandates that children be photographed in the same manner as adults, with their heads centered in the frame and their eyes open.

Parents with children under 12 months old should consider having them lie on a white blanket with the parent overhead taking the shot; infants and very small children do not have to have their eyes open, although it is ideal.

As long as the photo is sized correctly (2x2 inches), shot within the past six months, and properly framed, one of the images matching the aforementioned conditions can be used in a passport application.

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