US Passport Photo Requirements

Passport Photo Requirements


The United States Embassy in Manila has released a notice to the public in regard to the poor quality of photos that they have been receiving with passport applications. The notice states that poor quality photos are the number one reason for passport delays. 

I personally have found that being proactive with quality assurance is quite necessary in making sure that I get acceptable passport images (or images for any other use).

If you have the proper equipment and setting, then you can produce your own passport images by following the Passport Photo Guidelines provided by the U.S. State Department.
The top five reasons for passport images being rejected by the U.S. Embassy:
  • Photo is digitally edited or retouched – Do not alter or edit your passport photo. This includes airbrushing the background to make it appear whiter (as this sometimes affects the shape of the head) and photoshopping of attire. Your passport photo should be the best likeness of you; do not use filters commonly used on social media.
  • Eyeglasses – Please remove your glasses for your passport photo, even if you normally wear them. If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, please include a signed note from your doctor with your application.
  • Photo is more than six months old – Your photo must have been taken within six months of submitting your passport application.
  • Head size is incorrect – Often, the photo has been taken from too close or too far away. The head should be centered in the photo and sized between 1 inch and 1.4 inches (2.5 cm and 3.5 cm).
  • Poor-quality image or photos – We cannot use blurry, grainy, or pixelated photos, or photos that are not printed on photo-quality paper. Your photos should always be clear and as high-resolution as possible. 
This information is good to keep in mind not just for your US passport photos, but for any and all images that are required for IDs and other purposes. Size and background color of images may vary depending on the use.