U.S. Visa and Green Card Photo Requirements

Photographs requirements are the same for U.S. visa, green card (permanent resident card) and for the U.S. passport.
Exception: Photograph requirements for the Diversity Visa Lottery are different.

Important: Please follow these instructions carefully. If photographs presented do not meet these requirements your application will be considered incomplete.
  • Photographs are required for all applicants, including children.
  • The photo should be printed on thin photo-quality paper.
  • The photo to must be in color.
  • The photo must be no older than 6 months.
  • The photo must measure exactly 2 inches by 2 inches.
  • The photo should show a clear, front view, full face of the person. The person should be in normal street attire, without hat or dark glasses against a plain white or off-white background. The person's expression should be natural, with both eyes open, looking directly ahead. Normal, unexaggerated smiles are acceptable, but unusual expressions and squinting are not. Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.
  • The person's head, measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the hair, should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches. The head should be centered in the photo. The head of the person being photographed should not be tilted up, down or to the side. It should cover about 50% of the area of the photo.
  • In general, the applicant's head, including both face and hair, should be shown from the crown of the head to the tip of the chin on top and bottom and from hairline side-to-side. It is preferable that ears be exposed.
  • Photos with dark, busy or patterned backgrounds will not be accepted.
  • Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear should be removed for the photo. A signed statement from the applicant must be submitted with the application verifying the item is worn daily for religious reasons. In all cases, no item or attire should cover or otherwise obscure any part of the face.
  • Eyeglasses worn on a daily basis can be worn for the photo. However, there should be no reflections from the eyeglasses that obscures the eyes.
  • Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (an eye patch, for example). A medical certificate may be required.
  • Uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, and camouflage attire should not be worn in photographs except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. Otherwise, normal street attire should be worn.
  • A photograph depicting a person wearing a traditional facemask or veil that does not permit adequate identification is not acceptable.
  • Photos of military, airline, or other personnel wearing hats are not acceptable. Photographs of applicants wearing tribal, national costume, or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable.
  • The minor child must be the only subject in the photo. Nothing used to support the minor child, whether by mechanical or human means, should be in the camera's frame.
  • Only original photographs are acceptable. Copied or digitally scanned photos of photos will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be digitally altered or retouched to alter the person's appearance in any way.
  • The applicant's appearance and the background of the picture must not be altered.
  • Group photos are NOT accepted for a party applying for a visa together. Since a separate visa/green card/passport is issued to each qualified applicant, an individual photo is required in all cases.
  • Do not enclose photographs in glassine or other types of envelopes.
  • Snapshots, magazine photos, most vending machine prints, or full-length photographs are not acceptable.
  • Photos should be printed without borders.
  • Side or angled views are NOT accepted.
  • Digitally reproduced photographs must be reproduced without discernible pixels or dot patterns. Photocopied photographs are NOT accepted.
  • If the digital camera has sufficient resolution - capable of capturing and storing images with 3.5 million pixels (megapixels) or more - it can be used to take the photos. However, printing of digital images is best done by professional photography processing labs because many off-the-shelf digital printers cannot achieve the image-quality required for passport and visa photographs. In any case, the image-quality criteria, described on this website, must be met in the submitted conventional film photo and/or the digital image printed photo.
  • Using a pencil, light print your Alien Registration Number (A number) if you have one. Otherwise, write your name on back of your photo. The applicant's signature must appear on the reverse side of the photograph.
  • Even though 1 photograph is required for the nonimmigrant visa application, it is advisable to keep a few extra photos with you just in case they are needed.

Well-Composed Photos