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Karolina is a seasoned legal expert with a Master of Law and legal advisor credentials, specializing in passport photo compliance. She ensures adherence to international standards set by entities like the US Department of State and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Equipped with her advocate license and extensive legal background, she brings a unique blend of legal acumen and technical knowledge. Her expertise is pivotal in navigating the intricate and rigorous standards set by key global authorities. Her approach, marked by meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of international law, ensures stringent adherence to the evolving passport and visa photo regulations worldwide.
Biometric Photo—All You Need to Know
During the application process for any identification document, you’re required to provide a biometric photograph. If you’ve ever wondered what this actually means, you’ve come to the right place.
Learn all the essentials of biometric photos, their requirements, and where to get them.
What is a biometric photo?
In most general terms, a biometric photo is a picture that measures and analyzes your facial features. It’s used across all identity documents, such as passports, visas, driving licenses, and so on.
Biometrics are crucial for the person’s identification—only by detailed facial recognition can authorities ensure that the document belongs to its holder.
Now, with such a strict analysis come strict requirements. What are they?
Biometric photo requirements
The regulations for biometric pictures—size requirements, background color, or image resolution—vary across countries. There are, however, common rules that every biometric photograph, regardless of location, must adhere to.
- You must be the only person in the picture. It may sound obvious, but there are situations when people submit group photos for their identity documents. That’s unacceptable—only the document’s holder can be visible in the photo
- Your face must be fully visible. It’s the most important part of a biometric photograph. Thus, your face cannot be covered by hair, attire, or any accessories
- You must look directly at the camera. Your eyes must be fully open and focused on the lens
- There can’t be any shadows in the photo—neither on your face nor in the background
- You must maintain a neutral facial expression. Smiling is generally forbidden in biometric photos as this expression alters your facial characteristics, making facial recognition more difficult
- The photo background must be plain. While the backdrop colors vary, the general rule of thumb is that there can’t be any patterns in the photo’s background
Summing up the most important requirements: Your face must be clearly visible and undisturbed by shadows, accessories, or anything else that could cover your eyes, nose, or mouth.
US biometric passport photo
As mentioned before, countries have their own unique regulations regarding the size, background color, and dress code for biometric photos.
According to the US Department of State, everyone applying for a US passport or visa must provide a photograph adhering to the following requirements:
- 2x2 inches (51x51 millimeters) in size—with the head between 1 and 1 ⅜ inches (22–35 mm)
- White or off-white background
- Reflecting your current appearance (taken within 6 months before the application)
The reflection of your actual looks is vital—as per biometric standards, you cannot use any digital alterations or filters on your ID photos.
Moreover, for the US digital passport photos, the following rules apply:
- 600x600–1200x1200 pixels in size
- JPG or JPEG format
- Up to 240kB (file size)
The general US passport photo dress code states that no head coverings are allowed unless for medical or religious reasons. The same goes for eyeglasses—only under exceptional circumstances can a person wear glasses for a passport photo, additionally providing a signed doctor’s statement.
Where to get a biometric passport photo
In the US, you can find many convenient locations which offer biometric passport photo services. These include:
- Pharmacies, such as CVS or Walgreens
- Retail stores, such as Walmart
- Shipping companies, such as FedEx
- Post offices
- Professional photography studios
But why wait in lines or travel to a specific location when you can create your biometric photograph at home? It’s now possible. Read on to find your online alternative!
How do I take a biometric passport photo?
While photos for identity documents must follow strict criteria, it doesn’t mean you can only take them at a photography studio. See how you can quickly—and professionally—take your passport photos at home.
- Use a dedicated biometric photo app. Try Passport Photo Booth App for iOS or Passport Photo Maker App for Android.
- Take your photo following the requirements discussed in previous paragraphs and on-screen tips.
- Put your image through a verification process.
- Done! Download your digital biometric picture or order prints directly to your door.
Thanks to a professional passport photo app, taking biometric photos is done within minutes, comfortably from your home. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, we’re here to assist you. Your uploaded image will be checked by AI technology and our biometric photo expert available 24/7.
That way, you can be sure that your passport and visa photos meet all the requirements—or you’ll get 200% of your purchase cost back!
How does our photo tool work?
Take or upload photo
Take a photo or upload one from your mobile gallery. Follow our guidelines to meet all the requirements.
Get your photo verified
Let AI fine-tune your photo. Order your picture, and have it verified by an expert to ensure 100% compliance.
Enjoy your photo
Download your digital photo instantly, or have your printouts delivered to your doorstep for free!
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