To travel almost anywhere in the world, you have to have a passport. This little document comes in many different colors around the globe, and it has just as many different regulations to follow – and the blue U.S. passport is no exception. Your passport picture also has to obey certain rules.
Since so many questions come up regarding what is and what isn’t permitted in the passport photo, we put together the following guide to help you.
What hairstyles can you have in your passport photo?
When it comes to hairstyles in American passport photos, the U.S. State Department doesn’t strictly say what is and what isn’t permitted. There are many regulations, though, which you (and your hair!) have to follow.
First, it’s important that your whole head is in the picture, and this includes your hair. Tall hair cannot stick up out of the top of the frame; wide hair cannot extend beyond the edges. Only long hair can disappear behind your back and hang below the bottom edge of the picture.
Second, it’s also very significant that the background is clearly visible. So if your hair tends to take up some space (big perms and afros, for example), it’s advised that you tie it back.
Finally, all your facial features must be visible, including your eyes, chin, and ears. Even your neck and shoulders! So pulling your hair back behind your ears is a must.
No one expects you to change your hairstyle overnight for a passport photo. Just follow the State Department guidelines and make sure your face is fully visible.
What about headgear in passport photos?
Your hair shouldn’t be covered by anything – no hats, no scarves, no big hair accessories such as ribbons and bows. Exceptions can only be made for head coverings worn daily for religious and cultural reasons (such as yarmulkes and hijabs) but you will need to provide a sworn affidavit that this is your religion.
It’s important that your head and your hair never go out of the picture. It’s also very significant that the background is clearly seen so, unfortunately, if your hair tends to take up some space, it’s advised that you tie it in the back. Your every feature has to be visible, including face, neck, and both ears, so putting your hair behind your ears is a must. Your hair shouldn’t be covered by anything – no hats, no hair accessories, nothing.
When it comes to bangs the rule is very simple. Since nothing should be covering your face – forehead included – try parting them in the middle or clipping them back with nonvisible clips.
No one expects you to change your hairstyle overnight for a passport photo. Just make sure that you follow the guidelines and make your face fully visible.
Looking for more tips to get that perfect passport photo? Try reading our other articles:
- Passport Photo Face Guide: Everything You Need to Know
- Passport Photo Make-up Tips and Rules
- Passport Photo Hair Requirements in the U.S. [Guide]
- Passport Photo: Glasses or No Glasses?
- My Eyes Came Out Really Dark in a Passport Photo, Will They Accept It?
- 16.5 Expert Tips From Makeup Artists: Best Makeup for Passport Photos
- I Have Gray Hair In My Passport Photo and I Changed My Hair Color
Taking your own passport photo at home
If you have a good camera (and most smartphones these days have very good cameras) and access to a photo-quality printer (and most office supply stores and copy shops can print good pictures), then it is possible to take your passport photo at home.
In addition to following the hairstyle guidelines provided above, you also need to make sure that your background is a simple uniform white, that your lighting is good and even, and that your whole face is visible. It can be a difficult task, but there are ways to make it easier.
There are services available online where you take a photo yourself (with the help of the webpage and following their specific instructions), and they will edit it to meet the government specifications and send it to you either in an email or via delivery, already printed, right underneath your door.
One of the best software you could use nowadays, that has grabbed the attention of popular platforms such as Forbes and National Geographic is Passport Photo Online. The application is very easy to use and offers a variety of tools such as background remover or photo resizer. All of this is done automatically through advanced artificial intelligence which can help you save time as well as money.
In conclusion – can you have bangs in your passport photo?
Yes, if you wear bangs in life you should have bangs in your passport photo, but the tips of the fringe cannot cross the eyebrow line. If you have big “emo” bangs that get in your eyes, you will need to do something: clip them back using invisible clips, or trim them up a little higher, or try parting your hair in the middle. Maybe some hairspray or gel would help. In any event, they must obscure as little of your face as possible.
What are some do’s and don’ts in passport photo hairstyles?
Do make sure to look at yourself. Do flatten your hair if the background is not visible. Do put your hair back and behind your ears.
Don’t cover your hair. Don’t wear any bright or visible hair accessories. Don’t hide your face behind your hair.
Can my passport photo get rejected because of a hairstyle?
Yes, it can. If your hair covers your face or the background it is most likely to get rejected. Make sure to carefully read all the rules and guidelines before taking your photo so that nothing like that happens to you.
Karolina Turowska, a biometric photography expert and travel enthusiast at Passport-Photo.Online. When it comes to writing, she loves bringing dry facts to life. When it comes to traveling, she just loves bikes.