Wearing a Hijab in a Passport Photo: Essential Knowledge

Wearing a Hijab in a Passport Photo: Essential Knowledge
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According to Pew Research Center, 58% of Muslim women in the United States (US) wear a head covering, e.g., a hijab, niqab, or burka. Each garment covers the wearer’s head or face to a different extent. A US passport photo requires a full facial view to ensure accurate biometric information.

In this article, Passport Photo Online, a professional passport photo editing app, will answer that question. Read on to discover a detailed analysis of the State Department’s rules. This guidance will enable readers to wear a hijab in a passport photo confidently.

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Is it possible to wear a hijab for a US passport photo?

The US Department of State has explicit rules banning most head coverings in passport photos, such as caps, headphones and headbands. However, the American passport authorities allow religious head coverings to be worn, provided they leave the facial features visible, with no shadows

This is achievable with a hijab, although wearers may need to make some adjustments before taking the picture. 

Applicants must also provide a written statement that this religious headwear is part of their day-to-day clothing (see the template further in this article). 

There’s loads more advice where that came from, read on:

Is it possible to take a US passport photo with a niqab or burka?

Wearing either of these head coverings completely obscures the wearer’s facial features; therefore, applicants cannot wear them in a US passport photo. Applicants will be required to remove at least part of their head covering to allow the picture to show the relevant biometric information.

In the case of a niqab, wearers can simply remove the veil, but those who wear burkas will be required to remove the main headpiece. 

To ease the process, some photo studios offer facilities allowing customers to take passport photos in private. Alternatively,Passport Photo Online’s AI application is perfect for people who would be more comfortable taking these pictures at home.

How to get a passport-size photo wearing a hijab

To get a compliant passport photo while wearing a hijab, applicants may need to make some adjustments. For a successful passport photo, follow these stages:

Step #1: make sure the face is visible

First, the applicant needs to check in a mirror and adjust the headscarf around their face. This will ensure that the hijab does not obscure any facial features in the picture.

Step #2: check for shadows

It’s essential to ensure the hijab does not cast any shadows. Finding somewhere evenly lit (with natural light) can help, but remember to stop the scarf from shading the face.

Adhering to these rules will make sure the photo meets the requirements. It’s also possible to use certain passport photo editing tools, such as Passport Photo Online, to alter the lighting and remove shadows. This can grant some extra peace of mind in the process.

Guidance for wearing a hijab or niqab in a passport photo, with three examples.

The best colors for a hijab in a passport photo

One oft-overlooked part of getting a passport photo while wearing a hijab is the choice of color. For example, if an applicant wears a white hijab for their picture, it will blend in with the background.

The best way to counteract this is to go for a different color. We recommend putting on a blue, green, or burgundy hijab. Such colors will stand out enough without being too overwhelming.

Wearing a hijab in a passport photo: written statement

When taking a passport photo in a hijab, applicants must provide written reasons for wearing a head covering in the passport picture. This signed statement must confirm that the subject wears these head coverings for religious reasons on a daily basis.

To help prepare this letter, take a look at this example template. It should cover everything an applicant would need to say but make any necessary alterations to fit the situation.

Template for a written statement, required to wear a hijab in a passport photo.

Applicants must mail this letter to the passport authorities with the following items:

  • application form 
  • paper passport photos 
  • supporting documents 

If applying in person, bring a printed version of the letter to the appointment.

Guaranteed photo for a passport in a hijab with Passport Photo Online

Everyone needs a passport to travel, which means taking a passport photo. Muslim women who wear hijabs may prefer to take their passport photos in a less public setting. Passport Photo Online allows them to take their photos at home, in private. 

That’s only the beginning. Passport Photo Online, a professional AI photo checker boasting over 1,000,000 users, can solve all applicants’ major problems when taking photos. For example:

  • Shadows: Passport Photo Online has the ability to edit the lighting and remove shadows, creating an evenly-lit image.
  • The risk of rejected passport photo: our AI software has details of every document photo requirement anyone could need. This means our users can apply with confidence.
  • Unsatisfying passport picture: Passport Photo Online offers unlimited free retries, until they get a perfect shot. Users will only pay for the final product.  

At Passport Photo Online, we are so confident our photos will be accepted we offer a 200% refund to our customers if their application is rejected.


Now, let’s take some time to answer any remaining questions about wearing a hijab, niqab, or burka in a passport photo.

Can you take a passport photo with a hijab?

Yes, provided the applicant fulfills the criteria detailed above, it is possible to take a passport photo with a hijab.

How to wear a hijab in a passport photo?

Wearing a hijab for a passport photo means ensuring the applicant’s entire face is visible.  The hijab must not cast any shadows, as these can obscure the subject’s facial features.

How to explain why I need to wear a hijab in my passport photo?

The passport authorities ask for a written statement to confirm that the applicant wears a hijab on a daily basis. This must be included with the passport application form. To get an idea of how to write a statement like this, check out the template above.

Can you wear a niqab in your US passport photo?

No, niqabs cover too much of the wearer’s face. To take a good biometric photo, the subject’s entire face must be uncovered. People who wear niqabs will need to remove the veil when taking passport photos, so the whole face is in view.

Can you wear a burka in US passport photos?

No, taking a passport photo wearing a burka is not allowed in the US Burkas cover the wearer’s entire face, which is against the passport photo rules. Burka wearers must remove the main headpiece, so the applicant’s face is visible in the picture.

Taking a passport photo in a hijab: summing up

Wearing a hijab in a US passport photo is possible, although some adjustments may be necessary. However, those who wear niqabs and burkas need to remove part or all of their headgear to ensure the face is visible.

Passport Photo Online’s AI photo tool makes taking a passport photo in a private setting more straightforward than ever. The AI checker guarantees success, so once it approves an image, users can be confident the passport authorities will accept the application.

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