What to Wear in a Passport Photo [And Get It Accepted]?

Learn what to wear to follow the US passport photo dress code.
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We all want to look our best in photos, so why should it be any different when it comes to a travel document? After all, you’ll look at that picture for the next 10 years. So—

Before you settle on the first shirt you dig out of your closet, the question is: What to wear for a passport photo to adhere to the regulations without sacrificing your style? We’ve got you covered!

Can’t decide on one attire to wear for a passport photo? We’ve got a solution! Use our Passport Photo Booth App for iOS or Passport Photo Maker App for Android that allows you to snap as many photos as you like from your home—try several outfits until you find the best one!

A picture converted into a government-compliant passport photo in 3 seconds using Passport Photo Online mobile app.

If you want to prepare to take your passport photo like a pro, check out these related articles:

Should you follow a passport photo dress code?

Yes, you should. The US Department of State provides a list of strict requirements each applicant must meet when applying for their passport, and dress code rules are no different. Picking the right outfit is a fine line between a speedy application and a delayed process. So—

Before you take your own passport photo at home or head to a professional studio, make sure you know exactly what the US passport photo dress code is. 

Did you know? Over the past decade, over 10 million Americans took photos for their passport application. But in 2022, the number doubled to a staggering 21,995,760.

Here’s what NOT to wear in passport pictures

First off—

The US passport photo dress code is fairly lenient, and the authorities recommend you wear everyday clothing for the shot. But does it mean you can snap a photo in your favorite team’s cap you hardly ever take off? Not quite.

The list of what you should avoid when deciding on your attire is well-defined, and we broke it down for you in this handy table below.

ColorsTo avoid blending with the white background or the “floating head” effect, don’t wear these colors: white, off-white, light grays, or beige tones.
GlassesNo glasses are allowed in passport pictures—even if you wear prescription glasses. Under special circumstances (when you can’t take glasses off), you’ll have to hand in a signed doctor’s statement.
AccessoriesJewelry and facial piercings that are bulky or obstructive aren’t acceptable. The same applies to hair accessories.
Head coveringHats, caps, or headbands aren’t allowed. The only exception applies to traditional religious attire (e.g., hijab).
Clothing pieces to avoidUniforms, camouflage attire, turtlenecks, and tank tops. Such pieces either reveal or conceal too much, rendering your photo unacceptable for an official document.
Electronic devicesYou can’t wear headphones or any other wireless hands-free devices. If you use hearing aids on a daily basis, you’re allowed to keep them.

Pro tip: What if you want to wear makeup to elevate your look? Be careful not to overdo it! Check out our pro passport photo makeup tips to avoid mistakes. 

Here’s what to wear in a passport photo 

Now that you know which items from your closet aren’t suitable, what are you allowed to wear in a passport photo? Your passport will stay with you for a decade, and so will the picture inside it. So—

Don’t stress and follow these four tips below to ensure your passport photo outfit ticks all the boxes.

1. Choose dark, plain colors

Keeping in mind the colors you should avoid, we suggest you opt for darker colors such as black, navy blue, burgundy, or brown. But nothing’s stopping you from going for red or green! 

What if you like funky patterns? They’re not strictly forbidden. However, it’s best to avoid anything that can take the attention from your face—plain is the safest way to go.

Colors your clothes should have to look good against the acceptable background in passport photos.

2. Avoid too (in)formal outfits

t’s a passport photo, not a wedding photoshoot. Don’t stress about dressing up in formal attire if it’s not your style—you can even wear a plain T-shirt or a polo shirt. 

On the other hand, wearing a hoodie or your trusty gym wear may not be the best choice. The bottom line is to look presentable and comfortable.

Examples of clothes you should wear for biometric photos.

3. Don’t over-accessorize

You can’t wear just about any type of jewelry you want. But it doesn’t mean you can’t spice up your outfit at all! A pair of dainty earrings or a necklace are perfectly acceptable for official documents and will spice up your look.

Examples of accessories you’re allowed to wear in a US passport photo.

4. Pick a simple hairstyle

Requirements for hair in passport photos aren’t too restrictive—you can keep your current cut, go for an up-do, or let your hair down. 

Note, however, that your face must be fully visible, so in some cases (e.g., bangs), you may need to modify your hairstyle to adhere to the guidelines.

Types of hairstyles you can have in passport photos.

Still not sure if your favorite outfit will get a green light from passport agents? Don’t sacrifice your fashion taste—even for a travel document. Let our experts verify your picture in just 3 minutes!

A photo uploaded to Passport Photo Online’s web app via an internet browser on a laptop and turned into a compliant passport photograph in 3 seconds.


What are you not allowed to wear in a passport photo?

Here’s a short overview of no-goes according to passport photo requirements:

● Light colors (white, off-white, shades of gray)
● Head coverings (except headgear you may wear for religious reasons)
● Glasses, including prescription glasses
● Uniforms and camo patterns
● Heavy makeup changing your natural facial features

Can I wear a turtleneck for a passport photo?

Turtlenecks aren’t recommended. This piece of clothing is likely to obstruct your neck and even a part of your face, both of which must be fully visible in passport photos.

Can you wear a hoodie in a passport photo?

You can as long as the hood is down. However, keep in mind that your travel document will stay with you for the next 10 years (unless you need to renew it), and going for a more clean-cut look might be a better option.

What color can’t you wear for passport pictures?

According to the US passport photo dress code, you shouldn’t wear the following colors in passport photos: white, off-white, gray shades, or light beiges. Instead, we recommend wearing dark-colored clothes that won’t blend with the photo’s backdrop. 

Dress code for passport photos: final notes

Photos in your identification documents serve a practical purpose—they’re not meant to capture invaluable moments of your life. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean you have to carry a photo of yourself looking bland for each journey you set out on!

Let’s recap what outfit you should choose to ensure it sticks to the US passport picture dress code:

  1. Don’t wear white, off-white, or gray; opt for casual clothes in darker colors.
  2. Don’t wear uniforms or camo patterns.
  3. Choose minimalistic accessories (e.g., simple jewelry).
  4. Don’t wear any headgear unless for religious or medical purposes.
  5. Remove glasses (including prescription glasses).
  6. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in, without them being too formal or informal.

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