US vs Japanese Passport Photo – How Do They Compare?

US vs Japanese Passport Photo - How Do They Compare?

When you’re applying for a new, or renewed, passport, and you’re on your way to acquiring a new passport photo for the document, you always have to consider a wide range of requirements. You want the photos to be valid, but the rules can change depending on the country whose passport you want renewed.

Let’s explore how these rules, such as passport photo dimensions, for instance, vary. It’s a US vs Japan passport photo day today, and we’re ready to dive in.

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US and Japan passport pictures: requirements

First, let’s discuss all the official requirements, listing them to find what elements match while others may not.

A lot of features may end up different such as background colors, preferred resolution, or even size, for example.

All of these differences show that the comparison between the US and Japan passport photo, that we’re attempting, is a worthwhile endeavor and something you may find useful for the future.

Do you want to learn more about passport photos? Check these out:

US passport photo requirements

When you’re a US citizen, looking to sort out all of your passport matters, you are required to follow a long set of rules in regards to the passport photo. Only once the photo is compliant with all of them will it be deemed valid, and acceptable, at the passport acceptance facility.

  • the correct size: 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • the person’s head on the photo needs to be between 1 – 1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm)
  • the resolution between 600 x 600 px- and 1200 x 1200 pixels
  • a clear and undamaged passport photo 
  • a photo on glossy or matte paper
  • the photo must not be older than 6 (six) months
  • white or off-white background
  • the person needs to be facing and looking straight at the camera, or phone
  • no other objects or shadows can be visible
  • a neutral expression (a natural, slight smile is okay)
  • no attire resembling uniforms
  • no glasses, tinted lenses or headwear (unless there are medical or religious reasons why you’d wear a head covering or a pair of glasses)
  • you can wear your hair down, as long as it doesn’t cover your eyes and eyebrows
  • the passport photo can be taken by yourself, provided it’s not a selfie and it’s done in accordance with other requirements
  • 2 (two) identical passport photographs required.

Japanese passport photo requirements

Japan also requires their citizens to follow passport photo requirements in order to acquire what is considered a valid passport photo.

According to the government of Japan, all of the requirements listed below are obligatory. 

  • the correct size: 1.38 x 1.77 inches (45 x 35 mm)
  • the distance between the applicant’s forehead and chin should stay within 32 – 36 mm.
  • the resolution between 600 x 600 px- and 1200 x 1200 pixels
  • a clear and undamaged passport photo
  • printed on a photo quality paper: glossy
  • the photo must not be older than 6 (six) months
  • white or off-white background
  • the person needs to be facing and looking straight at the camera or phone
  • no other objects or shadows can be visible
  • a neutral expression (no smiling allowed this time)
  • no attire resembling uniforms 
  • no sunglasses or tinted lenses (prescription glasses with thin frames are fair game)
  • no headwear unless for medical or religious reasons
  • the whole face should be visible, including the forehead
  • you can take the photo on your own, as long as you stay true to the rest of the requirements and the photo is not a selfie
  • 2 (two) identical passport photographs required.

US vs Japan passport photo – similarities and differences

As you can see, more than 60% of the rules surrounding passport photos for those two countries are the same.

The rules about the age of the passport photograph, a neutral expression being required or the requirement to attach a color photo, for instance, are all ever-present in passport photo rules across the world.

In both instances, taking photos by yourself is perfectly fine, if you’re clear on the no-selfie rule. The dress code is effectively the same, just like the rules governing head coverings, which are essentially identical. The same goes for the resolution of the image you submit, or the background in the picture, this too remains the same.

Size differences between the US and Japanese passport photos

The American picture has to stick to 2 x 2 inch dimensions whereas the Japan passport photo is characterized by the 45 x 35 mm measurement, which translates into  1.38 x 1.77 in inches.

Measurements for a US passport photo & measurements for a Japanese passport photo

What’s more, when pondering these differences you should also bear in mind that the applicant’s face has to stick to similar size regulations, and stay within acceptable parameters. The American passport photo requires your head to stay within 25 and 35 mm, whereas the Japanese one mentions the distance of 32 – 36 mm between the chin and the forehead.

Passport photo paper differences between the US and Japan

The choice of paper on which you’ll print your passport photo is an important matter, as you are required to use something better than your standard printing paper.

While most countries allow for the luxury of choice, like the American government which allows passport applicants to go for either matte or  glossy paper, the Japanese passport photo should only be printed on glossy paper. It certainly is one of the details you might want to focus on, to make sure your photos are acceptable.

Hair in US and Japanese passport photos

In the vast majority of countries, rules surrounding your hair in a passport photo are relatively unrestricted and easy to follow. In US passport photos, for instance, eyes and eyebrows are the key facial features that need to be exposed.

A Photo for a Japanese passport, for that matter, needs to show not only your eyes and eyebrows but the forehead as well. This is another important detail you should keep in mind, especially if you’re taking your own passport photo.

Passport Photo Online – a reliable tool for passport photos

You can make sure your passport picture for the US and the Japanese passport passes thanks to Passport Photo Online. Even better, you can do it effortlessly and in a matter of 3 (three) seconds, without leaving your house at all.

Just take the photo, upload it and that’s it! The AI will do all the work, saving you a great deal of time you’d otherwise spend on either editing it yourself, or searching for someone else to do it. What’s more, a human expert will check the picture as well, to ensure the final product is satisfactory. If they manage to find an issue, you will immediately receive a notification and be asked to take another photo.

The Passport photo online app, which has gathered praise from a number of distinguished magazines and websites including Yahoo!, National Geographic, Forbes, and Glamour, will either deliver a correct passport photo, that will be accepted, or you’ll get a 2x refund! You will get the perfect picture with our passport photo maker.

US passport photo vs Japanese passport photo – conclusion

Japanese and US passport photos do share a certain number of similarities, as well as differences.

There are a number of features you ought to pay attention to, such as passport photo size, rules about hair, or the passport photo paper requirements.

US vs Japan passport photo: FAQ

Here you’ll find the most important questions to sate your curiosity about the differences and similarities between US and Japanese passport photos, all packed in a nice, compact way.

What are the differences between Japanese and US passport photo sizes?

The measurement differences between those two passport photos are subtle, but still significant enough to make the matter important. Japanese pictures need to be 45 x 35 mm, which is 1.38 x 1.77 inches, whereas the American photo size is 2 x 2 inches, so 51 x 51 mm.

What are the differences between Japanese and US passport photos?

Differences between these two include: different picture sizes (Japanese photo being 45 x 35 mm and the American one – 51 x 51 mm), the choice of paper, (Japanese passport pictures need to stick to glossy paper, while the American ones can be printed on matte paper as well), and rules governing hair (Japanese passport photo needs to show not only the applicant’s eyes and eyebrows, but also their forehead).


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