American Passport Photo: Walgreens vs CVS

American Passport Photo: Walgreens vs CVS

CVS Pharmacies and Walgreens Drugs are the number-one and number-two largest drugstore chains in the United States.

They both have over 9,000 locations in the United States; in fact, more than seventyfive percent of all Americans live within five miles of their nearest Walgreens or CVS pharmacy (or both). The two chains sell similar products and services, but you may prefer one store over the other depending on what you’re buying.

This article will consider passport photo services: Walgreens vs CVS who does it better?

Passport photo in 3s!

Take a photo with your smartphone, upload it to the website, we will convert it to an official passport photo and send you a digital or printed version. Simple? You can’t get more convenient than that!

passport photo editor

Walgreens vs CVS passport photos: compared

The American passport photo is one of the most standardized products money can buy. Each passport photo must measure 2×2 inches square, and must be printed on glossy color photo paper.

Each one must meet certain specifications regarding composition. To mention only two examples, the subject’s head must be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the top of the head to the point of the chin; and the background has to be a plain and uniform white background.

So if the products are identical, does it really matter which drugstore makes your passport photo? There are differences in the way the two stores provide their services. The biggest factors are convenience (time, location) and value (money, quality).

Passport picture, Walgreens vs CVS: prices 

Let’s start by looking at prices. The US Post Office will snap your picture, print it, and cut the image down to size for the all-in-one price of fifteen dollars. So consider $15 for USPS passport photos to be the benchmark price.

Walgreens beats that price. By a penny. Walgreens passport photos cost $14.99 one cent cheaper than USPS passport photos. Most Walgreens locations can take your picture and print a pair of 2×2 inch passport photos for you.

This sounds like a halfway decent deal until you consider the fact that regular photos (such as 4×6 prints) only cost 37 cents apiece at Walgreens (or 25 cents each when you’re printing more than 75 photos).

CVS passport photos, on the other hand, actually cost 13% more than the Post Office: $16.99 for a pair of print passport photos! What extra value do you get for the extra money? Well, CVS boasts that a CVS passport photo is sure to be government compliant thanks to their Kodak brand biometric ID photo system.

While Kodak is, of course, a highly respected name brand, nowadays every big chain (including Walgreens) uses advanced biometric tools to make sure their passport photos comply with all government specifications and requirements. But CVS backs up their boast with a 100% money-back guarantee, which is great.

They also use genuine Kodak photo paper for their prints, which is also great, but realistically no one has ever been turned down for a passport because their pictures were printed on, for example, Fuji photo paper instead of Kodak.

So as far as getting the most value for your money is concerned, I have to rank Walgreens as the clear winner against CVS. After all, two bucks is two bucks! If you are going to be printing passport photos for yourself, your spouse and three children, it will cost you an extra ten dollar bill to get the identical product at VCS vs Walgreens.

Find out more about passport photos from these articles:

Passport photo, Walgreens vs CVS: time 

Is one of these locations more convenient to you than the other? Probably not, as the two brands tend to locate within a block of each other, sometimes on opposite corners of an intersection. But whereas almost all Walgreens locations have a photo department which will do passport pictures, photo services are only available at select CVS stores.

In either case, you are well advised to call ahead to make sure they can help you before you make the trip.

What about the speed of the service? Does it take noticeably longer for one store to get the job done? No, in either location it will take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour from the time you walk in the door until you walk out again with your passport photos in your hands.

The difference will depend on how busy the store is at the time, how many people besides you need photo service, how many of those people are hard-to-please “problem customers,” and if the store itself is short-staffed that day an all too common problem nowadays.

Bottom line: just go to whichever store and location is your usual drugstore. They’ve seen you in there before and they know they’re going to see you again.

A great way to speed up the process is to take your passport photo ahead of time, using a digital camera or even your smartphone. Both CVS and Walgreens can accept your digital photos through their online photo service. They will print their passport package for you, and you just pick it up along with your other photos the next time you’re in the store.

Passport photo, Walgreens vs CVS: life hacks

But if you take your passport photo yourself, it’s not really necessary to buy the $14.99 passport package from Walgreens (or the $16.99 package from CVS). Not when a single 4×6 print costs only 37ȼ at Walgreens (or 39ȼ at CVS).

All you need is some way to get a pair of correctly formatted, properly-sized passport photos printed onto a single 4×6 photograph. Then you could cut out the 2 (two) 2×2 passport photos with a pair of sharp scissors, and save yourself over 97%!

But how can you get 2 (two) passport photos (or even FOUR passport photos) onto a single photograph? And how do you make sure they’re the right size? You’re going to need something to make this work… some sort of template. And that’s where Passport Photo Online comes into play.

Passport Photo Online: template 

Passport Photo Online is an online photo service specializing in biometric photographs for identity documents such as passports, visas and licenses.

We can provide you with a template for American passport size photos which will enable you to get two (2) identical 2×2 US passport photos printed onto a single 4×6 color glossy photograph. Want to know how much we charge you to use our 4×6 US passport photo template?

Simply slide your passport compliant photo into our frame, and it gets sized and cropped for no charge. Then go to your local drugstore and have it printed for only 37 or 39 cents.

But if you need some help, and want a guarantee that your photos will be compliant with US Department of State standards, we can provide all that too and it won’t cost you $16.99 like it will at CVS, or even $14.99 at Walgreens.

For less than half the price as Walgreens, Passport Photo Online will scan your images with our AI powered biometric compliance system, and verify that your pictures meet official standards and passport photo requirements. You can take as many snapshots as you like in order to find the one perfect picture that makes you happy.

Included in this low price is background removal and replacement. If you don’t have access to a plain white wall to stand in front of, don’t worry: we can remove the existing background from your photograph and replace it with the perfect plain white background!

We adjust the color, contrast, and exposure to make sure you get the best possible picture. Finally, we will run your finished photos past a pair of human eyeballs to personally make sure that everything looks good.

The whole process takes only a few minutes (you have to watch a commercial on your smartphone or computer while you wait). We email the final photo to you as a JPG, which you can then have printed for pennies at your favorite drugstore.

And if for some reason your passport photos are deemed unacceptable by the authorities, Passport Photo Online has a 200% money back guarantee, and we will refund double your money back!

Unlike the stores, Passport Photo Online is open around the clock, seven days a week. What’s more, if you’re not in a rush and don’t feel like making a trip to the drugstore, for another three dollars we can print the pictures for you and ship them directly to your mailbox. This is literally as convenient as it gets and it’s still much cheaper than a CVS passport photo or Walgreens passport photos!

Walgreens vs CVS passport pictures: sum up

The major US drug stores are great places to handle all your photographic needs. They tend to be conveniently located, fast and reliable. Most of them will have a photo center offering passport photo services, visa photos, and citizenship photos. Customer service is usually pretty good, too. Most people prefer the drug stores over making an online appointment to visit the post office I know I do!

Choosing between CVS and Walgreens is like choosing between Coke and Pepsi: both are fine.

I go with the drugstore that fills my prescriptions, which means my choice in photo labs was made by my insurance provider. But you can save anywhere from 30% to over 95% by combining Passport Photo Online’s services plus printing at Walgreens or CVS pharmacies. You’ll be glad you did: it’s a deal that’s gonna be hard to beat.

Passport photos in Walgreens or CVS: FAQs

Do CVS and Walgreens print passport photos?

Yes, you can get passport photos printed at both CVS and Walgreens, as well as other retail stores. Rite Aid, Duane Reade, Walmart and Target all offer passport photo service.

Is a CVS or a Walgreens passport photo better?

The product is the same. I prefer Walgreens because they have a more reasonable price. The cheapest places are retail stores and shipping stores like UPS Stores and FedEx Office passport. Best of all is to take your passport picture yourself, and then print it at your preferred photo lab.

How much is a passport photo at CVS and Walgreens?

You can get passport photos for $14.99 at Walgreens or $16.99 at CVS, but these are not the cheapest places.

Can I drop off my passport application at Walgreens or CVS?

No, the drug stores are not passport application acceptance offices like post offices, and they cannot accept your application. You need to go to a USPS passport office or another acceptance center such as your county clerk to turn in your passport application.


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