USCIS Photos Made Convenient [Take Them at Home]

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USCIS Photos Made Convenient [Take Them at Home]
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Snap or upload a photo

Snap or upload a photo

That's the only thing you need to do. Snap or upload a photo - we'll take care of the rest.

AI prepares the photo

AI prepares the photo

Artificial Intelligence will check your photo, crop it to the right size and remove the background.

Expert verification

Expert verification

Our Photo Expert will make additional verification to check if your photo meets the official requirements.

Digital or print photos

Digital or print photos

You can download a digital version and order a printout which we will send within 2-4 days. Delivery is free!


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How to take a photo?

Taking a photo for your ID has never been so easy.

Follow these simple instruction to take the perfect ID photo.


Body-camera distance

The distance between the face and the camera should be about 40 cm. Ideally the photo should be taken by the other person.


Posture: Straight ahead

Place your face in front of the lens. Hold the camera at eye level and keep neutral face expression.



Stand facing the light source, for example an exposed window. The background will be cut out, don't worry about it.

U.S. Citizenship application - Digital photo size & requirements

Take USCIS Photos with Ease from the Comfort of Your Home
Width: 2 in
Height: 2 in
301 dpi
Is it suitable for online submission?
Image definition parameters
Head height: 1.29 in
Bottom of the Photo to the Eye Line: 1.18 in
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More about USCIS Photos - Requirements

U.S. Citizenship application photo

So are you excited to apply for US citizenship for the first time? That's great! However, are you aware that your application will only be valid if you submit a valid photo? But it’s worth knowing that only applicants who reside outside the United States must provide two identical color photos taken recently. Applicants who live in the U.S. don’t need to send two paper photographs anymore. This means the photos will be done at biometrics appointment. However, it is worth having such a photo template in your database as it is a passport-style biometric photo. Such a photo can be useful in many other situations, also when applying for other official documents. That's why citizenship application photo requirements are something you definitely need to be familiar with before taking a photo and including it with your application. But don't worry - in this tutorial you will learn how to take the correct Citizenship application photo with your own smartphone with the help of our online photo generator. It's simple, fast, cheap and completely safe.

PhotoAiD is a USCIS photo tool that works like a photo check, resizer and background remover. It comes as an iPhone / Android application and a convenient online tool. All you have to do is read these USCIS passport photo requirements and follow the directions. Then you upload the file to our tool and wait for the artificial intelligence to prepare your USCIS photo template, which you can print or send online.

USCIS passport photo requirements

As you can see in the header, the picture for the USCIS is actually just a picture for the US passport. The requirements for photos for both of these documents are the same. These are biometric photos, and therefore specially made in a way that allows easy identification of the document holder. However, you still need to know all the photo specifications to be able to attach the appropriate pictures to your application. Therefore, below you will learn how to take the correct photo for the application for the U.S. citizenship:

General requirements for USCIS passport photo

  • 2 x 2 inch portrait biometric photo.
  • In color and in focus.
  • The image is not older than 6 months from the date of application.
  • It shows your current appearance.
  • Taken against plain light background.
  • Well-lit with no shadows on it.
  • Meets the technical requirements for US passport photos.

USCIS photo size and dimensions

USCIS photo size is 2 x 2 inch (51 x 51 mm). This is a photo with a square aspect ratio where width equals height. The head area must be between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inch (22 mm to 35 mm) or 50% to 69% of the total height of the image from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. Using our application / USCIS photo editor you don't have to worry about the size. The program will crop the photo itself so that it has the correct dimensions.


The photo must be taken in full face view, directly facing the camera. The frame must cover the entire head, including the hair, neck, and upper shoulders. It is best to leave some space around the head. Remember that PhotoAiD works like a USCIS photo sizer and will ensure that the photo is properly framed to meet governmental requirements for these photos.

Quality of USCIS passport photo

USCIS passport photo must be in focus and in color. It can't be blurry, grainy or pixelated. If you are preparing a photo with a smartphone, set the phone on a tripod and place it on a stable surface. This way you will avoid blurry and shaky shots. In addition, when supplying printed photos, you must ensure that they are not scratched, wrinkled and that there are no visible pixels after printing. Also, remember to print the pictures on matte or glossy high-quality photo paper. You can print it at home or use one of the photo labs.

Photo background

USCIS photo specification requires the photo to be taken on a light and uniform background, preferably white. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about it when you use our / USCIS passport photo tool application. PhotoAiD itself removes the background from the photo and replaces it with the one required for the document. In the case of citizenship application photo, this will be a white background. Therefore, when taking a photo with a smartphone, you do not have to stand in front of a white wall or a sheet.

The face in the photo

The face must face the camera. You need to have a neutral expression of your face, possibly a slight natural smile. Don't smile widely or show your teeth. The mouth must be closed and the eyes must be open. The face must be fully visible, so it is best to brush the hair back and expose the cheeks. Keep your face straight − don't tilt it. Also remember − photos from the half-profile are rejected immediately.

Glasses on USCIS photo

You can't wear glasses on a passport photo. Prescription glasses, sunglasses, and tinted glasses are not allowed. In exceptional circumstances, you may wear glasses for special medical purposes. This applies, for example, where the glasses cannot be removed for medical reasons because the applicant has recently had eye surgery and the glasses are essential to protect the eyes. However, you must provide the appropriate statement signed by the doctor.

Lighting in the USCIS passport photo

Lighting is the biggest challenge when preparing USCIS photos yourself. The photo must be well lit, i.e. the light must cover both sides of the face well. There must be no unwanted shadows in the photo, that is, on the face, neck, background or shoulders. Taking a photo yourself, preferably stand in front of the window and catch the natural light. The best light is in the morning. Make sure that the photo is not underexposed or overexposed. There must be a stark contrast between the background and the subject.

Clothes in the picture

There are no special dress requirements except for uniforms. You cannot have a uniform or military clothing in the photo. In addition, it is best to wear every day but neat clothes in which you will look elegant and professional. We advise against wearing eccentric styles and white shirts that may blend in with the background. This in turn will disturb the contrast of the photo and the photo may be rejected as a result.


As a rule, hats are not allowed on photos for documents, and this also applies to USCIS passport photos. That is, you cannot wear a baseball cap, elegant beret, winter hat or any other hat. But remember that there are some exceptions to this. That is to say, religious headgear is allowed on the passport photo, as long as they do not cover the face, and the applicant wears them every day and has a statement from his religious community for this. However, you cannot have a burqa or other Muslim headscarf that covers your face. The headscarf must be removed so that the face oval, chin and forehead are visible. Moreover, headgear worn for medical reasons is allowed in the same way as glasses for special medical purposes. Here, too, however, you must provide an appropriate declaration signed by the doctor.

Hairstyle and makeup

There are no special requirements to the hairstyle in the photo to make the passport photo tight. The hair, however, cannot cover the face, especially the eyebrows and cheeks, as these are biometric features necessary to identify the document holder. You cannot have hair accessories such as headbands or hair scarves (except religious scarves). If you have a fringe that covers your eyes, move it to the side.

Make-up, on the other hand, should reflect your everyday look. So don't worry about eye shadow or eyeliner as you may have problems trying to identify you from the photo. Avoid heavy makeup and high gloss. Moreover, make-up should not mask so-called individual features such as moles, birthmarks, scars, etc.

USCIS passport photo. Most common mistakes

  • Failure to maintain appropriate contrast − overexposed/underexposed photo.
  • The USCIS passport photo is outdated - taken earlier than within 6 months from the date of application.
  • Bad quality − blurry, grainy or pixelated images.
  • Photo printed on photo paper with poor quality.
  • Bad frame − the face in the frame is not between 1 and 1 3/8 inch.
  • The photo does not reflect your true appearance − you have changed a lot since the photo was taken.
  • Selfies – no selfies are allowed as they abrupt the natural face proportion.
  • You are not looking directly at the camera - your eyes are looking to the side.
  • Head tilted - the head must be perfectly in front of the camera.
  • Prescription glasses - from 2016 no prescription glasses are allowed in the USCIS photo.
  • You show your teeth in the USCIS passport photo − don't smile broadly in the photo. You must keep your face neutral.
  • Hair covers the face − the face must be perfectly visible and the hair must not cover any part of it.

How do I take a USCIS photo with a smartphone?

You can take citizenship application photos with a smartphone such as an iPhone or an Android device. Plus, you don't even have to leave the house! Until recently, most of us took photos for documents at a professional photographer, but the development of technology, as well as forced quarantine and isolation, have made us more willing to use our own phones. To make a Citizenship application photo yourself at home, all you need is a smartphone or other device equipped with a digital camera that takes photos in high resolution, which allows you to print them later and attach them to the document application.

Below you can find a guideline on how to take a USCIS passport photo with a smartphone at home:

  1. TRIPOD. Don't take selfies! Selfies will cause your photo to be rejected as they distort the aspect ratio of your face. To take a photo with the phone, equip a tripod and place the phone on it. You can also ask someone from your family for help. Remember that the camera should be at least 15 inches from your face.
  2. LIGHTING. You must ensure that the plan is well lit. To do this, stand in front of the window in the morning. Then there is the best natural light. Make sure that both sides of the face are well lit and that there are no shadows on the cheeks or neck. Moreover, the photo cannot be overexposed or underexposed. Our application / USCIS photo tool will verify the lighting of your photo.
  3. BACKGROUND. You don't need to set any background! You don't have to stand against the wall or hang white sheets. Our app and photo editor will remove the background from your USCIS passport photo in post-production by itself. This is why our USCIS passport photo tool is the best USCIS photo generator.
  4. POSE YOURSELF. Position yourself for the photo according to the USCIS passport photo requirements. We've all listed them above. You can take as many shots as you want and choose the best one. This gives you full control over how you look in your document photos. You can try on different clothes and hairstyles. Don't hesitate! When using PhotoAiD, you only pay for the shot that is ultimately submitted to the application.
  5. LOAD A FILE. Using the PhotoAiD application or pressing the passport photo online tool upload the photo file from your device. Now, wait a moment for the software to perform a photo check. What will we do for you? We will check whether you pose in accordance with the guidelines, whether the USCIS passport photo is properly lit and whether the biometric features of the face are clearly visible. Then the USCIS passport photo will be cropped from the appropriate size and frame, the background will be removed and the finished file will be sent to your email/device.

USCIS photo editor – how does it work?

USCIS photo check

PhotoAiD works as a USCIS photo check & validator. This is possible thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, which scans the photo in a few seconds for the requirements for biometric photos necessary for applying for US citizenship. Artificial intelligence checks whether the biometric features of the face are properly emphasized, whether the face occupies the appropriate part of the frame, whether the mouth is closed and the eyes are open and watery. You can see the irises well, as well as the face oval and the lines of the jaw. Only after the USCIS passport photo has been positively verified, is the program to start further actions. Thanks to this, you can be practically 100% sure that the image prepared with the help of our USCIS photo editor will meet the requirements for USCIS photo.

Photo resizer

For the USCIS photo requirements, the size of the photo is crucial and must be strictly observed. That's why our app works like a photo resizer: it crops your photo to the correct size 2 x 2 inch. In addition, it maintains the square aspect ratio, making the file ready for printing exactly according to government requirements. You don't have to worry about the frame either, because if you take the USCIS passport photo as required, our photo editor will frame the photo correctly.

Background remover

As one of the few photo editors on the market, we also remove the background from photos. It does not matter if you pose in front of a fern or patterned wallpaper at your grandma's house. Our software will accurately cut the background with the photo and insert as required for a given type of document. In the case of a USCIS passport photo, the background will be removed and replaced with a white background which gives a suitable contrast to the foreground.

Last update: 6/7/23

About the document

U.S. Citizenship Application

USCIS is the common name for an application for American citizenship. In fact, however, the name USCIS refers to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government agency that oversees legal immigration to the United States. Another name for this application is US Naturalization Application or US N-400 Form. This is an application that allows people who meet all the necessary requirements to apply for US citizenship. Possession of U.S. citizenship has many benefits.

Only US citizens:

  • can vote in federal elections,
  • can run for federal office (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and for most state and local offices,
  • can serve on a federal jury,
  • can Obtain some government benefits,
  • can Become eligible for federal grants and scholarships,
  • can travel with a U.S. passport,
  • can bring family members to the U.S.,
  • In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.


You can apply for US citizenship in person or by using the mail service. The application and documents should be printed and put in one envelope. Generally, people are born U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or if they are born abroad to U.S. citizens. There are different ways to obtain citizenship depending on your situation. You can become a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization. You may also derive U.S. citizenship as a minor following the naturalization of one or both parents.

1) Naturalization −  is the way that an alien not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. It is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a:

  • lawful permanent resident (LPR) after meeting the requirements,
  • a person married to a U.S. citizen,
  • a person who serves/served in the U.S. Military,
  • child of a U.S. citizen.

In general, you may qualify for naturalization if you are at least 18 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen) and meet all other eligibility requirements.

2) Acquisition − of citizenship is obtained through U.S. citizenship parents either at birth or after birth, but before the age of 18.


To apply for a U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization you must file the N-400 Form (you can file it both online and in-person). Also, all applicants must send the following 3 items with their N-400 form:

1) A photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as “Green Card”).

2) A check or money order for the application fee and the biometric services fee. You must write your Alien Registration Number (A- Number) on the back of the check or money order.

3) 2 identical color copies of the USCIS photo with your name and A-Number wrote lightly in pencil on the back of the photo (only if you reside outside of the U.S.)

Naturalization Fees

Current naturalization fee in total is $725.00. The amount of $640.00 is the fee for filing your naturalization application and $85.00 is the fee for the biometric services. You must send the $725.00 fee with your USCIS application. You must pay this fee with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank payable to the Department of Homeland Security. You may also pay with your credit card using the Authorization for Credit Card Transaction.

Processing time

The naturalization process is long and takes 14 to 20 months. It consists of 5 stages, including preparation, application, biometric meeting, interview and final activities. It ends with the granting of a Naturalization Certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Can I add a photo to the US passport to the Citizenship application?

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Yes, as long as it is up to date as required for document photos. It means that as long as the photo for the US passport is not older than 6 months from the date of applying for citizenship, you can add it to the application.

Are the US passport photo requirements the same as the US passport photo requirements?

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Yes, they are identical. These are universal requirements for biometric photos required for many US visa documents. So if you have an up-to-date (not outdated) passport photo template, you can use it to print your photo for your citizenship application.

What is the size of the head in the USCIS passport photo?

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The head size should be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inch (22 mm to 35 mm) or 50% to 69% of the total height of the image from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

Not any more. Only applicants outside the U.S. must send two color photos with the application. Applicants residing in the U.S. don't need to attach photos. Photos for your citizenship certificate will be done at biometrics appointments.

Before the order to attach photos to an application for US citizenship was lifted, you required 2 photos to be attached. Currently you don't need to attach anything and the photos will be taken at biometrics appointment.

USCIS passport photo is 2 x 2 inch (51 x 51 mm). It also has a square aspect ratio, which means width equals height. The USCIS photo quality is at least 300 dpi and the resolution must be at least 3.5 megapixels which allows you to print the photo in high quality.

Casual outfit but no uniform and nothing eccentric. Also, consider wearing a shirt other than white as it may blend into the background and disturb the necessary contrast between the background and the foreground.

No, all types of glasses are prohibited. You may not wear prescription glasses, tinted glasses or sunglasses in the photo. Only special glasses that are worn, for example, after ophthalmic surgery are allowed.

A light natural smile is generally allowed, but you must not laugh broadly and show your teeth. The face must be as natural as possible and the mouth closed.

Yes, you only need to know the requirements for USCIS passport photos and follow the guidelines. You also need to take care of the lighting and take a high-quality photo. You should use our photo check to make sure that the photo meets the formal requirements.