the United States visa - Digital photograph requirements and size

the United States visa - Digital photograph requirements and size

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Tanel R.

Very easy to use, paid 4.99 for a selfie I took with the app (with white background) and it was accepted for my US visa application.


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Photo for the United States visa - requirements & size

Photo for U.S. visa document
Width: 2 in
Height: 2 in
300 dpi
Image definition parameters
  • Head height: 1.29 in
  • Bottom of the Photo to the Eye Line: 1.18 in
Is it suitable for online submission?
Is it printable?
Background Color

How to make a photo?

Body-camera distance
Body-camera distance
Posture: Straight ahead
Posture: Straight ahead
Posture: Straight ahead
Even lighting on both sides of the face
Even lighting on both sides of the face
Even lighting on both sides of the face

US Visa Photo Size and Requirements

A visa is one of the most essential documents needed to enter the United States, whether moving temporarily or permanently. It tells border officials that the US consulate has deemed you eligible to apply for entry into the country, although it does not guarantee it. The US Visa application process varies depending on which visa you’re applying for, however, there are some common features. The first of these is an application form, which has to be filled out with your details. You’ll also need to take a photo to upload to the application, following the standard guidelines. Following this, you need to schedule a visa appointment, where you are interviewed by US officials to establish some details about your trip, your means and how long you plan to stay. The appointment also involves a medical examination and the presentation of important documents to US border officials. These important documents can include but are not limited to: your application form’s confirmation page, an up-to-date passport and number and a receipt to prove that you have paid your application fee. Of course, for any of the US Visa applications, you will need to be sure to provide your biometric US Visa Photo that meets the requirements, in size and composition, when applying for your United States Visa.

Do Canadians need US Visa?

Most Canadians are exempt from needing a US Visa to enter the US. However, there are still specific situations where Canadian citizens require a US Visa. For example, if you plan to emigrate from Canada to the US, you need to qualify for a visa in the normal manner. In addition, you’ll need a visa if you are a Nonimmigrant travelling to the US for business, for example, as a member of an international company or as a diplomat, a Treaty trader or investor, or the spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident. Canadians will also need to go through the US Customs services if they have prior criminal convictions or have previously been removed from the US. Under the Jay Treaty 1974, First Nations peoples born in Canada may travel freely between Canada and the United States without the need for a visa to immigrate, work, retire, study or invest. To benefit from this scheme, you have to provide sufficient documentation to prove your status as an Indigenous person at the border. This can be either an Indian Status Card, awarded by Indigenous Services Canada, or a letter from your ancestral tribal leader, backed up with records. At the point of entry into the US, Canadians still need to outline their goals for the trip, their travel plans, as well as the intended length of their stay. Failure to disclose such information could result in a permanent ban from the US. Canadians also require passports (for entry at airports) and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative documentation (for entry at seaports and land borders).

US Visa Categories

When you are applying for a United States Visa as a Canadian, it’s important to ensure that you research the different types of visas thoroughly, to make sure you apply for the right one. If you don’t, you risk filling the wrong application form and delaying the entire process. US visas come in two main categories, as follows:

Nonimmigrant Visas

These are for people who only plan to stay in the US temporarily. There are over 20 types of nonimmigrant visas that cover many different reasons for visiting the United States. You have to make sure you pick the right one for you, based on your reasons for travelling to America, or you may be stopped at the border.

  • Study (F or M) and Exchange Visitors (J)
  • Tourism or recreation (in most cases, a B-2 visa)
  • Visiting for Medical Treatment in the US (B-2)
  • Diplomats and Government workers (A)
  • Business (usually B-1)
  • Temporary employment in the United States (requires a US work visa)
  • TN Visas - A type of visa that Canadians have access to as part of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It allows Canadian citizens to temporarily live and work in the US, in one of 63 professions, including accountancy and psychology. Unlike other visas in this category, TN Visas do not require sponsorship, making it cheaper for both employees and employers. Can be acquired on arrival.

Immigrant Visas

These are for Canadians who intend to immigrate to the United States permanently. Immigrant visas are usually sponsored by employers or relatives and can be available for many different reasons. As with Nonimmigrant visas, it is very important to pick the right one for your situation. These can include: 

  • Employment-based immigration - particularly key workers and professionals.
  • Family - aimed at certain relatives of existing US citizens or permanent residents and green-card holders.
  • Adoption - Children adopted from other countries by US citizens qualify for these visas.
  • Diversity Visas - An annual lottery in which 50,000 citizens of nations that don’t supply many immigrants to the US are randomly granted “green cards” which allow for permanent residency in the USA.

US Visa Photo Requirements

All United States visas require the submission of a biometric photograph, which is used by American border agencies to verify your identity. The US Government has a stringent set of requirements for these photos that must be met if your application is to be accepted. Immigrant visas require two identical physical copies of your photo to be sent, while Nonimmigrant and Diversity Visas can upload digital files for the online application.

US Visa Photo Size

American Visa photos need to be 5cm x 5cm in size, with your head taking up 22-35mm of the height from chin to crown. A good guide for this is that your eyes need to be around 56-69% of the way up the photo. You need to keep your face as central in the photo as possible. Digital files need to be in square aspect ratio and should measure between 600 x 600 and 1200 x 1200 pixels in size.

US Visa Photo Clothing 

The US Government recommends that, in the photo, you should wear clothes that you would be likely to wear every day. You should not wear uniforms unless, for example, it is part of religious clothing that you would be likely to wear daily.

You should not wear a hat or other forms of headwear in your United States Visa photo unless it holds a religious purpose. When wearing religious headwear in your photo, you should make sure your face can be seen, and that it isn’t casting shadows. Headphones and similar devices are not accepted in US Visa photos and should be removed. Only hearing devices are allowed in the photos.

Glasses are not allowed in photos and should be removed if possible. If they cannot be removed for medical reasons, that’s fine, but this should be accompanied by a doctor’s note. If this is the case, you have to make sure your glasses do not obscure your face in the picture. Avoiding glare and shadows is essential, as well as making sure the frame doesn’t cover your eyes.

US Visa Photo Facial Expression

When taking your US Visa photo as a Canadian, you should ensure you are standing directly face-on to the camera, and that no shadows are cast on your face that may obscure your features. You should also have both eyes open and maintain a neutral facial expression (no smiling!), with a closed mouth.

Other US Visa Photo Requirements

  • The background should be plain, and either white or pale. There should also be a small white border along one side of the picture, a quarter of an inch thick will be sufficient.
  • The photo itself must be reasonably up to date, i.e. taken in the last six months, so it represents your appearance as accurately as possible.
  • US Visa photos need to be taken in colour.
  • Don’t use a digital scan of an existing document, for example, a Canadian passport.

Most Common Mistakes on US Visa Photos

When applying for your US Visa as a Canadian, your photo must meet the requirements outlined above, or it will risk rejection, making the process even longer. To help you avoid this, we’ve made a list of what to avoid when taking that all-important photo. Focus on getting these right, and you should be fine.

  • Shadows on your face, or red-eye effect in the image.
  • Non-neutral facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning.
  • Tilting your head, in any direction. 
  • Non-neutral, cluttered backgrounds.
  • Head off-centre
  • Filters in the photo.

How can I take my own US Visa Photo?

Taking a visa photo can seem a bit daunting. Don’t worry, we’ve got everything you need to take the perfect US visa photo right here, allowing you to prepare your biometric photo from anywhere you happen to be, even from your own home. It saves you time, travelling and money, as we charge at least 30% less than a photo booth or a professional photographer. All you have to do is upload your photo to our ‘Passport Photo Online’ website or our app, and our software will give you a photo that fits all the requirements in seconds.

Our photo editing software will make sure to inform you of any reasons that your US visa photo could be rejected and will edit it until the requirements are met. We guarantee acceptance, so if you get rejected, we’ll reimburse you for twice what you paid for the photo. Our photo tool app makes it even faster to get that perfect photo, only needing your phone to create a professional quality image.

US Visa Photo Tool

When you come to the task of taking your US Visa photo as a Canadian, it’s important not to be overwhelmed by the requirements the US Visa application process sets out for you. Our app ‘Passport Photo Online’ will make getting that photo an easy and fast process. All that you need to do is get a photo of yourself, then upload it to our photo editing website. Our photo tool will do the rest, making sure all of the requirements are met and helping you fix anything that needs to be changed.

Using artificial intelligence, our app and website alter your photo until it fits all the criteria, making it guaranteed to be passed by the US Government. For example, the software will crop and resize your photos to make sure they’re the correct size for a United States Visa. It will also register and report mistakes in the photo that need to be changed, like lighting or obscured facial features. We can deal with the background, too. Our software has a background remover function that replaces any background with a plain, white setup that’s perfect for the US Visa application.

Once you have your perfect photo, we can either provide you with a digital file that you can upload to any United States Visa online application, or we can post physical copies to your home address, perfect for documents requiring physical photos like the US Immigrant Visas. Remember, digital files can also be given to local photo printing services, so you’re never far away from getting a physical copy of your photo.

US Visa Photo App

Our photo editor mobile app is available on the iOS App Store, along with the Google Play Store, giving you the flexibility to create your perfect visa photo on your iPhone, Android, tablet or another device. The website’s features can all be accessed on the app, so you have everything you need, for whenever you want it! Take a new photo on the app, or simply upload a new one and you can get it edited to fit the specifications of your US Visa so that it is guaranteed to be accepted by the United States authorities. Just get our app, then you can take your picture.

About the document

US Visa Photo

A US Visa allows citizens outside the United States of America to immigrate to the country. USVisas are distributed in Canada by the US Embassy in Ottawa, along with their 7 consulates across the country, but the final decision of whether or not your visa is accepted, and therefore whether or not you are allowed to enter the country, ultimately lies with the customs officials who receive the visa when you arrive. You have to obtain your visa from the proper authorities before you travel, to make sure you aren’t turned away at the border.

Who Requires a US Visa for travel to the USA? 

The United States’ unique variety of culture, business geography and languages make it a particularly popular destination for travel, both for leisure holidays and conducting business. Visas are an important part of travelling to the United States, and the United States carries a very efficient visa system to process the millions of travellers who pass through their borders every year, with over 200 types of visas used to codify all of these visitors.

These visas are divided into Immigrant and Nonimmigrant visas, but there are a large number of subcategories within these two, containing all the different reasons people could have for travelling to the United States. Before travelling to the US, it’s important to take the time to read the information laid on on the US government websites to determine which visa you’ll need, as different visa categories may have slightly different requirements in your application. All Canadian consulates, and the embassy, subscribe to these requirements, so be sure to be thorough. The vast majority of people need a visa to enter the United States, however, the USA’s foreign policy has laid out several key exceptions.

Along with citizens of Bermuda, Canadians carry exemptions from visas in the vast majority of cases. The circumstances where Canadians need visas have been outlined above, and the Embassy website will provide further clarification if needed. Outside of these two, the Visa Waiver Program, which extends to 39 countries around the world, allows travellers from these nations to enter the United States for 90 days without a visa. After 90 days, you would still need to request a visa to stay in the country.

Visa Application Requirements

The process of obtaining a US Visa in Canada depends on which type of visa you’re applying for, as there are differences between the application process for Nonimmigrant and Immigrant visas. Despite this, some commonalities can be seen. 

First, you will need to apply online with the US embassy to schedule your visa appointment. The Canadian US Embassy is based in Ottawa, and there are seven smaller consulates based across the country. The six larger consulate-generals are based in Vancouver, Quebec, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Halifax, and can process visa applications. Winnipeg has a smaller consulate, but their roles are predominantly outsourced to the Calgary Consulate, the nearest of the six consulate-generals. The consulates are divided across the Canadian provinces, so you should research in advance which is nearest to you, as, provided you are between the ages of 14 and 79, you will have to appear in person at one of these consulates for an interview. Outside of that age bracket, the Canadian authorities will allow you to apply by courier.

You will then need to fill out a United States Visa Application form (again, this will depend on which type of visa, but is generally DS-160 for a Nonimmigrant visa and DS-260 for an Immigrant one), and have it ready for your visa appointment. The form predominantly consists of writing down personal information, including your address, marital status and previous criminal convictions. You will also need your photo for this bit, so make sure you have that ready. The USA tends to be strict on their photo regulations, so make sure your US Visa photo is up to standard.

The next step is to pay your Visa fees, which will vary in amount depending on which visa you will be applying for. 

Once your application has been sent off, you can track your US visa status through contacting the Embassy or consulate in Canada that is dealing with your application or, where applicable, through the US Visa Bulletin, a monthly publication that outlines all the green-card applications that can move forward.

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