The United States Visa - Digital Photo

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The United States Visa - Digital Photo
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Artificial Intelligence will check your photo, crop it to the right size and remove the background.

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Expert verification

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

Digital or printed photos

Digital or printed photos

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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.

Photo for the United States visa - requirements & size

Photo for U.S. Visa Document
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
Is it printable?
Background Color
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More about The United States Visa 2x2 Inches (51x51 MM) - Requirements

U.S. 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 U.S. consulate has deemed you eligible to apply for entry into the country, although it does not guarantee it. The U.S. visa application process varies depending on which visa you’re applying for, however, there are some common features. The first of these is the application form, which has to be filled out with your details. You’ll also need to take a U.S. visa photo to attach to the application, following the standard guidelines. After this, you’ll have to schedule an appointment for your visa interview with U.S. 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 U.S. border officials. These important documents may include, but are not limited to: your application form’s confirmation page, an up-to-date passport, and the number and receipt to prove that you have paid your application fee. Of course, all U.S. visa applicants need to provide their biometric U.S. visa photo that meets the requirements in terms of size and composition, when applying for a United States visa.

Do Canadians need a U.S. visa?

Most Canadians are exempt from needing a U.S. visa to enter the United States. However, there are still specific situations where Canadian citizens will require a U.S. visa. For example, if you plan to emigrate from Canada to the U.S., you need to qualify for a visa in the normal manner. In addition, you’ll need a nonimmigrant visa if you are traveling to the U.S. for business, for example, as a member of an international company or as a diplomat, a Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor, or the spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Canadians will also need to go through the U.S. Customs services if they have any prior criminal convictions or have previously been removed from the U.S. 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. In order to benefit from this opportunity, 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 U.S., Border Protection officers will still ask Canadian foreign nationals to outline their goals for the trip, their travel plans, as well as the intended length of their stay. An individual’s failure to disclose such information could result in the Department of Homeland Security to impose on them a permanent ban from the United States. Canadians also require passports (for entry at airports) and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative documentation (for entry at seaports and land borders).

U.S. visa categories

When 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 out the wrong application form and delaying the entire process. U.S. visas come in two main categories, as follows:

Nonimmigrant visas

These are for people who only plan to stay in the U.S. 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 traveling 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 U.S. (B-2)
  • Diplomats and Government workers (A)
  • Business (usually B-1)
  • Temporary employment in the United States (requires a U.S. 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 U.S., 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. This type of U.S. visa 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 U.S. citizens or permanent residents and Green-Card holders.
  • Adoption - Children adopted from other countries by U.S. 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 U.S. are randomly granted “Green Cards”, which allow for permanent residency in the USA.

U.S. visa photo requirements

All United States visas require the submission of a biometric photograph, which is used by U.S. Border Protection to verify your identity. The United States 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 U.S. visa photo to be sent, while for Nonimmigrant and Diversity Visas you can upload digital files as part of the online application.

U.S. visa photo size

The photo requirements for a U.S. visa call for a 2” x 2” (5cm x 5cm) photograph, with your head taking up 1” and 1 ⅜” (22-35mm) of its 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 must be in a square aspect ratio and should measure between 600 x 600 and 1200 x 1200 pixels in size.

U.S. visa photo attire

The U.S. Government recommends that you wear clothes that you’re likely to wear on an everyday basis. Uniforms aren’t allowed in your photo for a U.S. visa.

You should not wear a hat or other forms of headwear in your U.S. 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 U.S. visa photos and should be removed. Only hearing devices are allowed. Whether a garment or head covering is worn for religious or medical purposes, you’ll need to provide a signed statement from an authorized official to prove it.

Glasses are not allowed in photos and should be removed if possible. If they cannot be removed for medical reasons, this should also be accompanied by a signed 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.

U.S. visa photo facial expression

When taking your U.S. visa photo, 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 your mouth closed.

Other U.S. visa photo requirements

  • The background should be plain - 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.
  • U.S. 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 in U.S. visa photos

When applying for your U.S. Visa, 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, frowning, or making the “duck face”.
  • Tilting your head in any direction. 
  • Non-neutral, cluttered backgrounds.
  • Head positioned off-center
  • Filters in the photo.

How can I take my own U.S. visa photo?

Taking a visa photo can seem a bit daunting. Don’t worry, we’ve got everything you need to take the perfect U.S. 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 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 your picture gets 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 requiring your phone to create a professional quality image.

U.S. visa photo - online tool

When you come to the task of taking your U.S. visa photo, it’s important not to be overwhelmed by the requirements that the U.S. visa application process sets forth for you. Our ‘Passport Photo Online’ app will make getting that photo an easy and fast process. All you need to do is take 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 while 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, guaranteeing that it will pass the U.S. Government visa requirements. 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 send physical copies to your home address, perfect for documents requiring physical photos like the U.S. 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.

Our photo editor mobile app is available in the iOS App Store and Google Play, giving you the flexibility to create your perfect visa photo on your iPhone, Android, tablet, or other device.

Last update: 2023-03-24

About the document

A U.S. visa allows citizens outside the United States of America to immigrate to the country. U.S. visas are distributed in Canada by the U.S. 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 customs officials who are presented 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 U.S. Visa for travel to the USA? 

The United States’ unique variety of culture, geography, and languages makes it a particularly popular destination for travel, both for business and leisure. Visas are an important part of traveling to the United States, and the U.S. government conducts very efficient visa services to process millions of international travelers who pass through the 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 may have for traveling to the United States. Before embarking on a journey to the U.S., it’s important to take the time to read the information provided on the U.S. government websites to determine which visa you’ll need, as different visa categories may have slightly different requirements. 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 a 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 the 90 days, you would need a visa to stay in the country.

Visa application requirements

The process of obtaining a U.S. 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 U.S. embassy to schedule your visa appointment. The U.S. embassy in Canada is based in Ottawa, and there are seven smaller consulates located 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 you’re interested in, but in general it’s the 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 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 U.S. visa photo is up to standard.

The next step is to pay your visa fees, which will vary in amount depending on the type of visa. 

Once your application has been mailed, you can track your U.S. visa status through contacting the embassy or consulate in Canada that is handling your application or, where applicable, through the U.S. Visa Bulletin - a monthly publication that outlines all the Green-Card applications that can move forward.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

What is the U.S. visa photo size in pixels?

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The U.S. visa photo size in pixels should be in a square aspect ratio and should measure between 600 x 600 and 1200 x 1200.

How can I take a U.S. visa photo with my iPhone?

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You can take a visa photo with your iPhone with the help of a tripod positioned directly in front of you so that the camera captures your face straight on, or ask a friend to take the photo for you!

How to get a U.S. visa photo?

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There are many ways to obtain a U.S. visa photo, for example, in a photography studio, photo booth, or drugstore. If you’re looking for the easiest and fastest way to get your U.S. visa photo, do it yourself from the comfort of your home using only your smartphone and our photo editor app with a compliance guarantee.

The U.S. visa photo size is 2” x 2” (5 cm x 5 cm) and the background should be plain white, or a very light/pale one.

Yes, you can absolutely take your U.S. visa photo at home - all you need is your smartphone and some good lighting.

If a beard is part of your regular look, then you can definitely have it in your visa photo.

While jewelry is not allowed in visa photos or any official document photos, a pair of small, delicate earrings is acceptable.

Your face should take up from 50% to 69% of your visa photo.