UK Driving Licence Photo
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UK Driving Licence Digital Photo - Size & Requirements
Width: 35 mm
Height: 45 mm
Head height: 32.8 mm
Top of the Photo to Top of the Hair: 4.9 mm
How to prepare yourself?
Distance from the camera
Take the photo from a distance of about 20 inches from your face. Ideally, the photo should be taken by another person.
Face in front of the camera
Place your face in front of the lens and keep a neutral expression on your face. Hold the camera at face height.
Just stand facing a light source such as an exposed window. Don't worry about the background.
UK driving licence photo guidelines
To legally drive a car in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you will need a driving licence - a document which authorises you to operate motor vehicles on highways and other public roads.
This is a credit card-sized document with a biometric photo of its holder, containing their personal data and information about the category of vehicles that the bearer is authorised to drive. Do you know what the requirements are for a United Kingdom driving licence photo?
Photo for a driving licence in the UK
When you apply for a driving licence in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you'll need to provide a photograph which must meet the requirements set by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (in England, Scotland and Wales) or Driver & Vehicle Agency (in Northern Ireland).
There is no requirement that states that you need to take the picture professionally, so you are allowed to take it yourself, at home, with the assistance of a tripod or a friend. We can assure you that you are definitely able to take the photo with a smartphone, tablet or a digital camera.
Remember, this picture must follow specific guidelines regarding the size, cropping, view and composition. You need to know which items (e.g. glasses, headwear, headphones etc.) are prohibited in the photo and some other details. We have gathered all of the necessary information and presented it in an easy to read article on the UK driving licence photo guidelines. After reading our article you will know:
- how to take a correct photo at home,
- the required size of the photo,
- how to pose and the required facial expression,
- background colour requirements,
- how easy it is to take a good photo with a smartphone,
- how to use an online driving licence photo tool,
- how to save money and time taking a photo to get a driving licence.
The validity of a UK driving licence photo
Your photo must have been taken recently and the image must represent your current appearance. This means the photo cannot have been taken more than a month before you submit your driving licence application. You can use a passport photo as long as it is no older than one month old..
The good news is that your photo for your driving licence may also be used for other documents such as passports, visas, licences etc. as many times as you want. If you use Passport Photo Online, the UK driving licence photo generator, you can have the finished product sent directly to your email. The picture will be saved in JPEG format, and you can upload it to any online application or even print it if you wish.
UK driving licence photo size and cropping
There is only one correct size for this type of photograph: 35mmx45 mm or 3.5cmx4.5cm or 1.38 x 1.77 inches.
The image of your head (without your neck and the upper part of your shoulders) must measure between 29 mm and 34 mm high. Your head must be positioned in the central part of the image and there must be 3-5 mm of space between the top of your head and the upper edge of the photo. This includes the hair, so if you have a luxuriant hairstyle, make sure that this requirement is satisfied.
If you are unsure how to resize and crop your picture, use Passport Photo Online, a photo generator that is a dedicated tool designed to help users with their passport, visa or driving licence photos.
UK driving licence photo - background
The background in biometric photos must be cream or light grey, always in one colour and with no shadows. The background must be plain and free of patterns. No other people or items must be visible in your photo. How to be sure that the background is correct?
Download Passport Photo Online background removing photo app and remove any unsuitable background. You can change it into a light, plain one in 3 seconds!
UK driving licence photo originality
The photo that is to be used for official documents must be original. But what does this requirement mean?
All it means is that the picture cannot be a photocopy or a cut-out from a larger image. For example, some candidates try to zoom in on their holiday photos, cut out their head and try to attach it as a driving licence picture. This doesn’t work. You have to take an original photograph of your face if you want to attach the image to an application form.
Moreover, the “originality” requirement also means that the UK driving licence picture must not be altered with Photoshop or any other softwares. Of course, we all like to look good in our photos, but every picture that is used on official documents is checked by artificial intelligence and if the tool detects any kind of alteration on your face, the authorities will reject the photo because of the risk of identity theft. So, do not retouch your picture at all and do not use any filters.
Posing and facial expression in a UK driving licence photo
In order to maintain security and protect you from identity theft, the photo in the document must be biometric and meet some rules about how to pose in this type of picture.
The camera lens must be positioned at eye level and your head must be situated centrally in the image. The picture must be a close-up and a front facing view only.
In your photo, you are required to:
- be facing forwards and looking straight at the camera,
- stay straight (head not tilted, shoulders not twisted),
- have a neutral facial expression - no smile or grimaces,
- keep your mouth closed - showing teeth is not allowed,
- keep your eyes open and with no exaggeration.
Quality of the photos used for a driving licence in UK
Your photo that is to be included with the application form must be printed to professional standards - using photo-quality paper that is undamaged and without any creases or tears.
Moreover, your photo must be:
- in natural colours (not black and white or with colour filters),
- in a digital version ready to print and at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall,
- sharp, clear and in focus,
- well exposed (not underlit or overlit),
- in clear contrast to the background.
Glasses in a United Kingdom driving licence photo
You are allowed to wear glasses in your driving licence photo in the United Kingdom. However, you are required to ensure that their frames do not obscure your eyes and do not cast any shadows on your face. You must also control the light so that they do not give off any glare. The glasses must be transparent and your pupils must be clearly visible.
Head coverings and clothing in a driving licence photo in the UK
If you wear a head covering as a part of your religious attire it may be worn in a picture that is used on a driving licence in the United Kingdom. It may be, for example, a hijab, turban, yarmulke etc. but not a niqab, because the head covering must not obscure any part of your face and must not cast a shadow on your skin or eyes. Other headwear such as caps, hats or headbands are strictly forbidden.
For proper contrast it is best to wear a shirt, and headgear if you wear it, in a colour that contrasts to the background. The only other rule regarding clothing is that you can’t wear uniforms.
Facial piercing and jewellery in UK driving licence photos
You do not need to remove facial piercings and jewellery while taking a photo for your United Kingdom driving licence, as long as they don’t obscure any part of your face. You must also make sure there isn’t any reflection from your rings or studs.
Be aware that big or shiny earrings may obscure the edges of your face, so consider taking them off before taking a picture. You must also remove any headbands or large, decorative hair accessories.
Common mistakes in driving licence photos in the UK
Nowadays we like to do almost everything via the Internet. Due to pandemic restrictions we can't, or don’t want to, leave our houses. Taking a photo for any official document at home is easier, cheaper, and lets people save time and energy, which makes it a popular choice around the world.
We have prepared a list of the most common mistakes people make when taking these pictures. Now, you will be able to avoid a situation where your photo is rejected and you need to start the application process all over again, from the beginning.
Remember that your picture MUST NOT BE:
- a copy or a clipping from another image,
- taken over 1 month ago,
- altered by computer software,
- overexposed or underexposed,
- printed on a home printer and/or on low-quality paper,
- of bad quality, damaged, blurred etc.
The most commonly made mistakes that people make when taking their UK driving licence photos are:
- tilting their heads,
- looking sideways,
- smiling and showing teeth,
- having their hair or headwear obscuring their faces.
Also, don’t forget to check the size specifications and make sure the background colour is correct. You can use a smart resizing and photo cropping app, that is available in the Google PlayStore and the Apple App Store.
Passport Photo Online for UK driving licence photo
Do you want to be sure that your UK driving licence photo is 100% correct? Download an online photo App that will help you to resize your image to the required size of 35mmx45mm and adjust the size of your head and crop the photo accordingly. This tool also adjusts the background to ensure it is correct and meets the requirements, and it verifies if everything is as required. Once you order the photo on our website, you have a guarantee of approval by authorities.
We provide photos for IDs from all over the world. You’ll find the one you are looking for!
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