South African ID Photo

South African ID Photo

Prepare a perfect document photo with guaranteed acceptance

What do you get?

You save time and money - take a document photo conveniently without leaving home

Digital photo within a few seconds or printouts shipping to your home
Professional service
Over 1,000,000 people have used our services within 7 years.
Guarantee of acceptance
If your photo is rejected by authorities, we will refund you twice the price you paid
Satisfaction guarantee
Take as many photo shots as you want - you pay only when you are satisfied

What do our users write about us?

The reviews come from our customer satisfaction surveys.

Andrea Wilson

A really easy format to get passport pictures. Very fast response to my questions via email.

Ann Y.

Excellent service. Very good software that enhanced our photos. They also did a manual check and had me redo one of the pictures for free. I have only used online passport photos for more than 10 years. This is by far the best.

Pauline Jackson

Can't thank these people enough, they have gone above and beyond today to produce a lovely passport photograph from my poor photograph. Thank you for all your efforts. I would recommend this company good value, professional and kind.

National Geographic
Puls Biznesu

South African ID Photo - Size and Requirements

South African ID Photo
Width: 35 mm
Height: 45 mm
600 dpi
Image definition parameters
  • Head height: 35 mm
  • Top of the Photo to Top of the Hair: 3 mm
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

South African ID Photo Guidelines

Not just any photo is valid for a South African ID card. The photo you submit for your South African ID card must be a professional photo that presents your face in such a way that it can be easily recognized as a biometric photo suitable for identification. By biometric photo we mean a photo that comprises only your head and upper shoulders from the front, without any alterations such as objects, shadows or reflections that would make it difficult to identify your face. For the South African passport this type of photo is also used, the requirements of which will be listed below:

General Requirements & Size for the South African ID card Photo

An essential part of any identification document is the photograph, whether in South Africa or in the rest of the world. We will help you generate the photo for your South African ID book by providing you with a number of tips and guidelines. Below we will give you information on the size of a South African ID photo, and a list of requirements to consider when taking a biometric photo. 

  • Not more than one (1) month old 
  • 35mm in width and 45mm in height
  • close-up of your head and top of your shoulders so that your face takes up 70 – 80% of the photograph 
  • The photo must be of high quality with no ink marks or creases and not damaged
  • The photographs must show you looking directly at the camera
  • Have appropriate brightness and contrast
  • Be printed on high-quality photo paper
  • The photo should show your natural color
  • Must show your eyes open and clearly visible - no hair across your face w show you facing square onto the camera, not looking over one shoulder (portrait style) or tilted
  • Show both edges of your face clearly 
  • Should be taken with a light grey or plain cream-colored background 
  • Should be taken with uniform lighting and not show shadows or flash reflections on your face and no red-eye
  • Must show you alone (no chair backs, toys or other people visible)

Technical Requirements for the South African ID Photo

  • Color: South African ID photo must be in color.
  • Position and Size of the Head: a close-up of your head and top of your shoulders so that your face takes up 70 – 80% of the photograph
  • Resolution (in pixels): your ID photo needs to have a 1200dpi resolution or better
  • Size: South African ID photos size should have the generic biometric photo size of 45 x 35mm

Shadows and colors on the photo

The ID photo should not be overexposed or underexposed, because it would not reflect your natural hair and skin color. If you use daylight you will get the best results to eliminate any possible shadows. 

These are our tips:

  • To take the picture, stand in front of a window.
  • Position yourself 2 meters away from the camera.
  • Make sure the light is evenly distributed on your face.
  • Turn off the camera flash, as it could create a "red-eye" effect that could cause your image to be rejected.

Wearing headgear, makeup, or jewelry on a South African ID Photo

You can use make-up and even headgears (in some particular cases) for your official biometric photo for the South African ID.

However, you have to pay attention, as excessive make-up may cause your ID photo to be rejected. In the case of headgear, headgear is only approved for religious purposes. Wearing a cap or other form of headgear that covers your face, other than religious headgear, is prohibited according to the biometric photo specifications.

Your ears must be fully visible. If you wear an excessive amount of jewelry, your application for identification may be rejected.

Glasses or sunglasses on a South African ID Photo, are they allowed?

Sunglasses are absolutely prohibited in ID photos. While regular glasses are permitted, you must ensure that they do not obscure your eyes or facial features. Although South African biometric photo regulations do not totally prohibit glasses in photos, we advise you to remove your everyday glasses when having your photo taken, to be 100% sure that your ID photos will not be rejected by the South African authorities. 

Hair and beard on a South African ID photo

If you have voluminous hair, we recommend that you make sure it goes beyond the margins of the photo. Another hairstyle to be careful with when having your ID photo taken is your bangs, you should make sure that no hair covers your face as this could be grounds for rejection of the photograph.

There are no specific mentions of beards in the biometric photo requirements. Therefore, if you wear a beard on a daily basis, you would not need to shave it off to have your South African ID photo taken. 

Clothing on your South African ID photo

You can dress casually or smartly, you can opt for anything. As it may cause your application to be rejected, we recommend that you do not wear light-colored or uniform clothing.

As this is an official photo, which will identify you for 10 years, we advise you not to wear a tank top, as you will look naked, and this is not the smartest choice for a photo that you will show over and over again.

Recent changes in appearance and the validity of the South African ID photo 

For the South African identification document, the required photos must portray your current appearance. In the event that you already have a photo template and wish to use it for your application, you may of course do so, but you should note that the image selected cannot be more than one month old. 

Nevertheless, if your appearance has changed drastically in this period of time, you will need to submit a new image. Neither cutting or coloring your hair nor growing a beard requires a new photo from you. In the case of children and adolescents under the age of 16, it is not necessary to take a new biometric photo image, even if they change quite a bit as they grow older during the validity period of the document. However, a new photo is required in certain situations:

  • You have undergone gender change.
  • You have had facial plastic surgery performed.
  • You have experienced a permanent facial deformation.
  • You got or removed tattoos / facial piercings.
  • You have lost/gained a considerable amount of weight.

Most common reasons South African ID Photos could get rejected

Having your ID application rejected just because your photo is not correct is very frustrating. It takes a lot of time to plan a DNI application, and finding out that you have to go through the whole process again because your photos have been rejected is not a pleasant thing. Here is a list of the most common reasons why South African ID photos are rejected:

  • Uneven lighting: shadows should be avoided to accurately see your facial features in the biometric photo. The light should be evenly distributed on your face, otherwise, this situation will cause your photo to be rejected.
  • The "red-eye" effect: if you take the photo with flash, your eyes will appear red, which will cause your photo to be rejected. Make sure your pupils are clearly visible, that the light is normal and that your eyes and face shape are well defined to avoid this circumstance.
  • Having your head tilted or not looking directly at the camera. Your photo will be rejected if you take a profile shot or any other photo in which your head is tilted and your eyes are not looking directly into the camera lens.
  • Digital retouching to change or enhance your facial features is prohibited. Therefore, it is forbidden to use image editing programs such as Photoshop to adjust your appearance or use a filter on the official photo - it must show your true appearance and your true colors :) 
  • Smile or make a funny face: Unfortunately, your ID photo will be rejected if you smile. You should look like the people in a mugshot - neutral/serious: it is desirable to look as knowledgeable and respectable as possible.
  • ID photos that have staple holes, are wrinkled or have any other markings will also not be accepted.

Online photo tool for South African ID photo

South African ID photos have to be perfect, otherwise, the official authorities will refuse your South African ID photo if it does not meet all the official requirements: no objects should appear in the background, your face has to be in good focus and the light has to be on both sides of your face. These are just some of the specifications that, before being submitted, your ID photo must follow. You don't need to be an expert in photo editing applications, with our Passport Photo Online photo editing application, you will see that it is very easy to get your South African ID photo. We will crop the image to the size according to the official requirements, remove the background and prepare a printable South Africa ID photo template for you!

Generator App for your South African ID Photo

Congratulations! You've read all the text above, and now you're probably dreaming of getting the perfect picture for your ID at home. Or outside, maybe even in your office. All you have to do is download our application and you will see that it is very easy to make your ideal ID picture, you will have it in seconds! Your job is just to look decent and meet the requirements mentioned above, we will crop, resize and take care of the rest of your image!

South African ID photo crop and resize tool

The appropriate size for a biometric photo for the South African ID card is 35 x 45 mm. The best thing, however, is that you don't even need to remember it. Once you have chosen the document you want, the artificial intelligence that powers our online photo editor will take care of getting the right dimensions, cropping and resolution. You just have to focus on taking the best photo of yourself. You only pay for the one you choose. All other photos are tested for free.

Tool for background removal

Whatever background color you need, our smart photo tool is capable of producing it. It doesn't matter if the background is a wall with shadows or shapes, or if other people or objects are visible in your frame. The online photo generator takes care of all challenges. In a matter of seconds, you will see that the background will be clear, white and valid in your ID photo.

Validating Software for the South African ID Photo

You do not need to ask a licensed photographer for a separate tool, nor do you need to search the Internet to be absolutely sure that the photo accompanying your ID card is correct and that the authorities will approve it. Our ID photo generator is a complete tool that will give you 100% satisfaction. All photos are checked by an artificial intelligence system, and you can be sure that it is accurate if it appears as correct. If your photo certified by our authentication tool is not accepted in any way (which never happens, but we want you to know), just let us know and we will refund your money. But even that may not happen. We give you a 100% approval guarantee.

Photo Template for your Official Photos

Once your photo is produced and accepted, you can order the digital version to be sent to your email address. This way you have the possibility to print it at copy shops or even nearby pharmacies. Your photo will be ready to attach to the application form if you submit it online. You can use one photo as many times as you want.

Passport Photo Online - App for Android and iPhone

Our Passport Photo Online app can be used on any operating system. As the app is available for both iOS and Android, you can download it from the Google Play Store of Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC, Lenovo and Sony or from the AppStore of your iPhone.

Why use an Online Photo Editor for your Biometric Photo?

It may happen that you do not want any help with taking your own ID photo. Nevertheless, resizing and cropping the frame, as well as getting the background right, takes time and, in certain cases, is overwhelming. And likewise, you're still not sure if it's all right in the end. So we would like to offer you our help. With our photo app, the picture will be:

  • created with the required background for a biometric photo
  • perfectly sized and also cropped (if required)
  • accepted by both embassies or consulates, as well as South African authorities
  • 100% satisfying as you have the opportunity to take one million shots if you need them and choose your favorite one!

Of course, you can check for a photo booth or book a visit to a professional photography studio, but do you really want to spend your time and resources on something you can afford for a fraction of the cost and in just a minute? In addition, we are going through challenging times, we need to maintain social distance, which suggests that going to the mall or city center to sit in a line and wait is not the best option.

The option of looking for a photo booth or booking a visit to a professional photo studio is always present, but, given the current situation, we need to keep our social distance, which suggests that going to the mall or downtown to sit in a queue and wait is not the best option. Besides, do you really want to spend your time and resources on something you can pay for at a fraction of the cost and in just a minute? 

Take the right South African ID card photo from home via the internet and feel safe... No matter how many photos you take, in the end you only pay for the one you order. You can try different outfits, make-up and hairstyles, take lots of photos and play with lights. And you will always have the guarantee of biometric photo acceptance. Sounds good, right?

Frequently Asked Questions

💡 What are the requirements for a South African ID Book photo?

Photos must be taken within the last month. The photos must be taken against a light grey or plain cream-coloured background. Applicants must show a neutral facial expression (no smiling, mouth closed) and look straight at the camera. The photos must measure 35 mm X 45 mm in size.

💡 Where can I get a South African ID Book photo taken?

You can take your South African ID Book photo online using our tool! No need to find a photobooth or to book an appointment at a photography shop, simply use our app and get your ID Book photo at a small price and in no time.

💡 What is the size of a ID Book photo in South Africa?

35mm in width and 45mm in height

You can ask a friend or family member to take the photo or use a tripod and place it approximately 3 feet (1 meter) away from you. Follow our guidelines regarding the rules for a South African ID Book photo and strike a pose! Then our app will change the background and resize your picture so it fits the South African requirements and boom! You will receive your photo on your email address.

Our tool is based on artificial intelligence - the same as used by government offices, embassies and consulates to verify photos of applicants. If you want to be sure that the photo attached to your application form is correct, just let our online photo app verify it!

Yes, glasses are allowed, but it would be better if you can take them off. If you keep them, make sure your pupils are clearly visible and that the frame is not hiding your facial features or creating any shadow or reflection.

Of course! Use a tripod or ask a friend to take a picture of you and upload the picture in a ID Book photo maker online!

You should avoid white t-shirts or light-coloured shirts since they would not create any contrast with the background, and don't wear tank tops or off the shoulder tops because you would look naked on an official document, which is not a smart choice :)

Sure! We recommend to wear light makeup, so simply avoid dark lipsticks and opt for something like gloss.

You can do it yourself, using only a digital camera or your smartphone. Prepare your ideal ID Book photo with an online ID photo maker!

You don't have to do it! If you use our ID Book photo maker you don't have to take care of this, simply select the document you wish to apply for, upload a picture of you and the artificial intelligence will take take care of the rest.

The South African ID book is free when issued for the first time. The South African authorities do not require any payment when a citizen applies for a South African ID book.

To get a ID Book, you must submit the following documentation to their nearest Department of Home Affairs office or South African mission or consulate abroad: a Form BI-9, completed in black ink, a certified copy of the Birth certificate or reference book or a copy of the old Transkei, Bophutatswana, Venda or Ciskei homelands identity or travel documents, and two identical, colour photographs (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally however colour photographs are still needed for temporary IDs).

Most of the time, it's when people are smiling, not looking directly into the camera lens, a photo of the wrong colour and pictures that are not well exposed (shadows are visible).

Thanks to our app Passport Photo Online, it is no longer important to look for the closest photo studio or photo booth. Wherever and whenever you want, you can take a photo of your ID or any other official document: it may be at home, in your office or in your garden. All you need is a camera and our online biometric picture maker application is available for free, and your South African ID photo will be ready in no time!

Our Artificial Intelligence tool will ensure that your picture is accurate and legitimate so that it is 100% approved by the authorities. If your photo gets rejected for some reason, we will refund your money.

Headgear for religious purposes are allowed but make sure that your hijab or hat do not block, obscure or cover in any way your face.

Yes, the beard is allowed.

Absolutely! Just choose the right place and moment, download Passport Photo AiD mobile app for iOS or Android or go on the Passport Photo Online website. You will be able to get your South African ID photo at home in less than 1 minute! Isn’t it great?

No. Your photo must be printed on high-quality photo paper. If you take a picture with your smartphone or digital camera with a visa photo app you may print it in some photo store or order a delivery to your physical address.

About the document

South African ID

South African Identity books are issued to South African nationals or permanent residence permit holders who are 16 years or older. People (including spouses and children) who are working for the South African government or one of its statutory bodies outside of South Africa also qualify to receive South African ID books. It is essential to obtain a South African ID book as soon as you are eligible, because they prove your identity. The green bar-coded Identity book (ID book) is also a legal form of identity when dealing with public and private institutions. 

There are several times where you may be asked to have a copy of your ID book – for example for access to accommodation, school and healthcare services; to apply for a driver's license or a job; when entering into commercial arrangements and also when applying for the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

South African nationals also need an identity book with their photograph and information for applying for a passport, and for visas to work, study and visit their family overseas. 

Application - First Time

First-time applicants for the South African ID book must submit the following documentation to their nearest Department of Home Affairs office or South African mission or consulate abroad:

  • Form BI-9, completed in black ink
  • A certified copy of the Birth certificate or reference book or a copy of the old Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda or Ciskei homelands identity or travel documents 
  • Two identical, color photographs (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally however color photographs are still needed for temporary IDs)

The fingerprints will be taken by a Home Affairs official and imprinted on Form DHA-9.

Fees and Required documents

The South African ID book is free when issued for the first time. The South African authorities do not require any payment when a citizen applies for a South African ID book. 

However, there are some cases in which a South African citizen has to pay a fee in order to obtain a new ID book. In such cases, the citizen not only does have to pay a fee to the proper authorities but also present additional documents in order to receive a new ID book. The following instances are these exceptions where a specific fee and other documents are needed to issue a South African ID book:

Stolen, lost or damaged South African ID book

In the case that a South African national has his ID book stolen, lost or damaged, he can apply for a replacement ID. Citizens can also get a new ID if:

  • Their personal particulars have changed.
  • Their citizenship status has changed.
  • They have changed their surname (for example, if they get married or divorced).
  • They are temporarily living abroad and have previously had a South African ID.

Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged ID will cost R140.

South African ID - Correcting errors on Personal Information

In case a South African citizen gets his ID and there are errors, the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa will replace his ID for free. To apply to correct information in his ID, he has to submit the following documents to any office of the Department of Home Affairs:

  • Forms BI-9 and BI-309 completed with the correct information
  • Proof of the error, which shows the correct information (e.g. a birth certificate)
  • Two identical, color ID photographs (Note: Not needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally).

Smart ID Card

South African citizens can now apply for the new Smart Identity card which replaces the green bar-coded identity document. 

The new smart card IDs can only be issued at offices where the live capture system for processing smart card IDs and new passports is available. 

Applications for a Smart ID cost R140. In this case, citizens will not need to bring photos as the offices equipped to handle applications for the smart ID card will be able to take them. South African nationals can also apply for a smart ID online on the eHome Affairs webpage.

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