Schengen Visa Photo: Format and Guidelines [And a Hassle-Free Visa Photo Tool]

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Schengen Visa Photo: Format and Guidelines [And a Hassle-Free Visa Photo Tool]
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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.

Schengen Visa Digital Photo - Size & Requirements

Schengen Visa Photo: Format and Guidelines
Width: 35 mm
Height: 45 mm
600 dpi
Is it suitable for online submission?
Image definition parameters
Head height: 34 mm
Top of the Photo to Top of the Hair: 3 mm
Is it printable?
Background Color
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More about Schengen Visa Photo - Requirements

Schengen visa photo guidelines

If you want to travel to one or more countries in the European Union and you are not an EU citizen, you are obliged to get a Schengen visa. Regardless of the visa type, the requirements for the photo are the same. You must submit 2 identical pictures that are in color and not older than 6 months.

Schengen visa photo list of requirements

Every person planning to enter the Schengen Area for any reason may be subject to the visa regime. A Schengen visa is a document with a photo and this photo must meet some special requirements. Read our article to learn all about them and avoid making a mistake. We’ve gathered all the necessary information about:

  • posing
  • colors
  • background
  • size and cropping
  • composition

After you’ve read our guidelines you’ll be able to prepare a perfect picture ready to attach to your visa application. Remember that your photo must be sharp, focused, and properly exposed in order to not get rejected. You’ll find the rest of the specification checklist below.

Schengen visa photo size (dimensions in mm and in inches)

Requirements for the size of every Schengen visa are the same. The Schengen visa photo size should be 35 x 45 mm ( approx. 14-18 inches) and the face should fill in approximately 70 - 80% of the image (the head size cannot be less than 32 mm and more than 36 mm). To obtain this effect, do not use zoom in your camera and don’t take a selfie, just keep the distance between you and the photographer (or tripod if you are taking the photo on your own). The recommended distance is between 1,20 and 2 metres. 

Is a 2 x 2 inch photo good for a Schengen visa?

No. The 2 x 2 inch (51 mm x 51 mm) measurement is a standard U.S. passport-style photo and it is not suitable for a Schengen visa. You need to take a new picture to attach to your European visa application. Do not crop an existing photo. As most photo booths in the U.S. offer photo sizing, consider taking the photo yourself. With our resizing and cropping photo app you can prepare a picture that will 100% satisfy the Schengen visa photo requirements.

Schengen visa photo crop

The photo crop must show the candidate’s entire face, including hair from the tip of the chin to the top of the head, neck, and upper part of the shoulders. Remember that all your facial features must be clearly visible and your hair must not obscure any part of it below the eyebrow line. Moreover, make sure that there is space left between your head and the photo’s edges. If you have voluminous hair, consider putting it up.

Background and colors in a Schengen visa photo

You must provide 2 color (not black and white) printed photos taken against a light background. The photo must show your natural skin tone and the true color of your eyes. This last part is important because a “red eye” effect caused by flash will disqualify the picture.

The background should be clear and plain, with no patterns or spots. You may choose its color between different shades of gray. If you have a dark complexion and/or hair, pick light gray and the other way around in order to obtain a satisfying contrast and not to blend into the background.

Speaking of the background - no objects or people can be visible behind you. but this does not mean that you need to hang a gray sheet behind you or paint the wall. In fact, you don’t even have to think about the background in the Schengen visa photo! All you have to do is to upload your picture to our background remover photo app and get it done! Our tool will replace the incorrect background with the required one within a second! 

Lighting in the Schengen visa photo

As both sides of your face must be evenly visible, no shadows or glares in the Schengen visa photo are accepted. To obtain this effect, the best idea is to use daylight and pose facing the window. If you’re using lamps, make sure that they illuminate your face symmetrically.

Make sure also that your picture is not overexposed or underexposed - adjust the brightness in your digital camera options if you see that it is not properly exposed. Adjust the contrast and focus functions too if they are not adjusted automatically.

If you’re taking a picture with your smartphone, you don’t really have to deal with any adjusting as today’s mobile devices are equipped with super high-quality cameras which adjust everything automatically.

If you wear eyeglasses, make sure that they don’t cause any glare by reflecting the light. It happens often in photos taken using flash and it should be avoided.

Schengen visa photo quality

You must submit 2 identical photos printed on high-quality paper. Applying for a Schengen visa online is not possible at the moment, so once you order your photo template, you’ll need to print it using one-hour photo services in a print shop or drugstore. Do not use your home inkjet printer as the quality of images it produces is too low.

More about technical visa photo requirements:

  • the resolution of a ready-to-print digital image must be at least 600 dpi
  • the face must be sharply focused in all areas, rich in contrast, and clear
  • the photo must be printed on photo-quality paper in color
  • dye-sublimation print is required

Schengen visa photo composition and head position

Schengen visa photos are biometric so it can be a bit similar to a mugshot. There are some universal rules about composition and head position for biometric photos. The head must be located in the central spot of the picture and must not be tilted in any direction. The en-face view is mandatory.

Your mouth must be closed, but not tightened. Look straight at the camera and don’t smile/show your teeth. 

Clothing in the Schengen visa photo

There is only one rule about clothing here: you must not wear uniforms nor any army-patterned clothes or ones with insignia on them, as they may resemble uniforms.

Apart from that, there is no such a thing as a “dress-code for Schengen visa photo”, but you will show your photo to immigration officers so it is a good idea to make yourself look presentable. A simple button-up shirt, a V-neck, or a shirt with a collar is our recommendation. If you like jewelry, there are no objections. Just keep in mind that wearing massive earrings or hair decorations is not recommended as they can obscure the face.

Religious attire and head covering in the Schengen visa photo

If you wear your religious attire every day and during your international travels, you can keep it for your Schengen visa picture. You may keep your hijab, yarmulke, or other headgear worn for religious reasons. You don’t need to explain it or fill out any special forms. Just make sure that your head covering does not obscure your face (as, for example, a niqab which is not allowed).

Any fashion head coverings (caps, hats, headbands) are prohibited in the visa photo.

Schengen visa photo originality

Your Schengen visa photo must be original. What exactly does that mean? Of course, the photo must present you. It also cannot be cut out of a larger picture, but produced specially for the purpose of your visa application. You’re also not allowed to interfere in your photo using any computer software. Special filters, retouching, using Photoshop, and other graphic design programs is prohibited and strictly verified. Schengen visa photos are checked by computer software and if it detects any alteration, the picture automatically gets rejected.

7 most important things to remember while taking a Schengen visa photo:

  1. Don’t smile, frown, or make faces
  2. Keep your mouth closed and your eyes open
  3. Do not tilt your head
  4. Look directly into the camera lens
  5. Make sure that all your facial features are clearly visible
  6. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure the frames don’t obscure your eyes and that the lenses don’t produce a glare 
  7. Adjust the size, crop and background of your photo - all in one second!

For point #7 of your Schengen visa photo checklist, you will need our intelligent photo app. You can download it from the AppStore for iOS operating devices or from the Google Play Store for Android phones.

Schengen visa photo near me

As you know, you need to attach 2 color printed photos, sized 35 mm x 45 mm, to your Schengen visa application. Since at the moment it’s not possible to submit the visa application online along with digital files, you may be asking yourself: “where can I take a Schengen visa photo near me?” The answer is very easy: you can take your European visa photo from right where you are! All you need is your phone and our smart photo app. Following our tips, you’ll be able to produce a 100% correct visa photo within seconds. Your photo will be resized, cropped, and adjusted to fit all the visa photo criteria set forth by the EU for all Schengen countries. Once you receive the visa photo via email, you can send it to a one-hour photo store or print it in a photo booth. Nothing easier!

Last update: 3/30/23

About the document

The Schengen Area

The Schengen Area, or Schengen Zone, is the largest passport-free travel area in the world named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen (a city in Luxembourg).

 The European Union created this passport-free zone that encompasses most of the European countries. It means that citizens of Schengen Zone countries can travel, work, and change their residence within it without any limitations. The holders of a Schengen visa are allowed to freely travel within the Schengen countries, as there are no border controls within the Schengen Zone. Each Schengen country can issue a Schengen visa to a foreign applicant.

The countries included in the Schengen Area are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The Schengen Visa

A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows its holder to travel to any member country of the Schengen Area and stay inside this zone for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

A Schengen visa is not a student, work, or permanent residence visa.

You can stay in one or more of the 26 Schengen Area member countries for up to 90 days only for one of the following reasons:

  • tourism and holidays
  • visiting family and friends
  • business
  • medical reasons
  • official visit
  • attending a sports or cultural event
  • airport transit/seafarers transit
  • research or short-term study

Every person who wants to live, get a paid job, or study in one of the Schengen Zone countries must apply for a national visa of that country, and not a Schengen Visa.

Depending on your reasons for visiting the Schengen countries and the frequency of your trips, the Schengen consulate can issue you a:

  • single-entry visa
  • double-entry visa
  • multiple-entry visa

Who needs a Schengen visa?

To check whether you need a Schengen Visa to travel to one of the Schengen member countries, see the information provided by official websites on Schengen visa eligibility. Generally speaking, every citizen of a country which does not have a visa-liberalization agreement with the Schengen member states, needs to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in Europe.

However, there are categories and nationals of countries that are privileged in entering the Schengen visa-free zone.

Schengen visa for the U.S. citizens

Citizens of the United States with a valid U.S. passport can travel to 26 European countries in Europe without having to apply for a Schengen visa. They can enter any Schengen country and stay within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for leisure or business purposes.

Keep in mind that the visa-free regime applies only to U.S. citizens. If you live in the U.S., but are not a holder of the U.S. passport, you may need a Schengen visa or not, depending on your nationality.

Entrance to European Union

Regardless if you are from a visa-free regime country or not, you are obliged to present several documents at the Schengen port-of-entry. This does not only apply to Schengen country nationals.

So, once you arrive at the port-of-entry by land, sea, or air, regardless of which Schengen Area country it is, you must carry with you:

  • a valid passport issued within the last 10 years, that will have a validity of at least 3 months after your planned date of leaving the EU.
  • a Schengen visa if you are a national of one of the third countries in need of a visa.

You may also be asked by a border official about other information and documents, such as the purpose of your trip, sufficient funds, and the planned period of your stay in the EU. Prepare your return ticket, travel insurance proof, proof of accommodation, and invitation letter, etc.

A border officer will give you an entry stamp in your passport (with the entry date) when you arrive in the Schengen Area. Please be informed that without this stamp, you could be fined or detained in the case of control.

Schengen visa documents and application

Your first step in the whole process should be the question of whether you actually need a Schengen visa - it depends on the purpose of your travel and your nationality. If you do, you will be asked about:

  • your travel plans
  • how many days you plan to stay in the Schengen Zone 
  • which countries you are going to visit (if more than one) 
  • the country through which you are going to enter and the country from which you’re going to exit the Schengen Zone 

The documents you need to present are:

  • a passport valid for at least 3 months after your planned date of leaving the Schengen Area and issued within the previous 10 years 
  • two printed color photos taken in the last 6 months
  • your itinerary including the dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from the Schengen Area
  • travel insurance policy
  • a hotel booking/rental agreement/letter of invitation to prove your accommodation plans
  • a bank account statement proving that you have enough funds to support yourself financially throughout your stay in the Schengen Area
  • a sponsorship letter if it is the other person that confirms to be financially supporting your trip to the Schengen Area, including their bank account statement
  • a visa fee payment confirmation

The Schengen visa costs are: €80 for adults and teenagers older than 12 years of age, and €45 for children from 6 to 12 years old.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

How to remove an incorrect background from my Schengen visa photo?

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Don’t use Photoshop for your photo, even if it’s just for background removal, as this kind of alteration may still be detected by the computer software that verifies Schengen visa photos. Our photo app will remove the background for you in seconds and you’re guaranteed that the photo will pass the verification process!

How old can my Schengen visa photo be?

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You must submit two identical photos taken within the last 6 months.

What is the required resolution for a digital Schengen visa photo?

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The resolution for a digital European visa photo must be at least 600 dpi.

Just download the online photo app for iPhone or Android and upload your picture. The app will validate your picture and inform you if it is correct or not.

Yes, we highly recommend you the PhotoAiD smart photo App which is able to resize, crop, remove background and verify your picture in terms of requirements.

Yes. All Schengen countries have the same requirements for their visa photos.

No. You are not allowed to wear your uniform or any clothes resembling a uniform in your Schengen visa photo.

No. You need to print it in two pieces and they must be identical. Only paper applications for the moment are available.

You can go to any photo studio or photo booth, but if you want to save time and money, you can easily prepare your Schengen visa photo wherever you want with your smartphone and our online photo tool available for iOS and Android.

You can download the visa and passport photo app from the AppStore or Google Play Store and install it on your phone. The app is free and easy to use.

Yes, you are allowed to, just make sure that the frames do not obscure your eyes and that there is no glare.

The head together with the hair should fill up 70 - 80% of the image (dimensions of the head must not be less than 32 mm and more than 36 mm).

In a nutshell they are: in color, 35 mm x 45 mm in size, taken against a light-gray background. You must submit two identical photos printed on a good quality paper.

The demanded color is light-gray but this is not all. The background must be plain, free of shadows, patterns, and spots. No other persons or objects must be visible in it.

You can use our photo app to have your picture resized automatically.

Yes, under the condition that this is a part of your religious attire that you wear everyday. Any fashion headgears are prohibited in the Schengen visa photo.

No. A natural facial expression is a requirement here. Just relax your facial muscles, close your mouth and keep both eyes open, and that’s it!

You have to stand or sit up straight, do not tilt your head and look directly at the camera. It must be an en-face view.

No. Inkjet printers are not suitable for printing passport and visa photos. Find a one-hour photo service or self-service kiosk near you to print your photos on high-quality paper.

At the moment it is not possible. You must submit a visa application in paper form along with 2 color photos printed on photo-quality paper.

The required size of Schengen visa photo is 35 mm x 45 mm.

No. Your photograph must be taken specifically for the purpose of submitting it with your Schengen visa application, and not cut out from another photo. Just take it with your smartphone and adjust to the requirements using the photo app.

No. 2 x 2 inches is approx. 51 x 51 mm and this is not the required size for a European visa picture. The only acceptable photo size for the Schengen visa is 34 x 45 mm.

No. Only color pictures are accepted. Remember not to use filters in your visa photo as this picture is supposed to reflect the natural tones of your skin.