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Karolina is a seasoned legal expert with a Master of Law and legal advisor credentials, specializing in passport photo compliance. She ensures adherence to international standards set by entities like the US Department of State and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Equipped with her advocate license and extensive legal background, she brings a unique blend of legal acumen and technical knowledge. Her expertise is pivotal in navigating the intricate and rigorous standards set by key global authorities. Her approach, marked by meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of international law, ensures stringent adherence to the evolving passport and visa photo regulations worldwide.
German Passport Photo—All You Need to Know
Need a German passport photo?
Explore this comprehensive guide to German passport photo requirements, including the fine details (e.g., allowed clothing and accessories), as well as available options for obtaining them both in physical locations and online.
Understanding German passport photo requirements
Requirements for a passport photo in Germany differ from those of the United States.
German readers seeking official guidelines can refer to this PDF file provided by the Federal Ministry of Interior and Home Affairs (BMI).
For your convenience, either read through the resource in English—accessible on the German Missions in the United States’ website—or read our detailed guide. With our guidance, you'll easily snap the perfect photograph for your German passport application.
German Passport Photo Requirements List
|Prints & Digital
|Black-and-white or color
|Taken in the last 6 months
|Sharp, clear photo with proper contrast, taken under even lighting to avoid shadows and reflections. Blurry, grainy, or pixelated pictures will be rejected
|No filters are allowed. The picture must show natural skin tones
|Solid light-color background without shadows, texture, or lines
|35 mm wide x 45 mm high (1.37”x 1.77”). Optimal head height is between 32–36 mm (1.26"–1.41") from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head (70–80% of the photo)
|Printed on glossy photo-quality paper
Note: For the best results, if you have light hair, it's recommended to use a medium gray color background, while those with dark hair should opt for a light gray background.
The fine details: specifics of German passport photos
Beyond the technical specifications, there are additional guidelines to keep in mind for your German passport photo to meet the official criteria.
Take a look at this list of rules that you must also follow:
- Smile: Not allowed. Adopt a neutral expression with your mouth closed
- Eyes: Clearly open and visible, not covered by your hair
- Glasses: Sunglasses or tinted lenses are forbidden. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure the frame doesn’t cover the eyes or hinder their vision in any way
- Head position: Always centered. Don’t tilt or turn your head and face the camera directly
- Headgear: Only allowed for religious purposes or in the case of an exceptional, permanent medical condition. In such instances, the area from the chin to the forehead must be fully visible in the photograph
Attire: Preferably dark colors. Uniforms are not allowed
Examples of Unacceptable German Passport Photos
Exceptions for kids’ passport photos in Germany
When photographing kids, you’ll probably run into some challenges, so there are a few exceptions:
- For children under 10, the head size can range from 50% to 80% of the photo's dimensions. That’d be like 22–36 mm (0.86–1.41”)
- Children aged 5 and under don’t have to maintain a neutral facial expression, look directly into the camera, or be perfectly centered in the photo
- Babies under the age of one are not required to have their eyes open
Examples of German Passport Photos for Children
Getting the right size for your German passport photo
Size is particularly important when it comes to your passport photo.
Ensure you request a photo measuring 35 mm in width and 45 mm in height (1.37x1.77 inches).
Your head should occupy 70–80% of the photo, that is between 32–36 mm (1.26"–1.41") from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head. Both the left and right sides of your face must be clearly visible.
In the case of voluminous hairstyles, ensure that your entire head, including your hair, is visible without compromising the size of the face, if feasible.
Where to get German passport photos?
Getting passport photos locally in the US is possible. However, most providers tend to be familiar with taking and printing pictures for American documents.
Keeping in mind the differences between the US and German passport photo requirements, feel free to drop by one of these popular outlets and inquire about their availability of photos suitable for German passports:
Online options for your passport picture
No luck? No problem!
You can easily obtain your 35x45 mm size photo in the US without leaving your home with a professional passport photo app.
Such tools save you time and money and ensure that your photos meet the necessary specifications (of any country you want!), minimizing any chances of errors.
To help you pick the best option, we've compiled a handy comparison table of popular online passport photo providers. Take a look at the array of services they offer and choose the one that suits you best:
|Large country database
|Compliance guarantee & refund
|Passport Photo Online [iOS & Android]
|Passport Photo & ID Maker
|ID Photo For Passports And IDs
|iVisa Passport Photo
|Passport Photo-ID Photo
Get the best photo for your travel document using our desktop software or your smartphone—download our Passport Photo Booth App for iOS or Passport Photo Maker App for Android, or simply snap a photo with your phone or camera and upload it by using the button at the top of the page!
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.
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