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When applying for a Visa for one of the European countries, it is likely that the Visa is a Schengen Visa (Visa type C). Poland became a Schengen member in 2007 since then applicants were able to apply for Polish Schengen Visa. It is important that during the application process, the applicant specifies the purpose of their trip, as Visa is chosen in accordance with the purpose. Second type of Visa people can apply for is Visa type D, known as National Visa (which will be discussed below).
For any other Schengen countries, the same rules, in regards to photos, apply.
Photo Rules for Polish Visa
Just like the photo requirements for any Schengen visa, ensuring that 70-80% of the applicant's face is visible is crucial. Therefore, the size of the photo must be adjusted so that only the face is prominently visible. Here are several photo specifications for a Schengen visa photo, particularly when applying for a Polish Visa:
- The size of the photo must be width 35mm, height 45mm (3.5cm by 4.5cm).
- Printing Resolution: 600 dpi
- Photographs must be in colour only - black and white is forbidden
- Background colour: white
- Quantity of pictures needed for a Polish visa: 2
- The minimum allowance of picture size is 32 mm
- The maximum allowance of picture size is 36 mm
Photos submitted in a different format, than the one specified in Europe visa photo size, will result in refusal of Visa acceptance.
Illustration for a Visa must be centred, a person must not be too close or too distanced from the camera (minimum 40cm from the camera lens). Focus and contrast of the picture must be sharp and focused. Image must not be blurry, too light, or highly contrasted as these features could get the image distorted. Pictures brightness must be even, so no shadows or flash reflections are present on the final picture.
If the image is too dark, the application will be denied. As mentioned above, the background must be white, pictures must avoid shadows behind the head and no contrast (no contrast can cause the face to blend in with the background). The overall quality of the photo must be excellent for a Visa application to be accepted. Photo colour must remain unedited, there must be no ink marks or creases, and pixelated.
What to wear for Polish Visa Photograph?
In regards to the Visa Photo dress code, people should wear their casual, day-to-day clothing. People must avoid shiny clothing so no reflection is made by the camera flash or white tops/t-shirts so they won’t match the background photo requirements. Uniforms like the police or military are not allowed, as Visas are normally issued for leisure, not official governmental travel.
Facial hair - such as a beard is permitted when a person has it on regular bases. This rule also applies to glasses, for those that wear them daily, they are allowed to keep them on, yet frames must not cover the eyes. Headwear is not forbidden unless a person has a medical condition (and doctors note to prove it) or a religious belief.
How to take a picture for a Visa to Poland?
For a Poland Visa, the picture is only accepted when a person poses with a neutral facial expression. Face must be visible from ear to ear, and from forehead to chin. Eyes must remain open for the picture, and hair must be neatly tied. Hair cannot be in individuals eyes. A person taking a photo must be at least 40 cm away from the Visa applicant.
A person must stand/sit still, and maintain a straight posture. The Head must not be tilt or twisted in any direction. Applicants must look straight into the lens of the camera. Portrait posture is not prohibited for a Visa. It is important to remember that smiling is not acceptable for a Visa photographs. Visa photographs cannot be older than six months - as a reflection of current appearance can be distorted.
Children, Infants, and newborns - Poland Visa Photo instructions
Visa photos for children may seem harder, especially for newborns or infants. It is much harder for them to maintain a neutral facial expression, or stay in one place without moving. Small babies are allowed for their Visa picture to be taken whilst they are lying down. With one requirement being a white cloth placed behind the child’s head.
Items such as toys or blankets must not be visible in the picture. Eyes must remain open, whilst mouth closed. A child must look straight into the camera lens. A guardian may hold their baby for the picture, however, they must not be visible in the picture. Few copies may be required since the desired shot is chosen.
Common mistakes when taking a Polish Visa Photo
Common mistakes are made when individuals go and get their picture taken before they familiarize themselves with the rules. People need to make sure these common mistakes are avoided, so no delays are made in their Visa application. These mistakes include:
- Smiling in the picture instead of keeping a neutral/formal face expression
- Applying for a visa with an outdated photograph, that is not reflecting the current appearance of the applicant
- Choosing the wrong format of the photo (for instance format that applies to passport but not the Visa)
- Uploading a selfie as a Visa photo. This is not acceptable, as a photo must fulfil all the guidelines set by the government of a specific country.
- Wearing headwear, such as headbands. Although they don’t obstruct the image as a hat would, It is still not acceptable and Visa will be denied if an applicant applies with such a photo.
- Low quality/blurry image. Visa pictures must be sharp and focused. Obstruction to the image such as shadow, blurriness or high brightness, will not be accepted.
- Pictures are printed in black and white colour. All Visas globally require a coloured visa photo.
Where can I take a Polish Visa photo?
There are many different places that people use for a Visa photograph. Sometimes a document photograph service is available at drugstores and pharmacies. Local post offices also tend to offer the service and this is one of the most common places where people can take a visa/passport or any type of document pictures. The post office is also a very convenient place to take document photographs, as they can be sent off via mail straight away.
Some printing and shipping stores also have photo booths available for a fast and easy way of taking a document photographed with the ability to send. Now, it is also very common to have photo booths at a shopping centre. A more old-fashioned place where people go for a visa photo is a photography studio, which has a special setting for the picture to be taken in. Other online facilities provide services online, where individuals can take their photos at home using their mobile device.
Using a mobile device, for a document picture, has now become very popular. Over 90% of the global population now own and use a smartphone on daily bases. Hence, it isn’t such a surprise that such an app became a reality.
App is downloadable via AppStore or GoogleStore, and it is easy to use, after downloading all you have to do is choose a document type that you want your picture to be taken for. App gives tips and guidance, and in case a picture is taken wrongly, a notification will come up alarming about what’s wrong. This can be corrected with a retake. Digital as well as printable versions are both available.
Photo’s Validity for a Polish Visa
Visa Photo must not be older than six months before applying for a Visa. This is important because people need to look like themselves when they are crossing a border. And as we all know people change their appearance with age. Some people may grow facial hair, others change the length/colour of their hair, whilst others may decide to lose a lot of weight. All of these features affect people's current appearance. Therefore, the picture provided for the visa must be up-to-date so it truly reflects the image of an applicant.
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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