Photo Frequently Asked Questions

Photo Requirements


How many photos must I submit with my visa application?

  • If you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa by filling out the DS-160 or DS-1648 online form, then you must submit a digital image using the online application
  • If you are applying for an immigrant visa using Form DS-260, then you must provide two (2) identical photos at your immigrant visa interview
  • If you are entering the Diversity Visa Program, then you must submit a digital image as part of your entry.
  • If you are applying for an immigrant visa as a Diversity Visa Selectee, you must provide two (2) identical photos at your immigrant visa interview



What type of paper should I print my photos on?

Photos must be printed on photo quality paper. The photo quality paper can be either matte or glossy photo paper.


Do my photos have to be in color?

Yes, the photos must be in color. Black and white photos will not be accepted.


How recent must my photos be?

Your photos must have been taken within 6 months of submitting your application and reflect your current appearance.


What size must my photos be?

The photo must be exactly 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).


What pose should I be in for my photo?

Your photo must be a clear shot of your entire face horizontally centered in the photo. Profile shots or photos not in focus will not be accepted. Your photo must be taken against a plain white or off-white background. Your expression should be neutral with both eyes open and directly facing the camera. Photos with unusual expressions and squinting will not be accepted.


How large should my head be in the photo?

Your head should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of your chin to the top of your hair. If you are submitting a digital image, then your head should be between 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin.


Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?

Effective November 1, 2016, eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos, except in rare circumstances when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons; e.g., the applicant has recently had ocular surgery and the eyeglasses are necessary to protect the applicant's eyes. A medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner must be provided in these cases. If the eyeglasses are accepted for medical reasons:

  • The frames of the eyeglasses must not cover the eye(s).
  • There must not be glare on eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
  • There must not be shadows or refraction from the eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s). 

Can I wear sunglasses or tinted glasses in my photo?

No, you cannot wear sunglasses or tinted glasses for your photo.  If you are applying for a U.S. passport, and you need to wear your prescription glasses that have dark on tinted lenses for medical reasons then they may be worn in your photo.  A medical certificate may be required to verify prescription eyewear. If you are applying for a U.S. visa, you may not wear any glasses with dark or tinted lenses for your photo.


Can I wear a hat for the photo?

No. You must remove hats or head coverings that obscure your hair or hairline, unless worn for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.


Can I wear a uniform in my photo?

Uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, and camouflage attire should not be worn in photos except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. Otherwise, normal clothing that you wear on a daily basis should be worn.

Can a parent or guardian appear in the photo of a child?

No, the child must be the only person in the photo. Nothing used to support the child should be in the camera's frame, including the arms or hands of a parent holding the child.


Is it acceptable for my child's eyes to be closed in his/her photo?

No. Please have your child’s eyes open and looking straight ahead towards the camera.


What’s the best way to take a photo of a baby?

Lay your baby on his or her back on a plain white or off-white sheet. This will ensure your baby's head is supported and provide a plain background for the photo. Make certain there are no shadows on your baby’s face, especially if you take a picture from above with the baby lying down. You can also cover a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat. This will also ensure your baby’s head is supported.


May photos be taken with a digital camera?

Yes, you can use a digital camera.  Most webcams and mobile phones cannot provide images of sufficient quality.  Please refer to our Digital Image Requirements, if you decide to take a photo yourself.  


Can I remove the red-eye from my photo?

It is acceptable to use the red-eye reduction option on your digital camera when you are taking the photo.  However, you cannot use any photo editing tool to digitally remove the red-eye from your photo. In general, you are not allowed to digitally enhance or alter the photo to change your appearance in any way.  


Are photos that are copied from recent driver licenses or other official documents acceptable?

Copied or digitally scanned photos of official documents will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way.


Are snapshots, magazine photos, mobile photos or photos from vending machine acceptable?

No. Snapshots, magazine photos, low-resolution vending machine or mobile phone photos, or full-length photographs are not acceptable.


Do I need to take a new photo if I recently dyed my hair a new color or grew a beard?

New photos are only required if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your photo.  Growing a beard or coloring your hair would not constitute a significant change.  If you can still be identified from the photo in your current passport or visa application, you do not need to apply for a new passport or submit a new photo for your visa application. However, you may have to apply for a new passport or submit a new photo for your visa application if you have:

  • Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
  • Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
  • Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
  • Obtained a new gender identity

The acceptance of your photo is at the discretion of the U.S. passport agency where you apply for a passport or U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply for a visa.



Photo Upload Failure - There is an "X" instead of my photo on the DS-160 or DS-1648 application confirmation page.

That means the photo upload failed. Therefore, you should submit one printed photo meeting our requirements, along with the online DS-160 confirmation page, to the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you plan to apply for your nonimmigrant visa. Please contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying for specific instructions on how to do this. If the confirmation page includes a photo of you, then the photo upload was successful and no separate photo is required.