Driving Licence Photo Requirements (That You Need to Know About to Get Approved In 2023)

Driving Licence Photo Requirements

If you’re thinking about driving for the first time, make sure you know the driving licence photo requirements when applying. This article will answer your questions in detail. Scroll down to find out more!

What Do I Need a Driving License For?

While it may be obvious that you need a driving licence to drive, there are various reasons why you might need a driving licence in the United States. 

Because there is no national form of proof of identity, most states resort to using the driving licence as a form of identity. In fact, some shops and services will only accept a driving licence when buying age-restricted products.

Furthermore, a United States driving licence will allow you to drive anywhere in the USA. However, if you do not have a US driving licence, you may need an International Driving Permit in some states as well as a valid driving license from your home country.

What Are the Driving License Photo Requirements?

In actual fact, when you go to get a driving licence, your photo will be taken for you, by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). However, when you apply for a driving licence you need to provide proof of identification. 

This proof of identification can be:

  • A Passport
  • An ID Card


All forms of photographic identification in the United States have to conform to certain regulations. So make sure when you apply for a driving licence you have an ID photo that is:

  • 2 inches x 2 inches in size
  • In the photo, your head must be centered and between 1 inch and 1.4 inches in size


If you’re going to take your own photo when it comes to getting a photo ID, make sure the photo is clear and sharp. There should be no pixelation or printing errors.


If you take your own photo you need to make sure your appearance is compliant with United States regulations:

  • Your face needs to be fully visible in the photo 
  • There should be no deep shadow or glaring light that obscures all or part of your face in the photo
  • Head coverings and hats are not allowed to be worn in the photo, except for medical or religious reasons


For US photo ID, you need to have the correct posture when taking your photo:

  • Keep a neutral expression for the photo 
  • Face the camera directly and center yourself in the frame 
  • Your eyes need to be clearly visible in the photo

So while there are not necessarily driving license photo requirements per se, as the DMV will take your photo. You do actually need to follow these specifications when you want to get a photo ID to apply for a licence.

However, if you download our app ‘Smartphone iD’ you can have peace of mind knowing that our experts will pre-approve your document photos.

  1. Take photos with the app
  2. The app will make sure your photos comply with national guidelines
  3. Receive your ID photos digitally

Driving License Photo Tool

Taking your own driving license ID photo can be difficult, so if you need a bit of help you can use the Department of State’s online photo tool.

This photo tool can give you pointers when it comes to taking an ID photo. Remember, you need a photo identification document to apply for a driving license.

Steps on how to use the online photo tool:

  1. Upload a photo to the photo tool by clicking the ‘Choose New Photo’ button at the bottom of the page 
  2. Click through the headings (Size and Position, Pose and Expression etc.) to find out how to make your photo compliant 
  3. The Department of State’s photo tool will automatically crop your Diversity Visa photo 
  4. Click ‘Accept & Proceed’ if you’re ready to continue 
  5. Click ‘Download image to your device’ to get a digital copy of your cropped photo

So if you want to apply for a driving license, you can use this tool to help you get a compliant photo for a photo ID. However, it only gives you guidelines for your photo, it doesn’t check that your photo is compliant.

If you use our app ‘Smartphone iD’, your photo will be checked through by the software and certified by experts when you send off your photo to us.

Who Takes Your Photo for a Driving License Application?

Once you’ve passed all the necessary tests for your driving license application, you’ll go to get your photo taken at a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) location. You may have been given a non-photo provisional licence beforehand. 

In this case, you will hand in your provisional licence and receive a driving licence photo in the mail.

When do I Need an ID Photo for a Driving Licence?

ID Photo for a Driving Licence

Generally, to be able to apply for a United States driving licence, you will need a certified photographic identification document. Additionally, there are a few circumstances where a photo ID is required to be able to get a driver’s licence in the United States.

1. Provisional Driving Licence

If you want to take your shiny new ride out on the roads, you’re going to have to have at least a provisional driving licence. Depending on the state you live in, the age at which you can get a driver’s licence will differ, but generally, the requirement is around 16+ years of age.

2. Providing Proof of Identity

Now you may be wondering where to start when it comes to applying for a driving licence. Firstly, you need to have a certified United States photo ID. 

This can be either:

  • A Passport
  • A photo ID card

Getting a driving licence photo for your application can be made quite easy. All you have to do is download ‘Smartphone iD’. Simply take photos using the app, and the rest of the work is done by us. You’ll receive pre-approved ID photos digitally

We guarantee they’ll be accepted or your money back.

3. Driving licence renewal

If you’re required to renew your driving licence, there are a few scenarios that may occur.

  • The DMV may send you a letter requiring you attend in person to renew.
    • In this case, they will usually take your photo again for the renewal

If the DMV don’t require you to attend in person for the renewal, you’ll receive a renewed licence in the mail

4. Exchanging a Foreign Licence

While you can drive in the United States with a foreign driving licence, there are limitations that come with it.

  • You can drive for up to 3 months with a foreign driving licence, from the date you officially entered the United States. 
  • After this 3 month time period is up, you will have to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP). 
  • You must plan in advance, as you can only apply for an IDP from your home country before you travel.

If you’re eligible, you may be able to apply for a driving licence from the state you are in. However, this is not available to short-term visitors.

Whether you need to apply for an IDP or a United States driving licence, you will need professional ID photos to apply. 

When you choose our app ‘Smartphone iD’, we guarantee secure and speedy services. Not only this but we will fully refund you in the unlikely event your photos are rejected.

How to Take Driving Licence Photos With Your Phone?

Take Driving Licence Photos With Your Phone

Applying for a driving licence requires that you have photo identification. So make sure you’re ready to go with a really easy way to take ID photos for your driving licence application.

Here’s how to use our handy app ‘Smartphone iD’ 

  1. Download ‘Smartphone iD’, you can get it on mobile with iOS and Android 
  2. Take photos using the app, ‘Smartphone iD’ will guide you through the process 
  3. Select which country you want to produce an ID photo for 
  4. Select which document you want the photo for (Passport, driving license, visa etc.) 
  5. In no time at all, get photos digitally via email, once our experts have checked them. You can use these digital copies to print them yourself. Alternatively, you can use our printing service, to make it even easier

Regardless of whether you need to exchange a foreign licence, apply for an IDP or just get a United States driving licence photo, ‘Smartphone iD’ can make pre-approved document photos for any country.


Driving for the first time can be scary and exciting! Take some of the weight off your shoulders by making the driving licence photo process easy. If you need to apply for a driving licence in the United States, use ‘Smartphone iD’ for your photo ID.

Smartphone iD‘ is secure, quick, and cheap. What’s not to like?


When did the US start putting pictures on driver’s licences?

In most states, people’s driving licences didn’t have photos until the 1980s. So photo ID is a relatively new technology.

What photo can I use for a driving licence?

To apply for a driving licence in the United States, you need a photo ID. This can be a:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid ID Card

Both of these forms of ID use a 2 inch x 2 inch photo.

Can you smile on a driving licence photo?

Though you may be feeling happy, you’re not allowed to smile in ID photos. You must keep a neutral expression for the photo.

What size is a driving licence photo?

  • The minimum acceptable size is 600 pixels x 600 pixels.
  • The maximum acceptable size is 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels

Do you need a photo to renew your driving licence?

If you are renewing via mail, you do not need a new photo. However, if the DMV require you to attend in person, they will take your picture.

Can I use my driving licence photo for a Passport?

You can, as they have the same quality and size requirements.

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