What are passport photo hair rules in the US?

The issue of head covering is quite controversial because it is often a religious symbol. The State Department generally forbids wearing head covering in a photo, but there are exceptions. It is allowed to stay in a yarmulke or a hijab as long as the applicant wears it on a daily basis and has written reasons. What is important, however, is that the exemption does not include head covering that completely obscures the face (e.g. nikab, chador or burqa).

Can I have my hair up or in a bun?

Yes, technically, you are free to have your hair up in any form you want, as there is no legal information regulating which styles are allowed and which are forbidden. What it means is that you are free to have your hair in a ponytail or wear it up in a bun.

However, it is advisable to keep your hair organized, as your good look is not the key aspect of passport photographs, and some officers might consider unusual hairstyles at odds with passport photo rules. Remember that no matter what your hairstyle is, all of it must be visible in passport photos. Have that in mind while styling your hair.

What should I wear for the US passport photo?

There are no special guidelines concerning the color or style of the clothes you should wear for your us passport photo. In fact, the State Department officials do not care if you are in casual sportswear or boho. There is also no requirement to wear a suit or special formal clothing when taking a photo for an American passport. However, you should avoid plunging necklines and sleeveless shirts because the frame makes the person in the photo look as if they were naked and it’s not allowed. Therefore, it is best to wear a blouse with a collar or high neckline at the neck.

Additionally, we recommend putting something on that is not white, but a different colour. Why is that? It is because a white blouse can merge with the white background and cause what is called a “flying head” effect.

Lastly, make sure not wear an official uniform (military, airspace, etc).

Can you wear piercings in passport photo?

Apart from the above-mentioned head covering, you can also wear piercings in the passport photo. There are no explicit rules concerning the removal of small earrings from eyebrows, ears, nose, lips etc. However, the photo may be rejected if you wear large hanging earrings. Generally, you should avoid large jewelry that could cover part of your face.

Check photo validity with Smartphone iD app

By using Smartphone iD app, you get a digital, verified and conform photo at $4 sent to your email. You can also order a printed version that will be delivered to your doorstep. The app has double conformity control by human and software. In simple four clicks you get a format that can be used for any official document. No need to study all the ICAO and State government rules by yourself and wonder if you have submitted an acceptable photo.

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