The Number One Reason Your Passport Photo Got Rejected in 2023

Got your passport photo rejected? It’s not great, but there’s something you can do. With our research through this article, you can find out the number one reason your passport photo got rejected in 2023. Not only this, but you can find out how to sort it out quickly. Let’s get started!

What Happens if Your Passport Photo is Rejected in the US?

Regardless of how much you paid, or where you got your passport photo, it must meet the strict guidelines that the US government requires for passport travel documents. If not, you’ll like run into some issues when your passport application is processed.

You’ll receive contact from the passport office (Travel Department of State), usually via letter, to inform you of the problems with your application. At this point, your application will be frozen for a period of 90 days so that you can submit a compliant photo.

Steps to take when your photo is rejected

  • Take a new passport photos that is compliant with all criteria
  • Collect any additional documents required for your application
  • Send back all the documents and photos required before the 90-day period expires

What is the Reason for Passport Photo Rejection?

If your passport photo got rejected, you’re probably wondering what went wrong, so you can fix it.
Well, there are a variety of reasons why your passport photo got rejected.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why:

  1. Incorrect photo size: A United States Passport photo must be 2 inches x 2 inches in size. In addition, your head needs from chin to crown needs to be 25-36mm. There needs to be a gap between your head and the edges of the photo as well.
  2. Insufficient contrast, saturation or exposure: The colour and hue of your photos must be as close to reality as possible. There shouldn’t be any deep shadows or glare on your face – ensure even lighting across your face. Use natural lighting without any after-effects or filters.
  3. Incorrect photo background: The background in your photo should be a plain white background without textures or shadows. Ensure there are no objects or other people in the photo.
  4. Incorrect photo posture: When you take your photo, you need to be directly facing the camera as well as have a straight posture with eyes directly at the camera lens. Keep a neutral expression. Once you’ve taken the photo, make sure your nose is in the center and your eyes are a third from the top of the photo.
  5. Facial obstructions & accessories: You’re not permitted to wear glasses in your photo. You can wear them if you have a doctor’s note proving they are necessary to be worn. Things like hair covering your face, or other accessories obscuring your face are not acceptable in your photo.
  6. Unchecked passport photo:Taking your passport photo using a service that doesn’t provide a compliance check, such as photo booths, will likely lead to a rejected passport photo. So make sure to choose a provider that will examine your passport photo before you receive them and this is the case when you use Smartphone iD.

Examples of Rejected Passport Photos

If you need more help to understand and avoid the rejection of your passport photo, we’ve provided some examples of photos. This way you can see for yourself what a passport photo should not look like.

Take a look below.

What to do When Your Passport Photo is Rejected?

The simple answer is to submit the correct format and style of passport photo. However, sometimes it can be difficult to understand what to do. If you do need to resubmit your photo, you’ll have 90 days to get everything sorted.

You’ll have time to research what is required as well as various methods and services available to take compliant passport photos.

How to Take a Passport Photo That Passes the Requirements?

The easiest way to get a compliant photo that passes all requirements is to use a professional passport photo app like Smartphone iD. We can help you take your photo and check whether it’s good enough for submitting to your passport application.

We can also guarantee you’ll get government approval, so what are you waiting for?


If you’re worried about whether your passport photo is good enough or you’ve got 90 days left to resubmit, don’t stress! We’ve got the perfect solution for you. Just download Smartphone iD on your smartphone and we’ll help you from there. Our quick and professional service is bound to leave you satisfied and with an approved passport photo too!

Have you tried Smartphone iD?

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