How to take US passport photo at home?

If you have landed on this page, it means you are searching for guidelines to take a US passport photo by yourself.

There is a set a of rules for passport photos at national level that often are in line with those of ICAO (international civial aviation organisation) . If you decide to create a photo on your own, be sure to specifically check national standards as they might be stricter than those of ICAO.

The Size of US Passport Photo: Digital and Printed

Each country can decide on its own format, so make sure to note that before taking a photo on your own.


US Passport Photo in printed format should be 2”x2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).


For some identification documents, you can upload your passport photo in digital format! Here are the requirements that will be valid, for example, if you apply for Diversity Visa.

  • In JPEG (.jpg) file format
  • Equal to or less than 240 kB (kilobytes) in file size
  • In a square aspect ratio (height must equal width)
  • 600×600 pixels in dimension

State department offers a Photo Tool that will help you to size your photo, however, this does not mean that your photo conforms to the obligatory ICAO standards. If you wish to get a validated, good format without sizing yourself, use Smartphone iD app. An invalid photo will prolong your passport application.

What are the international mandatory regulations for passport photo?

The general rule is that photo must be taken recently. The US regulation states that a valid photo must be taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance.


The photo should have a good balance between overexposure and underexposure. It should be high contrast, with no shadow on the face or in the background. Photo must be clear and in color, that reproduces skin tones accurately.


The photo must be of high quality (clear, without traces or folding lines). If you submit it in digital format, make sure that the file size is not too big or too small and that it has the appropriate resolution and image depth. The photo must not be distorted in any way such as barrel or compression artifacts. For printed photos, there must not be any creases or ink marks. Photos should be in clear focus and digital alterations are not permitted.

3. Background

The background should be in a plain white or off-white color. No objects should be visible within the background.


Your head must be bare, without a hat, scarf, headband or any other decorative object and your hair must be seen. No visible accessories should be noticeable on your official photo. That includes barrettes, elastic bands and other extras. If your hair is bothering you, tie it in a ponytail behind your head. It will not be visible in the photo.

Only little make-up is allowed because it can affect computerized as well as human facial recognition capabilities. The photograph needs to show the top of your head to the mid torso with a little bit of space inbetween.


The subject must face the lens, hold head straight and look directly into the lens. A neutral expression must be maintained with closed mouth.


Face must be clear. Eyes must be open. The aim is to recognize you as well as possible.


Thick frames are prohibited in a passport photo. Glasses must not obscure the eyes, therefore tinted glasses are prohibited. Note that there should be also no reflection on the glasses. Due to high number of refused photos, we kindly ask you to remove glasses when taking photo with Smartphone iD app.


Wearing clothes is obligatory and it cannot be uniform.

The photo must show only your head, neck and shoulders.

Cick hear to read the official document on the biometric passport photos by the ICAO.

How to make succesful passport photos with Smartphone iD?

Stand one meter from wall to avoid the shadow.

Hold your arm straight at the level of your shoulders.

Fit your body within the mask.

Your back camera can produce a higher quality picture

Remember if your iD photos are not accepted, the process of getting passport or any other official document will be prolonged. So let our team make sure that your photo conforms with the national and ICAO standards, and spare yourself the unease about a possible refusal!

Our software respects the standards of ISO/IEC 1979465 and the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) that guarantees ID photo quality and conformity with all the requirements (format, face angles, brightness, resolution etc.) Certain countries require stricter rules at national level that are programmed into our software.

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