Depending on the U.S. Embassy you are applying to and the type of U.S. visa you are applying for, you will need either a physical or digital photo.
Physical photos must be printed and mailed as part of the visa application, while digital photos can be attached online when Form DS-160 or Form DS-260 is submitted.
US Visa Photo Requirements
The photo for the U.S. visa must be:
- The size of the photo for the U.S. visa is 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm). The photo must be positioned so that the head is between 1 and 1 3/8 inches (22mm to 35mm) or between 50% and 69% of the total height of the photo from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
- Must be in color.
- Must have been completed within the last 6 months.
- With no shadows.
- Must have a solid white background.
- Must be facing the camera.
- Have a neutral expression.
- Have both eyes open.
- Uniforms may not be worn. However, clothing that the person normally wears every day.
- Religious clothing that the person wears in everyday life is acceptable. The head must not be covered and the hairline must be visible unless the head covering is worn for religious purposes. The head covering must not obscure the face.
- No electronic devices may be worn. Unless a hearing aid or other device is required.
- Eyeglasses may not be worn except for medical reasons. For example, someone who has recently had eye surgery must provide a doctor’s statement to justify it. If you must wear glasses, the frames must not cover your eyes and your face must not be blinded or shaded by
- the glasses.
Acceptable Visa Photos
Detailed Examples of Visa Photos
Examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos to submit with your visa application can be found on the tabs to the left. Basically, pay attention to size, print, head position, background, print quality, and anything that might obscure your face (hair, shadows, light from glasses, etc.). There are helpful “photo tips” for many of our photos.
Digital Photo Requirements
When the U.S. Embassy submits a digital photo online, it must meet the following requirements.
- The photo must be 1200 x 1200 pixels square.
- The photo must be in color (sRGB color space).
- The photo must be in JPEG format.
- The photo must be less than 240 kilobytes (kB) in size.
- If the size of the photo is larger, it can be compressed to a ratio of 20:1 or less.
If you already have a photo that meets the requirements for a physical photo, you can scan it and create it as follows.
- The dimensions of the photo must be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).
- The resolution of the scanned photo must be 300 pixels per inch or 12 pixels per millimeter.
Nonimmigrant Visa Photo Requirements
In addition to the standard requirements, there are other requirements that depend on the type of visa. Some of the photo requirements for U.S. nonimmigrant visas include the following.
- Applicants using Form DS-160 must submit a digital photograph that meets the requirements for digital photographs.
- In addition to the digital photo, a physical photo may also need to be submitted.
Immigrant Visa Photo Requirements
If you are applying for an immigrant visa for permanent residence in the U.S., you must submit two photos taken on photo-quality paper that meet standard U.S. visa photo requirements.
Diversity Visa Photo Requirements
If you are participating in the Diversity Visa (DV) program or lottery, your photos must meet these requirements.
- You must upload a digital photo.
- The photo must be in JPEG format.
- The photo must be square and 600 x 600 pixels in size.
- The photo must be 240 kilobytes (kB) in size.
If you are scanning an existing photo, the following requirements must be met
- The resolution of the photo must be 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per millimeter).
If you are selected for the Diversity Visa Program, you must bring additional photos that meet the photo requirements for U.S. visas.
Where to Take US visa Photos?
The requirements for photos for a US visa application are so extensive that it is difficult to complete them all on your own. For this reason, it is a good idea to hire a professional photo service to take your photos and submit them to the US Embassy where you will be applying.
There are many services that will take the photos you need and send you digital copies or provide you with the actual photos. While this is more expensive than taking the photos yourself, it increases the likelihood that the embassy will accept them.
On the other hand, if you submit a photo that was taken with a poor quality camera, the U.S. Embassy may reject it and you will have to resubmit it. This will increase the processing time for your application and it will take longer for you to receive your visa. Therefore, it is best to take your photos to a specialty store when you submit them.
However, if you take the photos yourself, make sure that the camera is of high quality, that all requirements are met, and that no computer software is used to alter your appearance except to remove the red-eye effect.
How to Get a US Visa Photo for Your Baby or Toddler?
If you are applying for a U.S. visa for a baby or toddler, you will also need to submit a photo of them. This can be tricky, as babies and toddlers don’t sit still for long. You can either try to take the photos yourself or use the services of a professional. The requirements and tips for baby visa photos are as follows.
- The photo must show the baby or toddler and no other people in the photo.
- Infants should be photographed with their eyes open.
- The baby can be photographed lying on a white sheet, but make sure there is no shadow on the baby’s face.
- You can also take photos with your baby in a car seat, but make sure you put a white sheet over the car seat so the background is completely white.
What if I Changed my Appearance Significantly in the Last Months?
Even if the photo was taken within the last 6 months, you must submit a new photo if your appearance has changed significantly. This is necessary in the following cases
- You have undergone extensive facial plastic surgery.
- You have had piercings or tattoos added or removed from your face.
- You are gaining or losing significant weight.
- You have transitioned to a different gender.
If you have dyed your hair or grown a beard, you do not need to submit a new photo. Teens also do not need to submit a new photo if their appearance has changed during the normal growing process. As long as the photo shows who the person in the photo is, it is acceptable. However, the U.S. Embassy will decide whether the photo is acceptable or not.