Passport Photo Guide and Where to Get Passport Photos Near Me

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Passport Photo Guide and Where to Get Passport Photos Near Me
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Published on May 28, 2024
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If you’re planning to leave the country for business or personal reasons, you must possess a valid passport issued by the United States government. A passport is a small booklet featuring the United States seal and the words “United States of America Passport" inscribed in gold lettering. You can also apply for a United States passport card, a wallet-sized card confirming your citizenship and identity. It can be used for traveling by land and sea to places like Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

Adults and children who are traveling internationally must present the same travel documents. If you and/or your family members are interested in applying for a United States passport book or card (or both), you must have your photo taken as part of your passport ID. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about passport photo services and where you can have your passport photo taken, regardless of whether you’re submitting your passport application for the first time, renewing an expired passport, or applying for one on behalf of an infant or child.

The importance of United States passport photos

A passport photo helps to verify your identity. During international travel, you will present your passport to customs officials, who will compare your face to the printed photo on your passport ID. By confirming that you are the person depicted in the photo, customs officials can ensure that your passport is being used by its rightful owner, which prevents unauthorized travel and makes it difficult for someone to impersonate you if your passport is lost or stolen.

What to know about your Visa photo

According to the United States Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs, your passport photo is vital to your visa application. The Department of State notes that digital images are required for some visa categories, while a printed photo is required for others. They add that the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply will decide whether to accept your digital image or photo.       

Photo tips for your United States passport

The United States Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs makes it easy and convenient to submit your passport photo or have one taken as part of your passport application. 

You are welcome to visit an acceptance facility in your state to have your passport photo taken. Your local passport acceptance facility, such as a post office or library, will have a white background available, plus staff on hand who are experienced in taking passport photos. Many people choose to visit an acceptance facility due to the convenience and the ability to interact with someone accustomed to taking passport photos. This person will be sure to remind you to keep your mouth closed and eyes open, for example. 

If you’d rather not have your photo taken at a passport facility, submit a printed image to the United States Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs. A friend or family member can take and print this photo for you, but you must keep these important tips in mind to ensure that your photo is accepted: 

Do:

  • Submit a recent photo (one that has been taken within the past 6 months)
  • Stand in front of a white background void of shadows, texture, or lines
  • Submit a photo that depicts a clear image of your face
  •  Keep your eyes open and your mouth closed (a closed-mouth smile is permitted if you wish to smile)
  • Look directly at the camera with a neutral facial expression
  • Take off your eyeglasses
  • Wear jewelry and keep on your facial piercings as long as they do not hide your face

Don’t:

  • Take a selfie
  • Wear a uniform or clothing that looks like a uniform (this includes camouflage clothing)
  •  Wear a hat or head covering unless you wear one of these for religious reasons or medical purposes (if you wear a hat or head covering, please ensure that it does not cast shadows or cover part of your face)
  •  Edit your photo in any way using a phone app or computer software (no filters, for example)
  •  Wear headphones, wireless hands-free devices
  • Wear a medical mask or face covering 

All of the above guidelines apply to both children and adults. If you’re submitting a

passport application on behalf of a child, ensure the child’s eyes are open in the passport photo. However, if the passport is for an infant, it is acceptable if the infant does not have their eyes open.

Printing your passport photo

If you do not visit an acceptance facility for passport photo service, you’ll need to print your passport photo at home or have it printed by a photo service company. Your passport photo must be printed on matte or glossy photo paper. The printed photo should be high-resolution, with no pixels or printer dots visible.

Before you submit your passport photo along with your passport application, double-check to ensure that your head is between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 - 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head and that your printed photo measures 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).

When to submit a signed statement

There are circumstances in which you should submit a signed statement when it’s time to apply for or renew your United States passport.

According to the United States Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs, you should submit a signed statement along with your passport application if:

  • If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you must include a signed note from your doctor in the passport application.
  • You cannot take off your hat or head covering. If you wear a head covering for religious purposes, submit a signed statement sharing that your head covering is religious attire worn daily in public. If you wear a hat for medical purposes, include a signed statement from your doctor. 

When you submit a signed statement, the United States Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs requests that you use black ink on single-sided standard paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches). 

Where to get passport photos near me

Looking for an acceptance facility where you can get your passport photo taken? The United States Department of State’s Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page allows you to search for your nearest acceptance facility by zip code, state, or state/city. You can even filter your results by selecting “Handicap Access,” “Photo On-site,” and “Photo Nearby.” 

Sources:

1. U.S Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs. Get a Passport Card.

2. U.S Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs. Visa Photo Requirements.

3. U.S Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs. Photo Tips for Passports. 

4. U.S Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs. Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page.

 

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