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US Visa Photo Requirements – Complete Guide

Here's everything you need to know about US visa photo requirements and guidelines.


Have you ever wondered what the requirements are for a photo on a United States visa application? While the process may seem daunting, it’s actually quite simple. With a little preparation and attention to detail, you can ensure that your photo will be accepted every time. Here are the US visa photo requirements that you need to know.

DS-160 Application US Visa Photo Requirements

When applying for a U.S. visa, you will need to submit a recent photograph as part of your application. The DS-160 application asks for specific photo requirements that must be met in order for your application to be accepted.

Here are the US visa photo requirements.

  • The photo must be in color.
  • It must be taken within the last six months.
  • It must be a passport-style photograph.
    This means that the photo must be 2 inches by 2 inches, and it must be taken against a white or off-white background.
  • The photo must be of your full face, and you must be looking directly into the camera.
  • You cannot wear anything on your head, including hats, sunglasses, or veils.
  • You cannot have anything blocking your face, such as hair or jewelry.
  • The photograph must be taken against a white or off-white background.
    This ensures that the photograph can be easily scanned and that the facial features of the applicant are clearly visible.
  • The photo must be taken in front of a plain background.
    This helps to prevent the photograph from being distorted when it is scanned.
  • The photo must be taken with a neutral expression.
    This helps to prevent the photograph from being distorted when it is scanned.
  • The photo must be taken with the head straight and centered in the frame.
    This helps to prevent the photograph from being distorted when it is scanned.
  • The photo must be taken with the eyes open and visible.
    This helps to ensure that the photograph can be used to accurately identify the visa applicant.
  • The photo must be taken with the mouth closed.
    This helps to prevent the photograph from being distorted when it is scanned.
  • The photo must be taken in full-face view directly facing the camera.
    This helps to ensure that the photograph can be used to accurately identify the visa applicant.
  • The photo must be taken with uniform lighting.
    This helps to prevent the photograph from being distorted when it is scanned.
  • The photo must be taken in a high-resolution setting.
    This helps to ensure that the photograph can be used to accurately identify the visa applicant.

If you cannot meet these requirements, you will need to take a new photo, that does meet the requirements.

Examples of Acceptable Photos for USA Visa

Example of Acceptable US Visa Photo Requirements

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No Shadows, Light & Filters

US Visa Photo Requirements Lighting

The photo should be clear and in color. Reproduce skin tones accurately, and should be properly exposed with no shadows or use of filters or color alternations.

No Glasses

US Visa Photo Requirements - No Glasses

Even if you wear glasses every day, you must remove your glasses for US visa photo.

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Head Position – Centered

Full head should be seen and centered within the photo with proper spacing around the head.

Photo should be 2”x 2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).

US Visa Photo Requirements Head Position

Photo Quality – Sharp without Blur or Pixelations

Make sure the photo is sharp and focused with no pixelations or blurring.

Photo Quality Requirements for US Visa Photo

No Digital Alternations – No Cropping, Resizing etc

Do not digitally alter the photo like removing backgrounds, resizing, cropping etc.

No Digital Alterations for US Visa Photo

Keep a Neutral Expression

Have a neutral pose, with eyes clearly visible and head centrally positioned.

US Visa Photo Requirements - Neutral Expression

Attire Shouldn’t Obstruct Face

Your full face should be visible, with no shadows or clothing obscuring the face.

You may not wear hats or head coverings, except for religious or medical purposes.

Attire for US Visa Photo

Any kind of attire that covers your full face is not acceptable. Ex: Hats and Religious head coverings that obstruct full face view.

Attire for US Visa Photo

Photo Background Should be Uniform

The photo’s background should be uniform, either plain and white or off-white, and free of shadows.

Background Requirements for US Visa Photo

US Visa Photo Requirements for Children

  • Ensure the child’s head is facing forward with a neutral facial expression.
  • No other person should be in the photo, and the child should face the camera with his/her eyes open.
  • Ensure child’s hair is not covering the face.
  • The child’s full face must be visible. Remove objects obscuring portions of the face.
US Visa Photo Requirements for Child

How to prepare for your US visa photo

When you are getting your US visa photo taken, there are a few things that you should keep in mind in order to make sure that the photo turns out well.

First, you should make sure that you have a neutral expression on your face.

You should also avoid wearing any type of headwear, including hats and sunglasses.

If you cannot remove your headwear, then you should make sure that it does not obscure your face in any way.

Finally, you should make sure that the background of the photo is plain and simple.

Can you use apps to edit photos for US visa?

While there are several apps available to edit your already existing photos and convert them to US visa photo requirements, we wouldn’t recommend using them.

They usually edit the photos and this is not recommended by USCIS.

Where to take photos for US visa?

We recommend you either follow the US photo requirement guidelines and click photos at home with a good high-resolution DSLR camera, good lighting and plain and white background.

Or, go to a professional photo studio and get your photo clicked. Show them the requirements above.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Do not take photos on your phone.
  • Do not use online apps/ photo editors.
  • Do not use photos taken for other purposes.

All the best!

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