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Rules for Passport Photos

Rules for passport photos are directed toward quality photos that realistically show your full face and features to make identification and passage through countries free of hassle.

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Basic Rules

Include with your passport application two identical, colour passport photos, measuring 2-by-2 inches, printed on thin, photo-quality paper and taken within the past six months.

Face size

Your full face should almost completely fill the photo (between 1 and 1 3/8 inches), from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head. Your face should be free of shadows.


No uniforms, hats or headgear should be worn. Instead wear your every day attire. If you normally wear glasses, wigs or hearing aides, feel free to wear these items for the photo. However, if your glasses are tinted or non-prescription, leave them off for the passport photo (unless worn for medical reasons).

Expert Insight

If you chose to take the photograph yourself, use a digital camera with a minimum resolution of 1 megapixel or more. Camera set up is critical. Face the camera, with the lens at eye level no farther than 4 feet away. Be especially cautious about using appropriate lighting to avoid shadows.


If your passport photo does not fit the above criteria, it may delay the processing of your passport. Professional passport photos are relatively inexpensive, between £6 and £13, and available at many places, including chemists, speciality stores, professional camera stores or other quick photo places. Perhaps the best advice to ensure prompt delivery of your passport is to defer to the professional photographer.

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About the Author

Denver-based freelance writer Diana Rowe (www.dianarowe.com) offers more than 13 years of experience with hundreds of published articles. Her articles have appeared in multiple publications including American Cowboy, Business Traveler, The Broadmoor Magazine, Motorcycle Rider News, Corporate & Incentive Travel, Event Solutions, Travels.com and Away.com.

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