Whether you are getting your very first passport or you are renewing an old one, you are going to need a passport picture. You can’t use just any picture so it is important that your picture follows the requirements published by the U.S. Department of State. According to their website, these are the following rules regarding passport pictures.
- Must be in color
- Must be printed on matte or glossy high quality photo paper
- The head must be 1 inch and 1 3/8 from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head in size
- Must be taken within the last six months
- Must be taken in front of a white or off-white background
- Must be of the full face looking directly at the camera
- Must be of a neutral facial expression with both eyes open
- No uniforms may be worn unless worn for religious reasons on a daily basis
- No head coverings unless worn for religious reasons on a daily basis
- Prescription glasses or hearing devices are permitted in picture but there cannot be a glare
- Tinted glasses may only be worn if needed for medical reasons
In my mind, that is a lot of requirements and really detailed! I never thought that getting your passport picture taken was that complicated! But if you don’t meet every single one of these requirements, your passport picture will be returned and you will need to get a new one. This can really complicate things if you are in a hurry (more on how to get a rushed passport tomorrow!). You can visit the State Department website page for Photo Examples for more information on exactly how each picture should look.
With all of this in mind, choosing where to get your picture taken is really important. Lots of pharmacy/convenience stores say that they will take passport pictures, but not all of them actually take pictures that will be approved. Walgreens says that they will take your passport pictures but when my brother used them last year, his passport picture was rejected because his face wasn’t centered in the picture. This caused a huge delay in the process and was incredibly infuriating. After I got married and needed a new passport really quickly, I went to CVS to get my picture done. They were fast at developing the pictures and the State Department accepted my picture. You can find a list below of the places where you can get your picture taken. Be sure to ask around before you get your picture done though, to be sure the location you have chosen takes pictures that will be accepted!
Good luck getting your picture taken and remember if you do have any more questions you can always visit the Department of State website.