What Are Passport Photos and Where Do I Get Them?

Passport photos have very specific requirements and serve as a vital part of your immigration application

A passport photo is a 2-inch by 2-inch photo that includes your full face (from the top of your head to your chin). These photos have very specific requirements and serve as a vital part of your immigration application.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the passport photo sent with your application to identify you, sort of like a driver’s license or an identification card. If your photo does not meet all of the requirements, your application may be considered incomplete.

When you take your passport photo, you should:

  • Make sure your eyes clearly visible (no sunglasses, but prescription eyeglasses are fine)
  • Have a neutral facial expression
  • Look directly into the camera
  • Take it within the last 6 months to reflect your most up-to-date appearance
  • Wear normal day-to-day attire (no uniforms or headgear)

You may take the passport photo yourself with a digital camera. However, you want to avoid hand-held self-portraits, or “selfies.” You should also make sure the photo is taken in front of a white background and printed in color on high-quality photo paper. 

Also, keep in mind that you should check with the U.S. Department of State for the most current specifications for passport photos.

To avoid all the hassle, you may also choose to take advantage of a professional passport photo service. The price for two passport photos may range anywhere from $5-$15 depending on where you go. Some of the major retailers and print shops that offer passport photo services include:

  • CVS
  • Walgreen’s
  • Rite Aid
  • Kinko’s
  • Walmart
  • The UPS Store
  • FedEx Office
  • United States Postal Service
  • Costco
  • Sam’s Club

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