When taking the picture for the American visa, it is important to consider certain requirements. In this way, you will avoid problems. It is important to understand that we all have an obligation to follow the conditions set by each consulate.

What Are the Main Requirements?

According to the website of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, the photo should be:

  • In color
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
  • Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
  • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
  • Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
  • If you normally wear glasses (without tinted lenses), a hearing device, or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
  • Dark glasses or glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable.
  • Glare on glasses is not acceptable in your photo. Glare can be avoided with a slight downward tilt of the glasses or by removing the glasses or by turning off the camera flash.


Under no circumstances will the consular office accept photos taken with a phone or scanned ID photos. Full-length or poor quality photos are not valid either.

Requirements for Digital Photos

In some countries, the photo must be scanned and sent at the time the visa application is filled in.  In these cases the photograph must be:

  • In JPEG (.jpg) file format
  • Equal to or less than 240 kB (kilobytes) in file size
  • In a square aspect ratio (height must equal width)
  • 600×600 pixels in dimension
  • In 24-bit color per pixel.

Printed Photos

This may be the case of some consulates or types of visa. The requirements are:

  • High quality paper.
  • Size: 2 inches by 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).
  • If more than one picture is requested, all of them have to be identical.