The State Department recently unveiled a new cropping tool that can automatically size your passport photo correctly. The good thing about this is that you’re actually getting the technology straight from the “horse’s mouth” instead of relying on someone who has quite possibly only been working behind the counter for a few days. Sizing had been a big point of confusion in the passport world up until now. You can now just go ahead and use the State Department’s official tool right here. The only catch is that you need to have Adobe Flash Play 10 or higher installed on your machine. This could add a few minutes to the process. Of course, upgrading is a lot easier than getting in the car to drive to the store to have your picture taken!
Everything You Need to Know When Taking Your Own Passport Photo
Let’s make sure you know exactly what’s required before you begin the process of creating your passport photo. The standards aren’t extremely difficult. However, the State Department is extremely particular when it comes to only accepting photos that follow all of the rules! Here’s a checklist of things to remember before you pose in front of the camera:
- You must submit a color photo that has been taken within the last six months.
- The image of your face must be clear.
- Never use filters from social media!
- No selfies allowed! Always have someone else take your photo from a small distance.
- You should not be wearing glasses in your photo unless you have been granted permission due to a medical issue. A signed statement from your doctor with your passport application will be required.
- Only white or off-white backgrounds are acceptable.
- Damaged photos with holes, creases or smudges will not be accepted.
- Photos should not be digitally altered in any way. You will be asked to submit a new photo if you perform red-eye removal, adjust the lighting or smooth out imperfections.
- Matte or glossy photo-quality paper should be used.
- No headphones or hands-free devices allowed.
- Your entire face must be visible.
- Hats and head coverings are not permitted. You’ll need to submit either a signed statement that verifies that a hat or head covering is part of recognized, traditional religious attire or a signed doctor’s statement verifying that a head covering is needed for medical purposes.
- Any hats or head coverings that are worn for approved purposes cannot obscure your hairline or cast shadows.
- Jewelry and facial piercings are allowed.
- No uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform or camouflage allowed.
How should you pose for your passport photo? The State Department would like you to use a neutral facial expression. A natural, subtle smile is permitted. You must be facing the camera with both eyes open. Avoid tilting your head while the photo is being taken. What about attire? You should simply be wearing regular, everyday clothing that fits properly.
Creating an Approved Passport Photo
What’s the next step once you’ve taken a good photo? It’s time to do the technical work of making sure the photo is sized to meet the State Department’s standards. Remember that the photo you submit with your application needs to be a high-resolution, non-blurry photo. No grains or pixels will be permitted! The correct size of a passport photo is 2 inches x 2 inches (51 millimeters x 51 millimeters). Your head must be 1 to 1 3/8 inches (25 millimeters to 35 millimeters) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
Can You Take a Child or Infant Passport Photo at Home?
You certainly can take a passport photo for a child or infant at home. Keep in mind that all of the same photo rules that apply to adults also apply to children. However, the State Department understands that it can be difficult to get a perfect pose from a newborn. The State Department will accept a photo even if an infant’s eyes aren’t fully open. However, all other children must fully open their eyes.
Review the Standards
Taking an approved passport photo is as simple as finding a white or off-white wall. The big detail to keep in mind is that you should be looking forward with your eyes open when the photo is taken. Make sure your face is totally and fully visible in your photo. Of course, you’ll need to take care of any required documentation if you need to wear glasses or a head covering in your photo. Be sure to include the required documentation with your passport application at the time of submission to avoid delays or denials. You should also review the complete standards for passport photos on the State Department’s website here.
Source: frugal travel guy