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  • What to Wear for a U.S. Passport Photo

    Choosing the right outfit for your passport photo might seem trivial.


    It’s more important than you think.

    After all, your passport is your global ID, accompanying you on all your adventures abroad.

    So, in this blog post, we’ll guide you through selecting the perfect attire for that all-important passport photo, ensuring you look good both on paper and in person.

    Let’s make a start:

    General U.S. Passport Photo Guidelines

    Before we discuss what to wear for a passport photo, let’s start by examining the key criteria for U.S. passport photos:

    • The photo should be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm), with the head centered and sized between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm).
    • Don’t submit photocopies, digitally scanned photos, or damaged photos, including those with holes, creases, or smudges.
    • Avoid any form of digital retouching or alterations using software, apps, filters, or artificial intelligence (AI).
    • Ensure the photo is sharp, without visible pixels or printer dots, and printed on glossy or matte quality paper.
    • Head coverings are only permitted for religious or medical reasons, with the full face visible.
    • The photo must be a clear image of your face, with skin tones accurately reproduced.
    • The background must be white or off-white, without shadows, textures, or lines.
    • The photo should be taken by someone else; selfies aren’t acceptable.
    • Face the camera directly with a neutral expression, both eyes visible.
    • Smiling is permitted as long as your mouth and eyes are open.
    • Submit one color photo taken within the last six months.
    • Red-eye correction through digital editing isn’t allowed.
    • Remove glasses to avoid glare and frame shadows.
    • The photo must not be blurry, grainy, or pixelated.

    Where can you get your passport photo?

    You can ask a friend or family member to snap your photo or opt for a professional shot at an acceptance facility or photo vendor.

    Numerous acceptance locations, including post offices, libraries, and various local government offices, are equipped to take your photo. To find out if photo services are available at a facility near you, visit the Acceptance Facility Search page.

    Alternatively,  . This option is more convenient because you can take your picture at home with your smartphone and have the printouts delivered to your doorstep.

    The choice is yours.

    What to Wear for a Passport Photo: Dos

    When selecting an outfit for your passport photo, the rules are straightforward. Here’s what you should remember to ensure your image gets approved.

    Everyday clothing

    Opt for attire that you wear regularly. Steer clear of uniforms, clothes that resemble uniforms, and camouflage. These aren’t permitted as they don’t reflect your everyday look.


    Hats and head coverings aren’t generally allowed. Yet, if your religious beliefs require you to wear specific headwear, or if you need to wear a covering for medical reasons, be prepared to provide a signed statement or doctor’s note, respectively. Ensure that your face is fully visible and the headwear doesn’t cast any shadows on your face.


    Sunglasses, tinted lenses, or even regular glasses are a no-go. If you have a medical condition requiring wearing the latter, include a doctor’s note with your application.


    You’re allowed to wear jewelry and maintain facial piercings as long as they don’t obstruct the view of your face. Similarly, permanent tattoos are acceptable.

    What to Avoid Wearing for a Passport Photo: Don’ts

    While we’ve covered the acceptable aspects of your passport photo attire, avoiding certain items can be just as crucial for a smooth application process.

    Bright, distracting colors

    While everyday clothing is recommended, opt for neutral or subdued colors. Bright or neon colors can distract from your face, potentially causing issues with photo acceptance.

    Elaborate patterns

    Avoid wearing clothes with bold or complex patterns. Solid colors work best to keep the focus on your face without causing distractions.

    Heavy makeup

    Your passport photo must look like you on your best day, not like you’re ready for a night out. Keep makeup natural and minimal to ensure an accurate representation of your appearance.

    Extravagant hairstyles

    Your full face must be visible in the photo. Avoid hairstyles that cover your eyes or face. Keeping your hair neat and out of your face will ensure compliance.

    Oversized jewelry

    While jewelry and facial piercings are acceptable, they shouldn’t be overly large or reflective, which can interfere with the photo’s clarity. Choose smaller, less obtrusive pieces.

    Stacking It All Up

    There you have it.

    A thorough look at selecting attire for a U.S. passport photo that meets all requirements.


    If you have any questions or comments, drop them in the comment section below.

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