Visa Photo – Requirements and Size

Author:Tran Van Chung | 15/03/24

A visa photo is not only an essential part of your visa application but also a decisive factor for its consideration. A standard-compliant photo not only shows professionalism but also reflects your respect for the visa application process. To help you understand better, this article delves into the specific requirements and noteworthy considerations for taking a visa photo.

Visa photo requirements

Before taking a visa photo, understanding and adhering to strict requirements is an indispensable step. A suitable photo will ensure you meet international standards and specific regulations of the country you’re applying to.

These requirements include:

  • The image should be captured within a timeframe spanning from three to six months prior.
  • Your face must be clearly shown, not obscured by any objects
  • Not digitally altered by computer software to change facial features, hair, or other distinguishing characteristics.

To assist you in this documentation photograph process, here are detailed analyses of photo requirements through quality, pose, facial expression, and the use of accessories in the photo for your reference.

Example of visa photo requirements
Example of visa photo requirements


  • The photo must be in color and taken against a white or light-colored background.
  • There should be adequate contrast between the face and the background.
  • No shadows, blurs, or noise in the photo.


  • Face directly towards the camera.
  • Head must be centered in the frame.

Facial expression

  • Neutral facial expression, no smiling, frowning, or furrowing.
  • Eyes open, not red from the flash, not wearing colored glasses.
  • Hair not covering the eyes.


  • No uniforms, hats, except for religious purposes without obscuring the face.
  • Glasses only permitted for specific medical reasons, not obscuring the eyes, no glare or reflection, lenses not tinted, and frames not too large.
  • Hearing aids are allowed.

These requirements not only highlight your identifying features but also ensure accuracy and fairness in the visa evaluation process. Ensure your visa photo complies with all regulations to avoid any delays in the application process.

Visa photo size

The size of a photo is an important and specific factor, varying by the country you intend to apply to. For example, the required photo size for a United States visa is 2 x 2 inches (about 51mm x 51mm); whereas, the size for a Schengen visa is 1.3 x 1.5 inches (35mm x 40mm). This variation requires you to be aware and thoroughly understand the regulations of each visa type you are applying for, ensuring your photo meets the criteria and is accepted in the application.

Toddler and baby visa photos

Taking visa photos for infants and toddlers is a challenging task but still needs to adhere to strict regulations to ensure the photo is accepted. Below are the main requirements for taking visa photos for children in a toplist format, making preparation and execution easier:

  • No other person in the photo: Only the child should appear in the photo, no adult hands or arms supporting.
  • Straight forward pose: The child needs to face directly towards the camera with eyes wide open, head not tilted.
  • Facial expression: For toddlers, the mouth needs to be closed; however, photos of newborns with an open mouth are also accepted.
  • No shadows: Attention should be paid to remove any shadows on the face and background to ensure a clear, unobstructed image.
  • Photo-taking environment: If taking a photo at home, place the child on a white sheet or cover a car seat with a white sheet for a suitable monochromatic background.

Where can I take a visa photo?

Choosing a location to take a photo is an important decision in the visa application process to ensure your photo meets all required standards. Specifically, you can choose to take photos at professional photo services in your city or through online photo services. 

Taking visa photo at professional studios
Taking visa photo at professional studios

Taking photos at professional studios will help you obtain clear, high-quality photos and reduce the likelihood of visa application rejection due to poor photo quality. This not only provides convenience but also ensures your photo fully complies with international standards and specific regulations of each country.

Can I take a visa photo by myself?

While taking a visa photo at studios is a good option, you also have the possibility to take a photo at home, provided you have a good-quality camera to prevent blurry images. It is crucial to ensure that your photo adheres to all requirements regarding size, quality, pose, facial expression, and other factors like background color and lighting.

Furthermore, many online visa photo services can help you check and edit your photo to ensure it meets necessary standards. Taking your own visa photo not only saves costs but also allows for greater flexibility in photo shooting, as long as you strictly follow the guidelines and requirements.

What is allowed and isn’t when taking a visa photo?

When taking a visa photo, adhering to regulations about what is allowed and what is not is crucial to ensure your photo meets strict standards. Below are specific guidelines to help you better understand these regulations:

  • Parted hair: Allowed, as long as your eyes are still visible.
  • Beards: Allowed.
  • Wigs: Allowed.
  • Different hairstyle from before: Allowed.
  • Glasses: Not allowed, except for specific medical conditions that require wearing glasses.
  • Eyes closed: Not allowed.
  • Makeup: Allowed to use light and not overly bright makeup. Makeup usage must not lead to substantial modifications of your physical look.
  • Hats: Not allowed, only headgear for religious purposes is accepted, provided they do not obscure the face.
  • Earrings: Allowed.
  • Photos older than six months: Not allowed.

What if my appearance has significantly changed?

Your appearance might change over time for various reasons, which can affect your visa photo. If there have been any significant changes to your appearance since your last documentation photograph, you will need to take a new photo to update. These changes may include:

  • Facial cosmetic surgery or serious injuries.
  • Significant weight gain or loss.
  • Gender transition process.
  • Adding or removing facial tattoos, piercings.

The purpose of this is to ensure that the photo on the visa accurately reflects your current appearance, facilitating an easy and quick identity verification process at customs.

However, if the appearance change is due to the normal growth process of children under 16, a new photo is not necessary. This reflects an understanding of the natural and continuous changes in the appearance of young children. This regulation simplifies the visa application process for families with young children, while ensuring accuracy and security in the identity verification process.