Your photo plays a vital role in your visa application. The government has specific rules for your picture. Keep reading to discover these rules, find out where to get your photo, and get answers to common U.S. visa photo queries.
Understanding U.S. Visa Photo Guidelines
The USCIS advises using a professional service for visa photos to ensure your photos follow all the criteria. However, if you're taking the picture yourself, here are the requirements:
- Use a color photo.
- Ensure the photo shows your entire head, from the top of your hair to your chin.
- Position your head in the center of the frame.
- Keep a neutral look and face the camera.
- A 2 x 2-inch photo is required.
- Ensure your head measures 1 up to 1 & ⅜” (25mm–35mm) height within the image.
- Verify that your eye height falls between 1 & ⅛” and 1 & ⅜” (28mm–35mm) away from the photo's bottom.
- Take a recent photo, not older than 6 months.
- Taken against a white or light-white backdrop
- Don't wear uniforms except for daily religious clothing.
- Avoid hats or head coverings that hide your hair unless for a religious purpose.
- Leave out headphones, wireless, or other electronics.
- Don't wear eyeglasses unless medically necessary due to recent ocular surgery. If needed, include a doctor's statement. Learn more about eyeglass requirements here.
USCIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services) offers examples of good and bad green card or visa photos to assist you.
For more details on requirements when using Form DS160 or Form DS260, visit this link. Form DS160 is for temporary visas, including K-fiancé visas, and Form DS260 is for green card applicants outside the U.S.
Where Can You Get Your Green Card Photos
You have a few options for obtaining a green card/visa photo:
- Visit a post office or drugstore.
- Use a professional visa photo service.
Taking your photo can be time-consuming and may not meet all USCIS visa photo requirements.
You have in-person methods:
- Walmart ($7.44) and Target ($12.99). Please note that these stores exclusively offer photo printing services for images you've previously captured.
- Shipping centers such as UPS Store (approximately $11.99) and FedEx (with a rate of $14.95).
- Pharmacies and drugstores like Walgreens and CVS (priced at $14.99).
- For AAA Membership,
- Plus-level: receive one set/member without charge yearly;
- Premier-level: obtain four free sets/household annually;
- Basic: charged $10/set, while non-members incur a fee of $15/set.
Another option is to obtain your U.S. green card picture online. Services like MyPassportPhotos understand all the image rules to ensure compliance. Here's how it works:
- Take a photo using your smartphone or webcam.
- Upload to the website.
- They'll review and edit the photo to meet the requirements.
- You can have it sent to your address (if in the U.S.) or pick it up at Walgreens or CVS.
Whatever means you choose to get your visa photos, it’s important to double-check if they meet the requirements before submitting. Doing this can help you avoid processing delays, application rejections, additional costs, and inconvenience.
How many visa photos do I need for my application?
- Suppose you're applying from the States. In that case, you'll need a specific number of passport-style pictures measuring 2 by 2 inches for both the Sponsor and Green Card Recipient (Sponsor and Beneficiary).
- Beneficiary: 8 photos
- Sponsoring spouse: 2 photos
- Spouses applying for green cards outside the US using Form DS260 must bring two 2x2 photos to the interview.
- For nonimmigrant visa applications using the DS160 online form, you need to include a digital image with your online application.
What paper is valid for printing the photos?
You should print your photos on high-quality photo paper, either glossy or matte.
Does the photo need to be colored?
Yes, your visa application photos must be colored.
What should be the size of my U.S. green card image?
2 by 2 inches (51 by 51 mm).
Is it allowed to wear glasses or tinted eyewear in the picture?
No, wearing tinted glasses or sunglasses is not allowed.