How to Check Your Visa Photo for Compliance

No matter where in the world you’re planning to travel, a visa photo can make or break your application. It’s best to know all nuances in advance to avoid meeting the complications or even rejection of your visa. Several online softwares will even let you verify your image automatically. There are several ways to go about it, but luckily most don’t require you to leave the comfort of your home. 

What Are the Size Requirements for a Visa Photo?

Generally speaking, nearly all visas have the same passport-style photo requirement. Some may request a larger or smaller size, but the majority sticks to one measurement. 

For Europe, Canada and Australia the expected size for your photo is 35x45mm. The U.S on the other hand requires your submitted images to be square and 51x51mm. 

Is the Visa Photo Criteria Similar Worldwide?

While it is mostly similar for Europe and the U.S, some Asian and African countries may present alternative specifications, i.e. blue or red background instead of traditional white. Always check for requirements of your destination of choice before taking your visa photo.

Basic requirements for visa photos in Europe and the United States:

  • Photo needs to have a plain white/off-white background. You can take your photo at home using a blanket, white door or a wall as a backdrop
  • No glasses allowed. It’s better to remove all eyewear to avoid additional shadowing over your eyes
  • Eyes must be facing the camera straight. Some online tools can tell you whether the position of your eyes and head is correct. Definitely check your photo before submitting, as this small nuance may invalidate your application
  • Head coverings are allowed for religious reasons only
  • You should wear contrasting clothes to keep your silhouette sharp. Although stay clear of brightly colored items, you will want to stick to black or other neutral shades
  • Keep your hair out of your face

Photo Verification Tool 

If you had your image done at home and have taken all these notes into consideration, you may be half way there to an approval of your application. Although in case you’re having doubts regarding the quality of your image, it’s better to use an online passport photo verification tool. The automated software will establish in seconds if there’s anything wrong with your photo and suggest changes. Otherwise you may reupload your photo to a trusted online service to produce a perfectly compliant image for your travel documents.

Can I Use the Official U.S Passport Photo Tool to Edit My Photo? 

It may come as a surprise but the official service has quite a few faults. The official passport photo tool is an overall good service to produce a visa and passport photo, but, frankly, there’s room for improvement. 

Not only does it over compress the image, leaving the user with a photo of poor quality, but the service occasionally misplaces the position of eyes and head. You can fix it manually if you want to, just use a photo checker afterwards to see if the image is acceptable.

The U.S government service also doesn’t offer a photo verification tool just yet. To check your image using their software you can upload the photo and take a look at the good and bad examples. 

Where Can I Find the Official Criteria for Visa and Passport Photos?

There’s no such thing as being overly well-informed. Check the Department of State website to find the most frequently asked questions regarding the visa photo and application in general.

PKI-Security Engineer & security blogger at gbhackers.com. She is passionate about covering cybersecurity and Technology.

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