Passport Photos – Make Sure to Do it Right

Passport Photos – Make Sure to Do it Right

"must do's for passport photos"

Passport Photos – SMILE or NO SMILE

Getting a passport to travel outside of the United States can be very stressful. Unless you are the ultimate planner and have a lot of time prior to taking that vacation of a lifetime – you need to make sure when you apply for your passport, that you fill out the forms correctly, in addition to making sure you have the proper passport photo.

What is a proper passport photo? Should you smile, show your teeth, wear that crazy tie dye shirt? Should you take the photo yourself or should you run to the local drugstore for your passport photo? The proper photo is a necessity – because one mistake and you will have to re-do your photo and re-submit your passport application. As someone who has been faced with expediting my passport and receiving it with one day to spare, I recommend getting your passport photo right the first time.

Passport Photo RULES:

  • Photo must have a PLAIN white or off-white background (if you are taking the photo yourself you can use a white wall or a white sheet)
  • Photo must be in COLOR – black and white photos are NOT allowed
  • FRONT View only – no profile photos allowed
  • You can Smile but your eyes MUST be OPEN. You are best off having a neutral smile – not your best party smile
  • Photo must be current and taken within the past six months. If you took your passport photo last year and never mailed it in – it is time to re-take the photo.
  • Photo size is 2 x 2.  You may have that amazing 8 x 10 photo that meets all the requirements but if the photo isn’t 2 x 2 it will NOT be accepted. Do NOT even try to submit anything but the correct size.

If you insist upon taking the photo yourself, remember selfies are not acceptable. You can’t edit the photo in ANY way. This means those apps to get rid of your acne or dark circles under your eyes are a big no-no. The Department of State also has a tool to help you use your own photo. Go to to find out more information.

Get more info on how you can get your Passport Expedited quickly.

If you need someplace safe to keep your passport when traveling, while still being fashionable here are some great options.

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