Photos and Fingerprints

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ATTENTION! If you have an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC), a VAC agent will take your fingerprints and photograph. Although you will need to upload a compliant photograph with your CEAC form, you will no longer need to bring a physical photograph to any interview.

Overview

When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you are required to upload a digital photograph taken within the last six months as part of completing and submitting the Form DS-160. A Visa Application Center (VAC) agent will take your fingerprints and photograph during your VAC interview. ATTENTION! Applicants age 8 and younger do not have to personally attend the VAC and Embassy interviews. Their parents or legal guardians can present the supporting documents, including a compliant photo. See photo submission requirements below.

Fingerprinting

Visa applicants are fingerprinted at the Visa Application Center prior to the visa interview at the Embassy. The VAC agent will quickly take an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan. There are some applicants whose fingerprints are not required, including:

  • Applicants traveling on official government business, except for A-3 and G-5 applicants
  • Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 80

Digital Photo Requirements

Starting November 1, 2016, eye glasses will no longer be allowed in visa photos.  For further details on photo requirements please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html.

Your visa application photo must meet certain criteria regarding size and content. Submitting photos that do not meet these criteria can delay the visa application process. To reflect your current appearance, your photo must be taken within the last six months. If you are renewing a previous visa, this generally means your photo must not be the same one that appeared on your old visa.

If your photo does not meet the requirements, you will be required to submit a new photo before your visa is processed, even if the visa application system accepted it as a digital photo upload

 

Head Size

Your head height, measured from the top of your head, including the hair, to the bottom of your chin, must be between 50% and 70% of the photo's total height. Your eye height, measured from the bottom of the photo to the level of your eyes, should be between 55% and 70% - or roughly 2/3 - of the photo's height.

Photo Dimensions

Your photo must be square-shaped, meaning the photo's height must be the same as its width. The minimum dimensions for your photo are 600 pixels x 600 pixels (height x width). The maximum dimensions are 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels (height x width). For applicants who must submit printed photographs (children ages 8 and younger), the printed photo should measure 2x2 inches (50x50 mm).

7 Steps to Successful Photo

Head Orientation

Head orientation is important when taking your visa photo. Frame yourself within the photo so that your full face shows. Face directly toward the camera and make sure your eyes are open.

Fill the Frame

Your photo must show your entire head, from the top of your hair to the bottom of your chin. In a good photo, the height of your head will measure 1-1-3/8 inches (25 to 35mm), or fill between 50%-70% of the photo, like this:

Stay Centered

Center your head within the frame.

Show Your Eyes

Make sure your eyes are open. Your eyes should be 2/3 of the way up the photo, or between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) - about 60% - from the bottom of the photo.

Background

The area behind you in the photo should be uncluttered and either white or off-white. Sit in front of a plain white or off-white background for best results.

Eliminate Shadows

Sit so that your face is fully-lit and there are no distracting shadows across your face or in the background.

Relax and Look Natural

Be sure to have a natural expression on your face when you take your photo, like those shown here:

Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.

More Information

For more information about visa application photo specifications, visit the Department of State's website.

The Department of State also has a photo FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) here.