Photos and Fingerprints

Overview

When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you are required to bring a color photograph as part of completing and submitting the DS-160 visa application form. You should also bring a copy of your photograph to the Embassy/Consulate on the day of your interview. You will also be fingerprinted when you arrive for your interview at the Embassy/Consulate General.

Fingerprinting

Visa applicants are fingerprinted by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General as part of the visa interview. During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. There are some applicants whose fingerprints are not required, including:

  • Applicants applying for a diplomatic or international organization visa
  • Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79

Digital Photo Requirements

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.

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).

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:

Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo?
Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear should be removed for the photo. A signed statement from the applicant must be submitted with the application verifying the item is worn daily for religious reasons. In all cases, no item or attire should cover or otherwise obscure any part of the face.

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.