New Photo Requirements for U.S. Visas

It was recently announced that as of November 1, 2016, eyeglasses are no longer permitted to be worn in new visa photos, with the exception of rare cases in which an applicant cannot remove the glasses due to existing medical circumstances. Should an applicant need to wear eyeglasses when the photo is taken, they will need to provide a signed statement from a medical professional, and there should not be any glares, shadows, etc. that cover or obscure the eyes in the photo. When it comes to applying for a visa, the photograph you submit is a major component to your application and in addition to the newly announced requirement about eyeglasses, there are many other guidelines that must be met in order for it to be accepted by the U.S. embassy or consulate in which you are applying. The current requirements are as follows:

  • Photo must be in color.
  • Photo should follow specific size requirements.
  • Photo should be no more than 6 month old.
  • Background should be plain white or off white.
  • Photo should be taken with applicant directly facing the camera.
  • Facial expression of the applicant should be neutral and both eyes should be open.
  • Applicant should be wearing normal clothing that he/she would be wearing on a regular basis.
  • No uniforms are to be worn in the photo with the exception of religious clothing that is worn daily.
  • Hats and head coverings are not permitted unless it is for religious purposes and worn on a daily basis by the applicant.
  • Eyeglasses are not permitted (as noted above).
  • Photo should not picture any headphone or wireless devices.
  • Applicants who wear a hearing device or something similar on a daily basis must be sure to wear it during the photo.

It is important to note that depending on the visa you are applying for, you may be prompted to upload a digital copy of your photo when filling out your application, or you may be asked to submit a physical copy. Because of this, you will want to be sure to review the instructions for the specific visa you are applying for as well as the requirements for the specific embassy or consulate in which you are applying. To ensure that your photo meets all requirements and guidelines, it is highly recommended that you use a professional visa photo service to have your picture taken, however, you may also take the photo yourself. Should you choose to do so, you will want to use the Department of State’s free photo tool to check your proof for eligibility.  For more information on additional requirements and guidelines, refer to our article, Requirements for U.S Visas.