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Passport Photo Rules, Passport Photo Guidelines

Passport Photo Rules and Regulations

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So by now we’ve all seen His Royal Purple Highness Prince’s flawless passport photo. If you haven’t, then just turn around and go back to bed because nothing you do today will come out even close to this greatness.

His photograph got me thinking, what are the standards for U.S. passport photos? Do you think the photo department at Costco would mind if I brought along my glam squad, lighting team and personal wind machine to get that Beyonce’s air-blown look? OK, ridics I know, I’ll send the lighting guys home…

But seriously, what does Uncle Sam expect my passport photo to look like? I went direct to the source to find out the State Department’s specific passport photo rules and give you the real deal.

U.S. Passport Photo Rules & Regulations

Must be printed in color. Photos must not be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way. So forget film noir and nix the fancy #Ludwig filters.

Must be printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper. As a rule, always opt to go gloss when sporting a summer glow and matte when you’ve been holed up all winter and majorly lacking the Vitamin D.

Must be 2 x 2 inches or 51 x 51 mm in size.

Sizing: Your head must be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head. Thank goodness they published the Photo Composition Template for more details.

Must be taken within a 6 month window. “Why, oh, why can’t I use that awesome photo from summer of 2004 when I was blonde and tan? Whyyyyyy????” Oh, that’s right, because I look NOTHING like that right now. Huh. Makes sense, I guess?

Must be taken in front of a plain white or off-white backdrop. Total bummer. That means green screens are totally out of the question so don’t even ask.

Must be facing forward. And save the wink and over the shoulder camera kiss because the photo needs to be full-face view with your peeps wide open staring directly at the camera.

And forget all about duckface because the passport people much prefer a neutral facial expression or natural smile.

Good luck on your quest for the perfect passport picture, and if you have any great hints on achieving your perfect passport shot, please share in the comments below!

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Armed with the latest issue of Vanity Fair, Chuck Taylors and a boarding pass, Nicole is on a perpetual mad dash quest to find the world’s best…

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