Biometric Passport

Everything you need know about biometric passport photo

The biometric passport is a document that certifies your identity and allows you to travel abroad. When creating your application, it is important that your passport photo is valid and correctly taken. It must be in line with rules at national and international (ICAO) level. If you decide to create a photo on your own, be sure to specifically check national standards as they might be stricter than those of ICAO.

The size of passport photo

Each country can decide on its own format, so make sure to note that before taking a photo on your own. Additionally, some countries have different requirements for printed and digital format (like the United Kingdom). In Europe the official photo size is 45mm high by 35mm wide. The size of the face (from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head (excluding the hair)) varies from country to country. Some countries require quadratic ratio picture (e.g. United Kingdom).

More and more countries transfer to digital public services and accept digital photo format, specifying dimensions in pixels and file size.

What are the international mandatory regulations for passport photo?

Below you will find the main mandatory standards for passport photo in all countries to be able to travel. Take not that your passport photo must be less than 6 months old when submitting and resemble you the best way possible.

1. LIGHTING/ COLOR

The photo should have a good balance between overexposure and underexposure. It should be high contrast, with no shadow on the face or in the background. A color photo is recommended.

2. PHOTO QUALITY

The photo must be of high quality (clear, without traces or folding lines). If you submit it in digital format, make sure that the file size is not too big or too small and that it has the appropriate resolution and image depth.

3. BACKGROUND

The background should be in plain color. Some countries are more specific : allowing only off-white or white (e.g. Russia) background.

4. HEAD IN OFFICIAL PHOTO

Your head must be bare, without a hat, scarf, headband or any other decorative object and your hair must be seen. No visible accessories should be noticeable on your official photo. That includes barrettes, elastic bands and other extras. If your hair is bothering you, tie it in a ponytail behind your head. It will not be visible in the photo.

Only little make-up is allowed because it can affect computerized as well as human facial recognition capabilities.

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