Why are passport photo requirements so detailed?

Passport photos have to meet specific requirements that often seem over the top, such as making sure the person’s head doesn’t exceed a certain size in the photo. These requirements aren’t arbitrary, though; without them, it would be much harder to identify people trying to cross a border in an efficient manner.

Good Contrast

A passport picture needs to show the person’s face against a light background in good lighting. This ensures the person’s face isn’t accidentally obscured by background colors or objects. If part of the face isn’t visible, the passport agency would have to reject it, delaying your application. Or, if somehow the photo was accepted, it could create problems at the border if a guard can’t properly tell whether the photo is really you.

Reasonable Visibility

Just as you want good contrast between your face and the background behind you in the picture, so too do you want good visibility of your face itself. This means having the face be within a certain size so that it’s large enough for the border guards to see clearly and easily. You also want to ensure you don’t look like you’re wearing a disguise, which is why glasses and other accessories are not allowed. Passport photo requirements have the person in the photo looking straight at the camera, too, because changing the angle at which you look at the camera can often change how you look by a noticeable amount.


And of course, there’s standardization. If everyone has the same size of passport photo, no one will have trouble fitting that photo inside the space allotted to it in the passport book. No part of the picture will have to be cut down, and no part of the text in the book will be covered up.

Want an easy way to get a passport photo that meets application requirements? Paspic can help. When you upload your own digital picture, Paspic will check that it meets requirements and format it into a real passport photo that you include with your application. This simple procedure is your ticket to easier travel.

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