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US Visa Photo Specifications

Applying for a US visa can be a complex task and one that needs to be done with utmost care. One area where many people face difficulty is the specifications for the photograph that is to be attached with the visa application.

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions that arise in the mind of applicants regarding the visa photograph.

What Size Photo do I Need for a Visitor Visa?

Some embassies or consulates require you to upload a digital photograph, while others demand a paper-printed photograph. The size specifications for the digital and paper versions are different.

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For Digital Photographs

  • The image can be produced by capturing an image with a digital camera or by converting a paper photograph into digital form using a scanner.
  • The height and width pixel dimensions should be equal to each other. Minimum dimensions of the photo are 600 x 600 pixels, while the maximum dimensions are 1200 x 1200 pixels.
  • The photo should be in color and have 24 bits/pixel in sRGB color space.
  • The file format should be of JPEG type, meaning .jpg extension.
  • File size should be less than 240 KB.

Note: When you compress the photo to meet the size requirements, make sure the compression ratio is less than or equal to 20:1.

For Printed Photographs

  • The size of the paper photo should be at least 2 inches x 2 inches (51mm x 51mm).
  • The photo should be in color and black and white photos are not accepted.
  • Natural skin tones should be visible and there should be no posterization effects used.

Can I Smile with Teeth in The Photo?

Yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The US Department of State considers specific expressions as acceptable on visa applications, and big grins can lead to rejection. Natural smiles are allowed and do not lead to rejection of your visa application. A natural smile is one that does not change your facial features or make it difficult to identify you. This means you shouldn’t give wide grins that make your lips thinner and raise the cheekbones. Instead, just turn up the corners of your lips and feel free to part them to show some teeth.

Be careful not to open your mouth too wide while smiling, since this will alter the appearance of your jawline and lead to rejection.

What Should Be the Background?

The background needs to be a plain, light colored one for the photo. There should be no distracting shadows on your face or in the background. Make sure there is optimal lighting, since photos that are too bright or too dull might be rejected.

If you’re traveling in 2021, I recommend checking out the updated travel rules for USA.

Where Should I Take the Photo?

In case of printed photographs, you can take the photo at your home or get it clicked at a professional photo studio. The latter would ensure that all the specifications are adhered to. This would increase the chances of your visa application being approved.

Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in the USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of experience to share about international travel, immigration and living as an NRI in the US. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+1-408-489-4785)