Passport photos, also known as headshots, are essential to every visa application. Without a passport photo, or photo that doesn't meet the requirements can lead to your visa application being rejected. Today, we will outline what is required for a passport photo and how you can be prepared to get it right the first time.
Before lodging your visa application, check the passport photo requirements on the visa application as they can be different from country to country based on your visa application. Below are general guidelines that can be applied to all visa applications.
Alternatively, you can choose to apply with OpenVisa, to which our team of visa experts will adjust your passport photo to meet the requirements of the visa application you're applying for.
Get a professional photographer
Taking a passport photo with your phone camera yourself may meet the requirements for your visa application, however, your photo is more likely to be accepted if you use a professional photographer or business that takes passport photos.
Where to find a photographer for passport photos
Photography stores, post offices and office supply stores are a few of the places you are able to have your passport photo taken. We recommend using reputable photography stores (Officeworks, Ted's Cameras) as the go to place for passport photos or AusPost Post Office (if you can get there within the opening hours).
Cost of having your photo taken
Photographer's typically charge between AU$15 to AU$20 for a passport photo depending on the place you choose have your photo taken.
Get a digital version of your passport photo
Along with a print version of your passport photo, ask the photographer to share the digital version of the (cropped) passport photo with you. Online visa applications only accept digital versions of the passport photo.
OpenVisa will be able to amend and check that your passport photo matches the requirement before it is submitted with your visa application.
Printing your passport photo (for hardcopy visas)
When applying for a visa application that is printed and delivered on paper you generally need to submit a printed passport photo with it. We recommend that you print at least 2 passport photos on high quality photo paper, however, they must be at the size required in the visa application. Printing on high quality photo paper can be done cheaply using the photo printing facilities at places like Big W, Kmart and Officeworks for less than AU$0.50.
We also recommend you print at least 2 passport photos to attach your visa application.
Taking your visa photo
Before visiting the photographer, or doing it yourself, make sure you are familiar with the requirements below so you know what to expect from the final result:
- Be in portrait (not landscape)
- Be of you (not a photo of a photo or your travel document)
- Have even lighting with minimal shadowing
- Be in colour, showing natural skin tones (not photo filters)
- Be in focus (not blurry)
- Not contain red-eye
- Be an original photo (not changed by photo-editing software)
- Not be a selfie
- Be taken 1.5 metres from the face
- Be taken against a plain, light-coloured (but not white) background with no patterns or objects
- Only contain plain clothing patterns
- Be of one person
When taking the photo, you face must be clear:
- Face the camera and keep your head straight
- You're looking directly at the camera
- Keep your eyes open and mouth closed
- Do not smile or frown
- Show your face clearly and that long hair is tucked behind your ears
- Position yourself in the middle of the photo
- Remove sunglasses and hats
- Remove your prescription glasses
- If you wear a head covering for religious or medical reasons, make sure that your face and hairline can be seen in the photo
Taking passport photos of your baby, infant or newborn
Each child applying for a visa application will need a passport photo attached to their application. These photos are held to the same standards and requirements as adult visa application photos with some exceptions. Children can be tricker to take a proper photo of and it is highly recommended that you seek a professional photographer to assist you.
- Children under 3 years old can have their mouth open but their eyes need to be open as well
- The photo must only be of them, and no one else should be seen in the photo
- Toys, bottles and other objects are not allowed in the photo. Children should be pictured in front of a plain white background.
- Face and shoulders must be square with the camera — the child's head must not be tilted
- Children over 3 years old must follow the adult passport photo standards and requirements when being photographed
- All passport photos of children must follow the same requirements such as sizing, colour, brightness and contrast as adult photos
Tips for taking passport photos of babies
Taking a photo of a baby can be tricky and you may need a few attempts to get it right. The photo should show the baby with its eyes open and looking directly at the camera.
Get a plain or off-white bed sheet or tablecloth (no patterns) and lay it over a table with no wrinkles in the sheet. Lay the baby on his or hers back and make sure there are no shadows on your baby's face, especially when you take the photo directly from above.
Wrap a car seat using a plain or off-white bedsheet (no patterns) and try to remove as many wrinkles as possible from the sheet.
Change of Appearance
If the photo included with your visa application does not reflect your current appearance, even if it is not older than 6 months, you may be refused entry into the country your are visiting.
If you have done any of the following, we recommend retaking your passport photo:
- Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
- Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
- Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
- Made a gender transition
If you can still be identified from the photo in your visa application, you will not need to submit a new passport photo. If you are growing a beard, or coloured your hair, this would not be considered a significant change of appearance.
Children under the age of 16 that have changed in appearance due to the natural aging process, generally don't have to provide a new passport photo. However, the acceptance of your photo or digital image is at the discretion of the country's immigration department.
Scanning your passport photo
You may have professionally taken passport photos that you need to copy into a digital format to be sent with your eVisa or ETA/ESTA visa application. Below are some tips to make sure that the copy of your photo meets the requirements:
- the scan copy of your photo must be straight and not tilted to the left or right
- the colour of the scan copy must be natural and not faded
- crop the scan copy to remove the white edges and edges of the photo
- the scan copy should only show the passport photo only and no white/black space from the scanner
- adjust the cropping of the photo to meet the photo requirements of the visa application your are applying for
If you can't get the right requirements out of your scanner, it might be best to retake the passport photo yourself or with a photographer.
What file format should I save my photo as?
The photo you submit with an online visa application must be:
- JPG or JPEG
- between 500 KB and 2 MB
- greater than 1200 pixels in width (scaled proportionally)
Make sure you photos match the requirements outlined by the visa application. Photos that don't match these requirements may not be accepted by either the online visa portal or by the consulate.