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Photo Guidelines for Visa Petitions

Examples of passport-style photos for a visa petition

Passport-style photos are a typical part of visa petition. If you are filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) or Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé), you’ll also need to submit photos for both the U.S. petitioner and foreign national beneficiary.

While you may take your own photos, the most reliable method is generally to use a professional service. That doesn’t mean that it needs to be expensive. In fact, many drug stores in the U.S. provide this service for a very low fee.

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Passport-style Photo Requirements

Your photos are an important part of the process. Review the requirements below to learn how your photo should look. The acceptance of your photo is at the discretion of USCIS.

Your passport-style photos for a visa petition must meet the following requirements:

  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size and printed on photo-quality paper
  • In color
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Use of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
  • Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
  • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
  • Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
  • Eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos, except in rare circumstances when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons; e.g., the applicant has recently had ocular surgery and the eyeglasses are necessary to protect the applicant’s eyes. A medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner must be provided in these cases. If the eyeglasses are accepted for medical reasons:
    • The frames of the eyeglasses must not cover the eye(s).
    • There must not be glare on eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
    • There must not be shadows or refraction from the eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
  • If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.
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How to Submit Photos with Your Petition

It’s always a good idea to label your photos and submit them in a way that USCIS can easily obtain them.

First, write your full name and date of birth on the back of each photo. Use a pencil and write lightly so as to not damage the photo. This will help ensure your photos are not lost by USCIS personnel. USCIS receiving centers are notorious for losing paperwork.

You may submit your passport-style photos inside a plastic baggie (i.e. Ziploc). Better yet, you can purchase a transparent photo slip that helps protect the photograph. Paper clip the protected photos to the top of the petition package.

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