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Additional Knowledge
General Visa Requirements
Photograph Guidance
Identity Card
UK Passport Guidelines
The Tier immigration system

Ensuring Passport Sized Photographs are Valid

Usually, for applications to be valid, it is normal to provide passport size photographs.

Most types of applications require two identical passport-size photographs of each applicant with their full name written on the back of each one.

Depending on the type of application, the photographs may need to be certified by another party. You may use our commissioner services for this certification, if required.

For ease of administration, please ensure that they are placed in a small sealed envelope attached to the form and without any staples, clips, pins or anything else which could mark or damaging the photographs.

Passport Photographs Format Requirements

The format requirements below meet internationally agreed standards. If the photographs are not in this format, they will usually be rejected.

The photographs must be:

  • Identical where two photographs of the individual are required
  • In colour, not black and white
  • Taken against a light grey or cream background
  • 45 millimetres (mm) high x 35 mm wide
  • Free from shadows
  • Taken with the eyes open and clearly visible (with no sunglasses or tinted spectacles, and no hair across the eyes)
  • With the subject facing forward, looking straight at the camera
  • With a neutral expression with the mouth closed (no grinning, frowning or raised eyebrows)
  • Of each person on their own (no objects such as dummies or toys, or other people visible)
  • Taken with nothing covering the face
  • In sharp focus and clear
  • With a strong definition between the face and background.
The requirements listed above are mandatory for some applications – see introduction.

The photographs must also:

  • Be taken within the last month
  • Be undamaged (not torn, creased or marked)
  • Be free from reflection or glare on spectacles, the frames of which must not cover the eyes (if possible, we recommend photographs without spectacles to avoid the risk of rejection because of glare or reflection)
  • Be free from “redeye”
  • Be free from airbrushing or similar enhancement
  • Be taken of the full head, without any covering unless worn for religious or medical reasons
  • Be printed professionally or taken in a passport photo booth. (Photos printed at home are unlikely to be of an acceptable standard)


  • But preferable to remove spectacles to avoid any possibility of your photo being rejected.

Not Acceptable

  • Dark glasses and smiling are not permitted
  • Any dummies should be removed before the photo is taken
  • Covering of facial features is not permitted
  • The scarf creates a shadow
  • Hats are not permitted
  • The photograph is blurred
  • Portrait style photographs are not permitted
  • Opening the mouth
  • The subject is too far from the camera
  • The subject is too close to the camera
  • Hair covering the face is not permitted
  • The photograph contains more than one person
  • Even a slight smile distorts the normal facial features
  • The spectacles cover the eye
  • The background is not light grey or cream


Photographs of children aged six and over must meet the full format requirements set out in this guidance.

Photographs of children aged five and under must show a clear image that is a true likeness of the child. As young children can be difficult to photograph, children aged five and under do not need to have a neutral expression or to look directly at the camera, but they must face forward and meet all other format requirements.

In addition, babies under one year old do not need to have their eyes open even though this is preferable. All other requirements must be met. If the baby’s head needs to be supported, the supporting hand must not be in the picture.

If there are difficulties in meeting these conditions, you should use a photographer instead of a photo booth.

If a professional photographer is used, please ensure that they are aware of the format requirements specified in this guidance, particularly that the photographs will not show a white background when printed.

Please note that it is your responsibility to provide acceptable photographs in the format specified in this guidance. If you do not, your application may be delayed or, in other cases, rejected as invalid.

Please also note that the photographs provided become part of official records and will usually not be returned.