Photos and Fingerprints Guidelines for US Visa Application

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One of the requirements needed when applying for a nonimmigrant visa is to upload a digital photograph so as to complete and submit the DS-160 visa application form. A passport photograph is also required when going to the consulate on the day of interview. Your fingerprints will also be taken when you arrive at the consulate for your interview.


The fingerprint of visa applicants are collected by the U.S. Consulate as part of the process of the visa interview. An ink-free, digital fingerprint scan of the applicant will be taken during the visa application process at the time of the interview. Individuals whose fingerprints are usually not required, are:

  • Applicants traveling on official government business
  • Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79

Digital Photo Requirements

The passport photograph to be submitted with your visa application must be a recent one taken within the last six months and it must meet certain criteria pertaining to size and content. Photos submitted without meeting these criteria can delay the processing of the visa application. Digital photos uploaded with your DS-160 must meet the following guidelines shown below:


us visa photo requirements

Head Size

Your height of your head when measured from the top of your head, including the hair, to the bottom of your chin, must be between 50% and 70% of the photo's total height. Your height of your eye, measured from the bottom of the photo to the level of your eyes, should be between 55% and 70% - or roughly 2/3 - of the photo's height.

Photo Dimensions
Your passport photo must be in a square-shape, this means that the photo's height must be the same as the width. The minimum dimensions for your photo are 600 pixels x 600 pixels (height x width) while the maximum dimensions are 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels (height x width).

7 Steps to Successful Photo

Head Orientation
This is important when taking a visa photo. Your full face should show so you should frame yourself within the photo. Face the camera directly and do not close your eyes.

 Fill the Frame
While taking the photo, your entire head must show, from the top of your hair to the bottom of your chin. In a qualified photo, the height of your head will measure 1-1-3/8 inches (25 to 35mm), or fill between 50%-70% of the photo, like this:

Stay Centered
Your head must be in the center within the frame.

Show Your Eyes
Do not close your eyes. Your eyes should be 2/3 of the way up the photo, or between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) - about 60% - from the bottom of the photo.

The background behind you should be free of any mess and should be either white or off-white. Sit in front of a plain white or off-white background for a better qualified photo.

Eliminate Shadows
Make sure you sit in a way that your face is fully-lit and there are no shadows across your face or in the background.

Relax and Look Natural
Have a natural expression on your face when you take your photo.



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