What to Wear for Passport Photo: Tips and Tricks

Are you planning on traveling abroad? If so, one of the first things you’ll need is a passport. And of course, you’ll need a passport photo too! But what to wear for passport photo? In this article, we’ll go over some tips and tricks to help you look your best in your passport photo.

When to Take Your Passport Photo

You should take your passport photo within 6 months of submitting your passport application. This is because your appearance can change over time, and the passport office wants to make sure that your photo is a current and accurate representation of you.

If you have any significant changes in your appearance, such as a weight loss or gain, a new hairstyle, or a new facial piercing or tattoo, you should get a new passport photo, even if it is less than 6 months old.

Additionally, don’t wait until the last minute to take your photo, as you may not have time to retake it if it doesn’t turn out how you want it.

what you can not wear to passport photo

Hats or Head Coverings

In most cases, you should not wear hats, caps, or head coverings, unless they are worn for religious or medical reasons. Even in such cases, the face must be fully visible from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead and from ear to ear.

Sunglasses or Tinted Glasses

Sunglasses and heavily tinted glasses should be removed for passport photos. Your eyes should be clearly visible without any obstructions or reflections.

Uniforms or Costume

Avoid wearing uniforms, costumes, or clothing that might make you look unrecognizable. Passport photos should represent your everyday appearance.

Headphones or Bluetooth Devices

Remove any headphones, wireless earbuds, or Bluetooth devices that cover your ears or are visible in the photo.

Excessive Jewelry

While you can wear jewelry, avoid wearing excessive or distracting accessories that could obscure your facial features or cast shadows.

Scarves or Shawls Covering the Face

Scarves or shawls covering the face are generally not allowed, unless they are worn for religious or medical reasons. In such cases, the face must still be fully visible.

Excessive Makeup or Face Paint

Keep makeup natural and minimal. Excessive makeup or face paint that alters your appearance significantly may not be allowed.

Facial Hair That Obscures Facial Features

If you have facial hair, ensure that it does not cover essential facial features such as your mouth or chin.

Colored Contact Lenses

Colored contact lenses that significantly change the color of your eyes may not be allowed. It’s best to wear standard, non-tinted contact lenses.

Smiling or Expressions

In some countries, a neutral expression with a closed mouth is required for passport photos. Avoid smiling, frowning, or making any other facial expressions unless specified by your country’s passport photo guidelines.

What to Wear for Passport Photo

When taking a passport photo, it’s crucial to adhere to the dress code guidelines to ensure that your photo is accepted for official documents. Different countries may have specific requirements, so it’s essential to check with your country’s passport authority for the most up-to-date guidelines. However, here are some general dress code tips for a passport photo:

Wear Everyday Clothing

Dress in your everyday clothing that you typically wear for day-to-day activities. Passport photos should represent your typical appearance.

Choose Solid Colors

Opt for solid-colored clothing in subdued or neutral colors like white, gray, blue, or black. Avoid bright or neon colors as they can cause color reflections onto the face.

Avoid Busy Patterns

Steer clear of clothing with busy patterns, stripes, or intricate designs. Such patterns can create distractions in the photo.

Modest Attire

Wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and does not expose too much skin. Avoid clothing with low necklines or spaghetti straps.

Natural Hairstyle

Style your hair as you normally would. Avoid excessive hairstyling, elaborate updos, or hairstyles that obscure your face.

Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Your Passport Photo

  • Find a good location: You’ll need a plain white or off-white background, so find a spot with a plain wall or piece of paper to stand in front of.
  • Set up your camera: You can use a smartphone or digital camera to take your photo. Make sure the camera is level with your face and at least 1.5 meters away from you.
  • Frame your shot: The photo needs to be 2×2 inches (51×51 mm) in size, with your head between 1 and 1 ⅜ inches (25-35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Look straight ahead: Make sure you’re looking directly into the camera with a neutral expression on your face.
  • Take the photo: Snap the photo and review it to make sure you’re happy with how it turned out. If not, retake it until you get the shot you want.

Passport Photo Requirements Around the World

Passport photo requirements vary depending on where you live and where you’re traveling to. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • United States: 2×2 inches (51×51 mm), white or off-white background, head between 1 and 1 ⅜ inches (25-35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • United Kingdom: 45 mm x 35 mm, plain light-colored background, head should take up 70-80% of the photo.
  • European Union: 35 mm x 45 mm, white background, head size should be between 32 and 36 mm from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. 


  1. Can I wear makeup in my passport photo? Yes, you can wear makeup in your passport photo, but keep it minimalistic. Too much makeup can alter your appearance and make it difficult for border officials to identify you.
  2. Can I take my own passport photo? Yes, you can take your own passport photo, but make sure it meets all of the requirements outlined by your government. If you’re not confident in your photography skills, you can also go to a professional photographer.
  3. What if I have a beard or facial hair? You can have facial hair, but it should be well-groomed and not obscure your facial features. Ensure that your face is still clearly visible.
  4. Can I wear a turtleneck or high-collared shirt? You can wear a turtleneck or high-collared shirt, but make sure it doesn’t cover your chin or cast shadows on your face.
  5. Can I wear a V-neck shirt in my passport photo? Wearing a V-neck shirt is generally acceptable as long as it doesn’t reveal too much of your neckline and is appropriate for a passport photo.

Final Takeaway

Remember that passport photos serve as a vital identification document, and compliance with these guidelines helps maintain consistency and accuracy in official records. Whether it’s dressing in everyday attire, keeping a neutral expression, or paying attention to background and facial visibility, the key is to prioritize clarity and consistency in your passport photo.

Before heading to a photo studio or attempting a DIY passport photo, it’s advisable to review the current guidelines provided by your country’s passport agency to avoid any potential complications in your application. Following these rules ensures that your passport photo will be accepted without delays, allowing you to embark on your travel adventures with confidence.