Remember: No Glasses Allowed in Visa Photos!

Unknown.jpegThe Department of State changed their photo requirements for visa and passport pictures at the end of 2016.  They will no longer accept photos with glasses in the picture.  You must remove your glasses for any, and all pictures.  Their other  requirements are:


  • 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. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front 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.
  • Effective November 1, 2016, 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.

As a point of reference, USCIS has NOT followed suit.  They are ok with glasses in the picture.  The standard requirements for USCIS are (taken from the new I-485 form instructions released on 12/23/2016):

You must submit two identical color photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of the filing of this application. The photos must have a white to off-white background, be printed on thin paper with a glossy finish, and be unmounted and unretouched.

Passport-style photos must be 2″ x 2.” The photos must be in color with full face, frontal view on a white to off- white background. Head height should measure 1″ to 1 3/8″ from top of hair to bottom of chin, and eye height is between 1 1/8″ to 1 3/8″ from bottom of photo. Your head must be bare unless you are wearing a headwear as required by a religious order of which you are a member. Using pencil or felt pen, lightly print your name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) on the back of the photo.

Please let us know if you have any questions.  Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

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