Prepare for Interview & Med Exam

Photo Specifications

Your Photo must be:

  • Printed on quality photo paper
  • Sized 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • In color
  • In focus
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • Taken within the last 6 months and reflect your current appearance

You must have a neutral facial expression. Both your eyes must be open. Shadows on the face are not allowed.

    • A photo must be 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 – measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
    • Your clothing must be what you normally wear on a daily basis.
      Wearing a uniform is not allowed. Religious clothing is allowed if worn daily.
    • Do not wear a hat or a cap.
    • Do not wear a head covering that obscures your hair or the hairline, unless worn daily for religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
    • You cannot wear jewelry or other items that detract from the face.
  • You cannot wear headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items.
  • If you normally wear a hearing or similar device, it may be worn.
  • Do not wear any glasses/spectacles.

If the photo is of a baby or a toddler, no other person is allowed in the photo. The child should be looking at the camera. For a baby it is acceptable if his or her eyes are not completely open.

Not acceptable are photos copied from a driver’s license or other official document, selfies, snapshots, magazine photos, low quality vending machine photos, full length photos, or a group photo of all applicants together.

Growing a beard or changing your hair style after a photo is taken would generally not be considered a significant change of appearance.

However the acceptance of a photo is always at the discretion of the Embassy or Consulate that handles your application. Or at the discretion of USCIS if you apply through AOS.

Use the State Department’s Photo Validation Tool to check whether your photo meets the requirements.
Go to and search Photo Tool.
This tool makes it also possible

  • to select a digital image stored on your computer
  • to resize and rotate it if necessary
  • to crop it to a square image of exactly 600 x 600 pixels
  • to save the image to your computer for printing.

The Photo Tool requires Adobe Flash Player 10 or later.

Do It Yourself

You are allowed to take the photo(s) yourself. Your photo

  • may not be digitally enhanced.
  • may not be altered in any way.
  • must be in color 24 bits per pixel (common output most digital cameras).

The compression ratio should be less than or equal to 20:1.
Black and white, monochrome or grayscale images, are not accepted.
You must remove ‘red eye’.

Some Practical Tips

Taking a photo of a baby or a toddler.

  • Lay the baby its back on a plain white or off-white sheet. This will ensure baby’s head is supported and provide a neutral background. Make certain there are no shadows on the face especially if you take a picture from above with the baby lying down.


  • Cover a car seat with a plain white or off-white sheet and put the child in the seat. This will also ensure the child’s head is supported.


  • Drape a large piece of white or off/white fabric over the body someone sitting and put the child in his or her lap. The person holding the child cannot be visible in any way !