Preparing Your Entry

Photo Requirements/Specifications

Do NOT use a photo you already used to enter a previous DV Lottery. If you do you will be disqualified.

Your photo must be a Digital Image ready for upload.
The photo must be made according to the specifications set by the U.S. Department of State.

Your photo must be:

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

You must have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile. Both your eyes must be open. Shadows on the face are not allowed. Do not tilt your head forward, backwards or to one side.

  • The image 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, camouflage attire, or an outfit resembling 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 the 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 aid it may be worn.
  • Do not wear any glasses/spectacles.

If an image is of a baby or a toddler no other person is allowed in the picture. A child should be looking at the camera with his or her eyes open. A baby can have its eyes (partially) closed.

Growing a beard or changing your hair style after a picture is taken would generally not be considered a significant change of appearance.
The acceptance of an image is always at the discretion of the Department of State.

Digital Image Specifications
  • The image dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (height must equal width).
  • Image size must be 600 x 600 pixels.
  • Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel).
    This is the common output for most digital cameras.
    24-bit B&W images, or 8-bit images in B&W or color are not accepted.
  • Image must be in JPEG (.jpg) file format.
  • Image must be equal to or less than 240 kB (kilobytes) in file size. The image may be compressed to fit the maximum file size. The compression ratio should be less than or equal to 20:1.

If you have no Digital Image you can scan an existing photo.
In addition to the above requirements the photo must be:

  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
  • Scanned at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (12 pixels per millimeter)

Setting for the scanner must be for True Color or 24-bit color mode.
Black and white, monochrome or grayscale images are not accepted.

Scanning a photo from a driver’s license or other official document is not acceptable. Also not acceptable for scanning: selfies, snapshots, mobile phone photos, magazine photos, low quality vending machine photos.
A full-length photo is not accepted. A group photo of all applicants together is not accepted either.

Use the eDV Photo Tool

Before you begin your entry use the Photo Tool on the eDV site to check whether your photo meets the requirements including the additional DV program specifications. The Photo 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 uploading.

The Photo Tool requires Adobe Flash Player 10 or later.

Do It Yourself

You are allowed to take the pictures yourself. But these Images

  • may not be digitally enhanced
  • may not be altered in any way

However you must remove ‘red eye’ caused by flash light.

Some practical tips:

Taking a photo of a baby or a toddler.

  • Lay the baby on his or her 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.
  • OR
  • 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.
  • OR
  • 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 !

Our VISA PHOTO App can be downloaded for FREE on Google Play.

FREE DV Lottery Photo Tool.