Photos and Fingerprints

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When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you are required to upload a digital photograph taken within the last six months as part of completing and submitting the DS-160 visa application form. You should also bring a printed copy of your photograph to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the day of your interview. You will also be fingerprinted when you arrive for your interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.


Visa applicants are fingerprinted by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate as part of the visa interview. During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. There are some applicants whose fingerprints are not required, including:

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


Photo Requirements

Your visa application photo must meet certain criteria regarding size and content. Submitting photos that do not meet these criteria can delay the visa application process. To reflect your current appearance, your photo must be taken within the last six months. If you are renewing a previous visa, this generally means your photo must not be the same one that appeared on your old visa.
If your photo does not meet the requirements, you will be required to submit a new photo before your visa is processed, even if the visa application system accepted it as a digital photo upload.

Head Size
Your photo must show your entire head, from the top of your hair to the bottom of your chin. In a good 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:

Photo Dimensions
Your photo must be 5cm x 5cm and square-shaped, meaning the photo's height must be the same as its width. The minimum dimensions for your photo are 600 pixels x 600 pixels (height x width). The maximum dimensions are 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels (height x width).

Head Orientation
Head orientation is important when taking your visa photo. Frame yourself within the photo so that your full face shows. Face directly toward the camera and make sure your eyes are open.


The area behind you in the photo should be uncluttered and either white or off-white. Sit in front of a plain white or off-white background for best results.


Your photo or digital image must be:

  • In color
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • 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
    • Eyeglasses: Starting November 1, 2016, eye glasses will no longer be allowed in visa photos. For further details on photo requirements please visit
    • If you normally wear a hearing device, or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.

More Information

For more information about visa application photo specifications, visit the Department of State's website.

The Department of State also has a photo FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) here.

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