Photos and Fingerprints
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NOTICE: As part of your visa application, you are required to submit a recent photo that was taken less than 6 months ago. Failure to submit a recent photo will cause a delay in the processing of your visa application.
When applying for an immigrant visa, you are required to submit a photograph taken within the last six months. You will also be fingerprinted when you arrive for your interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Digital 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. Applicants are not permitted to wear eyeglasses in photos. Photographs must have been taken within the last six months, and must be 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters and meet the guidelines below.
Your head height, measured from the top of your head, including the hair, to the bottom of your chin, must be between 50% and 70% of the photo's total height. Your eye height, measured from the bottom of the photo to the level of your eyes, should be between 55% and 70% - or roughly 2/3 - of the photo's height.
Your photo must be 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters (i.e. square-shaped, meaning the photo's height must be the same as its width).
7 Steps to Successful Photo
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.
Fill the Frame
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:
Center your head within the frame.
Show Your Eyes
Make sure your eyes are open. Your eyes should be 2/3 of the way up the photo, or between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) - about 60% - from the bottom of the photo. Applicants are not permitted to wear eyeglasses in photos.
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.
Relax and Look Natural
Be sure to have a natural expression on your face when you take your photo, like those shown here:
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.
Visa applicants are fingerprinted by the U.S. Embassy or 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.
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.