Category Archives: Blogsphere

The standards of passport photos worldwide

Passports are among the most widely accepted forms of identification in the world. One of the reasons for this is that passports are given only after the background of the applicant has been thoroughly verified and his or her bona fides have been established. A key element of the passport as a means of identification is the passport photograph. Very few countries now accept black and white photos for passports and photographs are now starting to be be gathered by some countries in a digital form so that it can be used for computerized facial recognition. The digital photograph is validated against the actual appearance of the person either by a physical verification at the time the passport is collected, or through internal processes and interviews – the procedure varies from country to country but still always requires the validation against an actual passport photo..

While each country has its own conditions and specifications for the photographs to be used in its passports, the need for a clear and recognizable image of the passport holder means that certain basic requirements remain the same:

  • The image should be front facing – photos showing profiles or taken from oblique angles are not accepted.
  • The focus must be clear and sharp.
  • The eyes should be open and the ears must be visible- they should not be covered by hair.
  • Teeth should not be visible in the photographs as this will affect the biometric scanning and recognition of the photographs.

Biometrics is a technology that more and more countries are using to make, counterfeiting of passports almost impossible and to allow for automated authentication of the passports and recording of the passport holder’s arrivals and departures. A biometric passport is one that adds a remotely readable computer chip to the traditional passport booklet so that it becomes a kind of smartcard. The computer chip stores a great deal of information, but for identification purposes the most important is a digital image of the passport holder. Using this, digital image facial recognition software can be used to verify the identity of the person carrying the passport with a far greater degree of certainty than traditional visual comparison.

Children’s photos, especially those of infants are often difficult to take, but again, while specifications may vary according to the country in question, certain basic requirements are common.

  • The baby or child should be clearly visible with the facial details clear.
  • There should be no other objects in the photos –no toys, decorations or other people.
  • The full face must be visible.
  • Both eyes should be open. This condition may be relaxed for infants but is essential in the case of older children for the computerized facial recognition.

The basic passport photograph requirements for some countries are as follows:

  • The United States: 2” x 2” Photos must be less than six months old. Headwear is only allowed id it is a religious requirement. The face must be completely exposed.
  • Canada: 5cm x 7cm. Only photos on plain high quality photographic paper are acceptable. Heavy weight paper may not be used for printing photos
  • Mexico: 2” x 2”. Four copies to be submitted and the background must be white or very lightly colored
  • United Kingdom: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. No “red Eye” is permitted and the photos should not have nay folds or creases.
  • Germany: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. The face and ears must be clearly seen.
  • France: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. Skin tones must be natural and not changed for cosmetic purposes. Wearing of spectacles in the photos is not allowed.
  • Italy: 4.5cm x 3.5cm
  • Spain: 4cm x 3cm
  • ·Russia: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. The head must occupy 75% of the total photo. No light should reflect off spectacles if they are worn in the photos.
  • Turkey: 4.5cm x 3.5cm
  • Netherlands: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. Teeth must not be visible in the photos.
  • Australia: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. The photo should not be more that 6 months old.
  • China: 4.8cm x 4.3cm
  • Japan: 4.5cm x 3.5cm
  • India: 3.5cm x 3.5cm
  • Singapore: 4.5cm x 3.5cm. Eyes must be wide open. Background should be white unless your hair is of that color in which case a darker background may us used to make the hair visible.
  • Korea: 4.5cm x3.5cm
  • Brazil: 7cm x 5cm. The ears must be clearly visible and the face not covered.

Please note that the first measurement, in all cases, is the height of the photos and the second is the width. All countries require that the photos be in color and no other person or objects be present in the photos. As can be seen, many countries are standardizing on the 4.5cm x 3.5cm size. However, due to the heightened security measures that all countries are enforcing, it is always best to check from a reliable source and be sure that there have been no changes in the passport photo specifications before applying.

Passport photographs are also used for many other applications since the specifications are so strict that they meet most requirements for driving and other license and identity card photographs. The only difference is that the size of the photograph may vary depending on where and for what it is being used. Most countries also require the same size and specification photos both for issuing passport to its citizens’ and also for the issuing of visas to foreign nationals who want to visit the country. passes the TWO MILLION FREE PASSPORT PHOTOS mark
continues to revolutionize the passport photo market, achieving 100%
year-over-year growth and increasing global market penetration

Palo Alto, Calif. – October 20, 2008 –,
the leading online passport photo service, has provided over 2 million free
passport photos to users around the globe. provides a unique
system that allows users to upload photos and generate digital passport photo
sheets meeting the specific requirements of over 60 passport issuing
authorities. is a truly global online service
provider, able to provide passport photos according to the exact specifications
for over 60 different countries. This includes ensuring the photos are of the
exact size and resolution requirements, and that the subject is properly
positioned in the photo. The process is incredibly simple; the user uploads a
suitable image to, specifies which country the passport
application is for, and a digital passport photo sheet is returned, matching
that country’s requirements exactly. is used not only for
passports, but for any photo identification, ranging from immigration permits
to student IDs and ski passes.

In the last year has seen year-over-year
growth of more than 100% in visitors and revenues. Increased exposure has come
about though online and offline marketing, word of mouth and the localization
of the interface to eight languages. Fastest growing markets are within Europe,
especially in Italy, France and Germany, where is achieving
significant market penetration and acceptance.

In addition to providing a service for consumers, has started to market its white-label solution for companies
wishing to enhance their photo ID applications. A recent example is the
UK-based Boomerang student debit card (
Boomerang selected as a provider of ID photos, enabling
students to complete the entire application process online. By avoiding the
need to rely on standard mail to accept student photos, Boomerang was able to
significantly streamline the approval process and dramatically reduce costs.

“I’m extremely excited about the full online experience our
customers get with the photo engine,” said Andy Dagger,
Managing Director at Boomerang. “Our customers get access to a proven and
tested experience while we get the operational peace of mind.”

About is the leading online passport photos Web
site and has been operating since 2005, revolutionizing the way people obtain
passport photos.
offers a branded service, as well as a white-label solution that allows photo
ID providers, such as universities, sports facilities and credit card
companies, to shorten the application and review processes and significantly
reduce costs. is a privately held company headquartered in
Palo Alto, CA.  For more information
about, visit

How to look best in your passport photos?

We often see people complaining about a recent passport photo they clicked, and most of the times, it is the photo they need to use on their driver’s license. Now, as this is the photo that is going to stay with you for years to come, do you think you can really afford that “nasty look on your face”? Don’t worry! Here, are a few simple tips to help you look best in your passport photo: 

 1) Dress up nicely

NEVER wear an old battered shirt, or a ripped pair of trousers or a tee-shirt while going for a passport photo. How can you feel nice about your appearance when you dress-up miserably? The camera might miss your dress, but it would certainly figure out how you feel about yourself.  

2. Dump your hat and sunglasses

If you think you can outsmart the camera by hiding a bad hair day under a hat or you can use sunglasses to cover up red eyes, think again! You cannot take a driver’s license photo wearing a hat or sunglasses. Dump these items and opt for a natural look on your face while going in for a passport photo. 

3. Comb your hair

You are required to have your passport photo taken, soon after you pass your driver’s license test. Therefore, do not forget to carry your brush or comb before you leave the house.  

4. Maintain Neutral Expressions

According to new guidelines released by State department, toothy smiles in passport and visa pictures would now be categorized as unusual or unnatural expressions. The person must maintain neutral expressions with both eyes open, and mouth closed. The new guidelines would permit smiling with a closed jaw, but it is not a preferred expression for your passport photo.  

Remember, a passport photo can reflect your confidence and happiness if you closely follow these tips.


Welcome consumerists!

Been a pleasure getting the warm enthusiastic appluase from the Consumerist blog.  From the day we started the ePassportPhoto way back in 2005, we felt there's some serious gap between what the photoshops and the Walgreens' are charging us and the actual value they provide.  Passport photos to all – for free. 

Of special notice, I wanted to say thanks to WILMAWONKER who posted this great photo.  Great to see that even the has serious competition out there!



At epassportphoto you upload your photo, crop it according to your
country's standard guidelines, and save the resulting 4×6" image—that's
six 2×2" ID shots—to your computer to print wherever you like, whether
it's at home, from an online service, or at that same CVS with the
myopic camera operator.

Not only will you be able to control the photo lighting and quality
(and retake the photo until you're happy with it), but you'll have four
more 2×2" shots than you get for $8 at CVS or Walgreens. And if you
need any more incentive to cut the drugstore out of the process,
consider that they also produce sets of six photos at a time—they just refuse to give you more than two unless you pay extra:

we waited for the photos to print out, I saw (with my own eyes) that
the photographs were printed on a 4″ x 6″ photo paper – and there were
6 copies on it. Then the dude coolly cut away 4 copies, disposed them,
and handed us the remaining two copies.


Introducing the Passport Photos Widget

We're excited to announce our handy passport photos widget for travel professional and bloggers.  The widget allows your visitors to easily create their own passport photos.

Look & feel? Just as it appears here:


How do I embed this within my website/blog? Simply copy and paste the one html line from below into your page:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""/>