can you wear glasses in passport photos

Can You Wear Glasses in Passport Photos?

Planning to head out in 2018 for some international travel? Want to cross some of those dream destinations off your bucket list? Looking to get ahead of the Real ID regulations and want to obtain or renew your passport in a hurry? There are a few things you’ll need to have in order before you submit your passport application for processing. One step that is sometimes overlooked is the required passport photo you’ll need to go along with your paperwork. With so many key components of your application paperwork, it’s important to ensure you have everything properly in order and ready to submit to avoid application or renewal delays. Questions like “what am I allowed to wear?” or “Can you wear glasses in passport photos?” are fairly common. We’ve put together a quick list of frequently asked questions regarding passport photo requirements below..


requirements for passport photos

A neutral facial expression, a white or off-white background with exact sizing and proportions are a few of the requirements for passport photos.

Passport Photo Requirements

  • Can you wear glasses in passport photos? As of November 2016, glasses for passport photos are no longer allowed due to glare from lights and camera flashes. If you currently have a valid passport with a photo of you in glasses, don’t worry. It’s still valid and you won’t need to update your photo until you renew again. If glasses are needed due to a medical condition, you’ll need to submit a signed statement from your doctor or medical professional to submit along with your passport application.


  • Can you smile in passport photos? In passport photos, the individual is required to hold a neutral facial expression, so unfortunately no, no smiling is allowed in your official passport photo.
  • Does the size of my photo matter? Indeed it does! The required passport photo size is 2×2 inches, and there is actually a required size ratio for your head in the photo! Your head must be between 1 and 1-⅜ inches or between 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from your chin to the top of your head.
  • What should I be wearing in my passport photo? Regular, everyday casual clothing you’d normally wear should be your outfit of choice when stepping up for your passport photo. Any article that covers up part of your face or hairline should be removed for the photo. Head coverings you wear due to religious purposes can be worn as long as they don’t obscure any part of your hairline or face. If your garments or head coverings are required for religious purposes, be sure to include a letter along with your application stating that this is the case.
  • Does my passport photo have to be in color? The answer is yes, absolutely. Your application will not be accepted if your photo is black and white, or if it has been altered using filters or photo editing of any kind. It is also important to keep in mind that the background of your passport photo should be white or off-white.
  • Do the same rules apply for a child or infant’s passport photo? While everyone knows that kids don’t always cooperate, it’s important to meet the same requirements set for adult passport photos. This is why obtaining passport photos professionally may be your best option.


While taking your own passport photos at home is always an option, sometimes it’s easier, faster and less hassle to have it professionally taken. Places like Walgreens, UPS, your local post office, and other locations near you offer passport photo services to take the guesswork out of the process. Need a copy of your birth certificate to include with your passport application? VitalChek secure ordering can help you obtain a certified copy to include with your paperwork.


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