Visa And Passport Photo Requirements: Size, Requirements, And Specifications

Last Updated : 4 Sep 2023

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Getting your visa approved boils down to having all the proper travel documents. Most people will ensure that all the documents they gather meet the visa requirements. However, one particular document that they overlook is the passport photo.

Having a passport photo that meets the requirement for the visa application is vital. Hence, the Schengen States have gone above and beyond to state all the passport photo requirements. these requirements must be kept in mind when taking a photo for a passport or visa application.

Fortunately, you can check all the requirements and apply for your Schengen visa directly on Atlys.

So allow me to guide you through all the specifications and requirements regarding the visa photos. Now, let us look at all the queries you might have:

Generally speaking, visa photo requirements all follow the same standard. As such, the following requirements I'm about to discuss should be applicable to most visa applications.

What Are The Schengen Visa Photo Requirements?

Thankfully, the European Union countries have adopted a common standard regarding visa application photos. This ensures that you can follow this guide when taking a photo for any visa type in the Schengen area.

Before we dive into the details and specifications of the visa photo, let us first see the basic requirements. Any photos taken with these requirements should yield great end results, and you will have perfect passport photos.

I have made a list of those requirements for you:

    You need two identical photos which are not older than six months.

    The Schengen visa photo size must have a width of 35 mm and a height of 45 mm.

    The Schengen visa photo must be in color. Black and white photos are not allowed.

    Your head should take 70-80% of the photo.

    The photo's background should be lightly colored, such as white, off-white, or grey.

    There should be no patterns or objects in the photo background.

    The person should be looking straight at the camera.

    The applicant's facial expression should be neutral with a closed mouth and not laughing.

    Ensure that your clothes do not match the background.

    No parts of uniforms should be visible in the photos.

    Submitted visa photos should not have marks, stains, or creases.

How Does The Schengen Visa Photo Look?

I have attached a sample Schengen visa photo below to make understanding the requirements easier. As you can see in the photo, it must have a plain background, and your head should be in the center of the photo.

The photo should be bright and clear with no obstruction before the applicant's face. The colors should be natural on the printed photos, and the photo should accurately reproduce your skin color.

What Are The Specifications For The Schengen Visa Photo?

While taking your visa photo, you must keep several things in mind. However, it is essential to understand why you must adhere to these photo requirements.

The main reason is, that the facial biometric data is stored in Visa Information System or VIS, used by the Schengen Members collectively. Therefore, if the described requirements are not followed, the facial recognition of the applicant will not function, nor will the image be reproduced correctly in the document.

I have covered each specification and elaborated on all detail below:

Format For The Schengen Visa Photo

To avoid getting your Schengen visa rejected, ensure that your passport photo matches the required specifications accurately. First, you must make sure that the photo is of high quality.

Your Schengen visa photo size must be 35mm in width and 45 mm in height, and your face must take up 70 – 80% of the picture. All your facial features should be visible in the photo, including the bottom of the chin to the top of your head and both, the left and right sides of the face.

The visibility of your face in the photo should be to a height of 32 – 36mm. If your face measures less than 27mm or more than 40mm in the passport photo, it can cause your Schengen visa photo to get rejected.

The face must be centered in the photo, and the entire head, including hair o hairstyle, must be visible. The Schengen visa photo size must be clear and must not reduce the size of the face.

Lighting, Focus, And Contrast In The Schengen Visa Photo

The lighting in the photo should be such that the applicant's face and eyes are clearly visible and sharply in focus. A blurry, too bright, or poor contrast photograph can get rejected.

The photo should be uniformly bright, with no dark or bright patches as well as no shadows should be visible. Make sure that there is no reflection and that the applicant's eyes do not appear red in the photo.

Background And Quality Of The Schengen Visa Photo

The photos must have a plain background with no visible objects and no patterns of any kind. The background should be bright, and of one color, preferably off-white or grey, and no shadows should be visible in the background.

The photo background can be in a contrasting color to the face and hair of the applicant. For instance, for light-colored hair, a medium-grey background is suitable, while a light-grey background is suitable for dark hair.

The photos must be of high quality with a minimum of 600 dpi. The natural skin tone of the applicant, as well as the photo, should have a proper color balance. The submitted Schengen visa photo should not have marks, stains, or creases.

Facial Expressions In The Schengen Visa Photo

The applicant should be looking straight into the camera's lens, and the head of the applicant should be in the center of the photo. The applicant should not tilt or turn their head while getting photographed. The applicant's eyes should be clearly visible in the photo, without hair or eyeglass frames covering them.

The person getting photographed must have their mouth closed; however, you can smile slightly in the picture.

Resolution Of The Schengen Visa Photo

The photo should be of high quality to capture the facial biometric data of the applicant. The photo's resolution should be no less than 600 dpi and the maximum - 1200 dpi. The best way to get a high resolution is by taking a photo with a digital camera. The applicant must print the photo on good photo-quality paper. Additionally, the Schengen visa photo size must have a width of 35 mm and a height of 45 mm.

Please check out our Schengen Visa guide for more information related to the Schengen Visa.

Do Children Need To Meet Schengen Visa Photo Requirements?

Most Schengen countries have relaxed rules regarding pictures, especially for children under 9 years. However, a picture is required when you apply for any visa type for your children. Some specification for children’s photos is that the face should take up 50 – 80% of the photo. The face from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head (not the top of the hair) should measure between 22 and 36mm. The Schengen visa photo size is same as the adult photo size.

Children Under 5 Years Old

As mentioned earlier, the photo requirements are relaxed for children under this age. For example, unlike adults, the children do not have to keep a neutral expression or look directly at the camera. In addition, their heads do not have to be centered in the photo.

Though looking directly at the camera is not required, the color of their eyes should be visible in the photo. See below the pictures to understand the photo requirements better.

Babies Under 6 Months

Newborns and babies under 6 months can be photographed lying down or on a baby chair. There should be or background of one color a plain white sheet when taking a picture of the baby lying down or on a baby chair. However, ensure that no accessories used to support the baby are visible in any photographs, such as hands, toys or baby chair.

It is not stipulated in the requirements that babies must look straight at the camera, and it is no problem if the baby's eyes are closed. It is also okay if the baby's mouth is opened in the picture.

The rest of the requirements, such as the format, distance, brightness, and background, also apply to all children's pictures. If the face measures less than 17mm or more than 40mm would be rejected.

Can I Wear Glasses Or Head Covering In The Schengen Visa Photo?

You are allowed to wear a religious head covering and eyeglasses as long as they do not obstruct a clear view of your face and eyes.

Know that you are not allowed to submit photos with head coverings such as hats or caps. Religious head covering is permitted if the entire face is visible from the bottom of the chin to the forehead. Ensure that the covering does not cast any shadow on the applicant's face.

Applicants wearing eyeglass should remember that flash reflection off the lenses, tinted lenses, or sunglasses are not permitted. In addition, the frames of your glasses should not cover any part of the eye, and your eyes are clearly visible in the photo. Photographs with red eyes are not acceptable.

that exceptions to this and the other requirements may be made in case of a permanent medical condition.

Where Can I Take The Schengen Visa Photo?

With advanced technology, your friend or family member can take a picture of you at home, and you can print them anywhere near you. You can even use photo tools to crop your picture at home before printing.

Many facilities such as post offices, libraries, and local government offices will take your photo and even print them for you. In addition, photo vendors in shopping centers and malls can take your passport photo; however, they charge different fees.

How To Get A Schengen Visa?

To travel to any Schengen counter, you will have to apply for an entry visa. To learn more about the visas and how to apply, you can check out a detailed post on Schengen Visas here on Atlys.

I will briefly explain how you can apply for a short-stay visa such as your tourist, visitor, or business visa type from your home country.

Below is a list of required documents for any short-term Schengen visa application:

Visa application form

    Two recently taken photos

    A valid passport with at least two blank pages

    Round trip reservation or itinerary, including dates for entry and exit from the Schengen area

    Travel insurance policy with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros for medical emergencies, illnesses, accidents, and even repatriation in case of death

    Proof of accommodation such as a hotel/hostel booking, a rental agreement, or a letter of invitation from a host (if not a citizen, a copy of residence permit is needed)

    Proof of financial means such as bank account statement no older than 3 months.

    Sponsorship letter

    Proof of paid visa fee

You might be required to submit several additional documents depending on the type of Schengen visa you applied for.

You must arrange an appointment with the visa application centre since the consular services use external service providers. They will receive your visa application, review it, collect the visa fee, capture your biometric data, and retain your passport and copies of all your supporting documents to forward to the consulate.

Please note that visa processing time will be, on average, 5 weeks.

The European Union is soon going to introduce ETIAS or European Travel Information and Authorization System which might change the current entry process for visa-free countries. Make sure to check out our blog on it for more information.

These photo requirements and specifications apply to all the Schengen countries. A photo clicked with these specifications will prevent your visa from getting rejected.

Do not forget to check out our other blogs on Schengen Area.

Happy Traveling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Unfortunately, you CAN NOT have a black and white Schengen visa photo. The photos must be in color.