Photos and Fingerprints
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When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you are required to upload a digital photograph as part of completing and submitting the DS-160 visa application form. You should also bring a copy of your photograph to the Embassy on the day of your interview. You will also be fingerprinted when you arrive for your interview at the Embassy.
Visa applicants are fingerprinted by the U.S. Embassy 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
- applicants over the age of 79
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. 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.
Digital photos uploaded with your DS-160 must meet the guidelines shown in the image below:
Starting November 1, 2016, eye glasses / spectacles will no longer be allowed in visa photos. For further details on photo requirements please visit here.
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 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).
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.
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.
Sit so that your face is fully-lit and there are no distracting shadows across your face or in the background. 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.
If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo, else, headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
Relax and Look Natural
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. Be sure to have a natural expression on your face when you take your photo, like those shown here:
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.