Apply for a U.S. Visa
NOTICE: If you have an appointment scheduled at the Visa Application Center, your picture and fingerprints will be taken there.
Photos and FingerprintsOn this page:
When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, complete and submit the Form DS-160 online. Schedule an appointment for the Embassy/Consulate and the Visa Application Center. You will be fingerprinted and your photo will be captured when you arrive for your interview at the Visa Application Center. Note: Children below 14 years of age are not required to be present at the Embassy/Consulate or Visa Application Center for the interview in person. Hence, Parents /Guardians should carry a hardcopy photograph of the child below 14 years of age at the Visa Application Center along with other supporting documents.
During the visa process, at the Visa Application Center, 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, except for A-3 and G-5 applicants
- Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79
Digital Photo Specifications
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. Note: This is applicable for Drop Box eligible applicants and for children under 14 years only.
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. Background
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. Eliminate Shadows
Sit so that your face is fully-lit and there are no distracting shadows across your face or in the background. Relax and Look Natural
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.