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 or Consulate on the day of your interview. You will also be fingerprinted when you arrive for your interview at the Embassy or Consulate.


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, except for A-3 and G-5 applicants
  • Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79


Digital Photo Requirements

Your visa application photo must have been taken within the last six months and meet certain criteria regarding size and content. Submitting photos that do not meet these criteria can delay the visa application process. Digital photos uploaded with your DS-160 must have been taken within the last six months, and must meet the guidelines shown in the image below:

Head Size
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.

Photo Dimensions
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
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:


Stay Centered

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.

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:


More Information

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.