How Big Is a Passport Photo in the US? Large Sized File Or Not

May 17, 2024

2 min. read


how big is a passport size photo

If you plan to go to a noncontiguous state, like Alaska, or travel internationally, for example, to Canada, you need to obtain a passport. The passport application process or renewal can be a bumpy ride though. You need a fully verified passport photo of the right quality and parameters to go through the process smoothly.

In this article, we’ll answer the key question: how big is a passport photo in the US? Let’s dive in.

In Focus

How big is a passport photo?

There is a list of parameters that a passport photo involves. Apart from pure numbers, there are general standards one should follow to get an acceptable passport photo. These are plain white or off-white background, the applicant’s head not tilted and located in the center of the photograph, a neutral facial expression, etc.

Before we jump into checking up on numbers, let’s go through the most commonly missed general passport photo requirements set by the Department of State.

How large is a passport photo: basics you need to know?

How recent is a passport sized photo?

You might want to use your existing passport-style photo, crop it, make a few alterations with a photo editor, and submit it with your passport application. It’s a great idea. The only thing to bear in mind is that your passport photographs must be taken not more than 6 months prior to the application date.


No matter how large the temptation is, try not to apply social media or visual editing filters to your passport photo. It doesn’t matter here how big a passport photo is, such digitally enhanced photos will be rejected by the passport office.


Glasses are no longer allowed in a passport photo. It’s relevant to any glasses: fashion, prescription, transition, and sunglasses. The passport photo rules have an exception for applicants who can’t take off their glasses for medical reasons. For example, a recent eye surgery. In that case, please provide a doctor’s statement and wear glasses for your image.

As for eye contacts, there is no rule forbidding you to wear them in passport photographs. Mind that there shouldn’t be any glare or red-eye effect in a pic.


They are forbidden to be used for passport photos with photo size, big, large or small. However, you can take your own passport photos at home and ask your friend or family member to help you with that. Now, let’s move on to the big question of photo dimensions set by the US Department of State.

How big are passport photos as a hard copy?

how large is a passport photo

The universal measurements set by the US Department of State are 2 x 2 inches, which is 51 mm by 51 mm. These are the magic numbers you need to ask for in a photo-taking facility or apply to your passport photo when taking an image on your own. What is also vital when you take your big enough passport-sized photo is that your full face must be visible and measure 1 – 1/3 8 inches from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin.

How big is a passport-size photo online?

Whether an electronic or paper copy, a US passport photo is not a big square of a 1:1 ratio. A digital passport photo file measures between 1200 × 1200 and 600 × 600 pixels. Unfortunately, grainy passport photos of small resolution are not accepted by the passport office. It’s also important to bear in mind that the color of the photo must constitute 24 bits per pixel in sRGB color space.

Memo for dimensions of how big a passport photo is

To have the key metrics for a valid passport picture at hand, save the memo below for your convenient future use. Remember these numbers are true whether you take, for instance, a Walmart passport photo or a photo for your passport in a pharmacy or private studio. Have the measurements with you just in case when you’re being photographed by a store assistant.


  • Square aspect and 1:1 ratio.
  • Width and height are 2 x 2 inches or 5.1 x 5.1 cm.
  • 1 3/8 inches from the chin to the top, measured vertically or from 25 to 35 mm from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • A file weight is between 54 kilobytes and 10 megabytes
  • Pixel dimensions are 1200 × 1200 and 600 × 600 pixels.
  • The compression ratio is 20:1 or less.
  • 24 bits per px in sRGB color space.

These are general measurements you should follow when you mail your passport application with an image or apply in person to get a new passport every 10 years. Changes in this respect are a rare occasion.

The recent alteration to the passport photo rules took place in 2016. Passport applicants can no longer wear glasses in passport images. There are also no big recent changes in whether to submit one or two passport pictures with your paperwork. However, you do not need more than two pictures no matter which way you apply for your passport. Here is a pro tip.

Pro tip: To make photo taking as easy as possible and with no stress of forgetting a single parameter, leverage PhotoBooth Online. Our passport photo online tool will walk you through the process and provide you with passport pictures of the correct dimensions and high resolution.

The advanced tool is programmed to verify your passport photo with AI for all the inconsistencies and mistakes. You have clear on-screen recommendations to help you every step of the way. The in-house visual expert will make a final check for a 100% vetted result. Enjoy your perfect passport photo!


To be able to apply with an acceptable passport image for your passport, stick to the official rules and make the most of all the recommendations on the parameters of how big passport photos are. This way, your passport photographs won’t be rejected and the passport application process delayed.