Hair for Passport Photo: Rules & Hairstyles

May 14, 2024

4 min. read


US passport photo hair

There are so many ways we can express ourselves in life. Our hairstyle is one of the ways to be yourself or change the vibe if it feels right. Can we have our regular hair for a passport photo? Or do we need to go for classy options?

Let’s get it clarified.

In Focus


Hair for passport photo

The official website of the U.S. Department of State and the photo guide give clear recommendations on hair for passport photos for an adult and for a baby passport photo. The general rule is you need to adjust it so that it doesn’t hide your face and leaves it visible. What else?

Passport photo requirements for hair

Despite the fact that you can choose almost any hair for your passport photo, it’s handy to keep in mind what your options are. Let’s go through the list of our key instructions.


  • Whatever hairstyle you prefer, you should not hide the background of the passport photo, your shoulders, or your neck. It might be an acute question if you have a thick head of hair.
  • Your locks should not go over the edges of the passport photographs.
  • Long hair should be put behind if they obscure any part of your face.
  • Your bangs should not cover your eyebrows. Thick, voluminous bangs must be pinned with an “invisible” pin.

    That leaves us space to choose the hairstyle and hairdo that make us comfortable and passport photos compliant.


    • Generally, go for modest and elegant styles.
    • You can have your long locks down behind your back or in the front in the passport photo.
    • You can have bangs or curtain bangs, that do not cover your eyebrows or cheekbones.
    • Use gel or spray to make it neat.
    • Color and cut your hair before or after the passport photo shoot.
    • Wear facial hair: stubble, bristles. whiskers, or a beard in a passport photo.
    • Wear braids, pigtails, ponytails, buns, knots, curls, and dreadlocks. The list goes on.

    Hair for passport picture: more details

    There are a lot of additional bullet points to take into your checklist per locks and cuts. Once a decade, you need to make sure that you stick to the rules and that your hairdos for passport photos are compliant. It seems like a lot on your plate at the time, but it’s just a temporary thing, and we’ll be happy to help. Read on to learn extra details and special cases for hair and passport photos.

    Can you wear your hair up in a passport photo?

    As you can guess, it’s up to you whether to wear your hair up or down. Remember to use discreet hairpins or other inconspicuous accessories to clip your locks. Fancy, ornamental decorative pins and headbands in passport photos are not allowed. Let’s leave them for another occasion.

    Best hairstyle for passport photo

    Hairstyles for passport photos

    Now, let’s discuss cases, when you want to wear some specific types of haircuts in a US passport photo. A buzz cut, ceaser cut, crew cut, comb-over, edgar, french crop, ivy league, military cut, quiff with short back and sides, slicked back, and even skullet stand alone for being modest and elegant hairstyles. With much probability, they will not raise any concerns about being compliant.

    If you are a lucky aficionado of a bowl cut, box braids or any other braids, burst fades, curtains, dreadlocks, hair twists, or the so-called messy styles, be more careful. Your locks should behave so that your face is fully visible. Make sure your passport photo service will not cut the top of your hair for a passport photo on the edges. The same is true for fans of top or samurai knots.

    Some cuts might be borderline. A moderate faux hawk will be acceptable, while one has to look after a mohawk to stay in a passport picture in full size. You may want to choose a moderate version of the latter. Additionally, you may prefer a beehive, blunt cut, mullet, layered hair, or any other style you like.

    Different hair in passport photo

    As mentioned in the dos and don’t, the colored hair for a valid passport photo is fine. After all, it’s all about the key biometric characteristics of your face to validate your identity. Feel free to change your hair before or after the photo event.

    Bangs or fringe in a passport photo

    What to do if you are a lucky owner of funky bangs? Obviously, you can’t grow it long specifically for a US passport photo. Again, follow the golden rule – in or out. In – if bangs are not too long and do not hide your eyebrow line, or out – if they’re thick, long or heavy-set. Then, pin it back to a side.

    Best hair for passport photo 

    Every hairstyle is amazing and unique. However, your hair for passport photos should follow strict recommendations.

    Pro lifehack:


    If you don’t want to spoil your hairstyle even a little bit while traveling to a photo studio, stay at home and get a perfect biometric picture for your future document. With uninterrupted hair, use our passport photo tool right on the spot. It’s absolutely intuitive, and you can take your photo right where you’re.


    Artificial Intelligence and in-house visual experts will verify it for every single criterion, so you could enjoy your lovely hair for a valid passport photo.

    Hair for passport photo: summing up

    TLDR: To have a passport photo accepted for hair, always adhere to the three key recommendations: your face and background are visible (1), your hairstyle doesn’t go over the frames of the passport picture (2), try to go for neat and moderate dos (3).


    Can you tie your hair up for passport photos?

    Yes, feel confident wearing your hair up or down, as long it leaves your face and background visible for a U.S passport photo.

    Should I get a new passport photo if I have a different hairstyle?

    No, that is not necessary. The passport and the photo are to be changed on the condition of the drastic change of looks, such as trauma, plastic surgery, gender transition. For instance, growing a beard or wearing colored contacts before a passport photo shoot or after are not considered significant alterations of appearance.

    Is it ok if you get a haircut different from your passport photo id?

    It’s absolutely fine. Your biometric parameters are of importance to the passport office, customs officers, and airport recognition system, not the hair itself. Your new cut will not interfere with recognition as long as your face is visible.

    Can you have braids in your passport photo?

    Sure. If the braids are in the way to clearly show your face – clip them back.

    Can I have a ponytail in my passport photo?

    Yes, it’s one of the most compliant hairstyles, with your hair put away from your face.

    Can you wear a bun in your passport photo?

    Yes. Make sure the bun stays within the passport photo frame and does not go over the edges.