Compliant Passport Photo Paper 2024: Quality, Type, Thickness

January 7, 2024

4 min. read


photo paper for passport

You’ve got that fabulous electronic passport photo of yours according to all the US passport photo rules, by yourself, not in CVS or Walgreens. You might have used a compliant online service. And you even look your best self in a pic. You are an achiever! Now what?

Well, you need to print your biometric passport photo correctly and do it using proper paper for your passport photo. Easier said than done. A few add-on factors come into play. And you won’t find them on the U.S. State Department’s website.

Let’s dig deeper!

In Focus

Paper for passport photo

The US Department of State advises using photo-quality paper. What’s more, you must print passport photos using matte paper for your document application to be accepted. If it’s your personal preference, you can always use glossy instead.

You probably know that you can print your digital passport photo at CVS or any available store or pharmacy and the facility will provide the right result. If you need to print your passport photo yourself or double-check if your passport photo service uses the compliant type of photo paper, read on to learn the key points.

Best photo paper for passport photos

passport photo paper thickness

As we now understand, lustre, metallic, photo book printing or magazine paper is not on the list. The green light to the matte paper or another kind which is glossy.

Pro tip: If you vote for reflective shiny paper, make sure there won’t be any scratches or fingerprints by the time you deliver them to the passport authorities with your passport application. Such paper is susceptible to damage more than matte finish paper and can stick. A damaged picture with smudges is not accepted. Just keep an eye on it.

What kind of paper for passport photo?

Per passport photo standards, the correct size of US passport photos is 2 x 2 inches or 51 x 51 millimeters. What you can do is print passport photos on 4 x 6 inch photo paper size (10 x 15 cm). The photo paper sheet accommodates 6 US passport pictures. You’ll have free printed pairs of document photos on-hand for other occasions.

What if you have a different paper size than 4 x 6 inches? If you manage to find the rare printing paper size in the country’s market which is 3.5 x 5 inches, you’ll print out exactly two passport photos on the sheet of paper. As a matter of fact, it’s not the cheapest kind of photo paper size of all.

The number goes up from here:

3.5 x 5 inch – 2 passport photos

4 x 6 inches – 6 photos

7 x 5 inches – 6 photos

A5 format – 8 photos

A4 format – 20 pictures

Letter size – 20 pictures

Legal size – 28 pictures

We have to say, it seems like a bargain to print as many headshots as you can at a small price. But passport photos are not something to stockpile for good. Note that the passport photo expiration period is 6 months, whether printed or digital. Not to waste extra passport pictures, keep an example for non-standard photo passes or cards.

Paper for passport picture: specifics

Let’s look at the kinds of passport photo paper from the density (thickness) point of view. There are quite a few kinds. Only Amazon gives out hundreds of variants of passport photo paper. You need to choose.

How thick is photo paper for us passport photo?

Your right choice is the one with a minimum weight of 180-200 gsm (gram square meter). This will prevent the paper from deformation when the ink is spread and enhance the durability of the picture. Needless to say, that thick non-photography plain paper and printing cards are no good.

Passport photo paper for printing device

passport photo paper for printer

Another major ingredient in order to print your passport photos at home is the device itself. There is a controversy about whether to use a laser or inkjet printer. As long as it is usable for passport photos and is safe to use at home, go for it.

Remember to follow all the U.S. passport photo standards that are still acute when you’re printing your passport photos. Double-check when you create and produce your passport photo:

  • 2-by-2-inches,
  • off-white background,
  • direct look into the camera,
  • clear color image,
  • glasses off (please provide a signed ophthalmologist’s note if you can’t take them off),
  • head at the center of the pic,
  • no plain paper for printing.

Photo quality paper for passport: more tips

As passport photo experts, we know It is a hard job to put all the pieces together for a compliant passport photo. Hey, no man is an island.

If it comes really tedious, or you miss one of the ingredients like the device or reasonably priced photo paper, tap into our tips on printing your passport photos most conveniently and as cheaply as possible. Save yourself some time and money for other nice little things. You can also check our examples of rejected passport photos to be sure they meet all the rules and print them on the best-fit photo paper for your passport.


What is photo quality paper for passport?

As written on the U.S. Department of State’s website, the best paper for your passport is photo-quality. This is specific kinds of paper for printing photos.  Also, use printing paper with a weight of 180-200 gsm.

What kind of paper should I use for my passport photo?

It must be high quality photo paper, not just ordinary or magazine paper. You’ll find a variety of examples at a camera shop or retail store with printing supplies.

What size photo paper should I use for passport photos?

You can use the most common photo paper size and cut out the photo following the required passport photo dimensions, which are 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).

Can I use paper print out photo for passport?

No. Unfortunately, you can’t submit a paper passport photo, even of good quality and high resolution. Use high quality photo paper instead.

How thick is photo paper for US passport picture?

The thickness of the passport photo paper is to be of the minimum 180 gsm weight.

Can a passport photo be printed on regular paper?

You can’t use non-photography regular paper for your passport snapshots, but you’re free to use any brand of photo quality paper.

Does a passport photo need to be on photo paper?

Yes. According to the Department of State, your passport photo must be printed on photo paper of high quality.

Does my passport photo need to be on a full sheet of paper?

No. But you can use the paper size you’ve got at home and the specific mode on your PC printing app. Choose the number of photos that fit your photo paper variant. At the same time, you should leave some space at the sides of a pic.