In order to improve facial recognition and other anti-fraud efforts, the photo format for nonimmigrant visa processing has been updated by the State Department. The new format will provide quality photos in the Consolidated Consular Database (CCD) and consistency with U.S. passport processing. The old format is still acceptable; however, DOS strongly encourages applicants to submit photos with the new format with their nonimmigrant visa applications.

A brief list of the new photo requirements:

  • The photograph of each visa applicant must be an unmounted full face photo, taken within the past six months. A “full face” photo is one in which the applicant is facing the camera directly.
  • The applicant should not be looking down or to either side, and the face should cover about 50 percent of the area of the photo. The term “face”, in general, refers to the entire head of the applicant. Therefore both face and hair should be shown from the crown of the head to the tip of the chin and from side-to-side. It is preferable that the ears be exposed.
  • The photograph should measure 2 inches square (roughly 50 mm square) with the head centered in the frame. The head (measured form the top fo the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm) with the eye level between 1 1/8 inch to 1 3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo.
  • Photos may be either in color or black and white and must be taken against a white or off-white background. Photos taken in front of busy, patterned, or dark backgrounds will not be accepted.
  • Photos should be stapled or glued to the Nonimmigrant Visa application (form DS-156). If the photograph is stapled, the staples should be placed as far away as possible from the applicant’s face. Source: DOS field guidance or manual AMDOC#: 200303008