Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Guide to NIV

Step 2: Take your Photograph

Sample Photo

Sample Photo

Sample Photo

Sample Photo

You need to upload a recent digital photo taken within the last six months to be able to proceed with the electronic visa application form DS-160.  Please read the nonimmigrant visa photograph requirements:

Nonimmigrant Visa Photograph Requirements

Even if you successfully upload your photograph online, please be aware that a Consular officer must review it during your visa interview to determine the photograph’s suitability for use in visa issuance.  The Consular officer may ask you to submit a new photograph if your photograph does not meet the State Department requ irements for visa issuance.  You must ensure that your photograph meets the State Department’s requirements listed here.

Image Requirements
Technical Specifications
Acquisition The image file may be produced by acquiring an image with a digital camera or by digitizing a paper photograph with a scanner.
Dimensions Image pixel dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio  (meaning the height must be equal to the width). Minimum acceptable dimensions are 600 pixels (width) — 600 pixels (height). Maximum acceptable dimensions are 1200 pixels (width) — 1200 pixels (height).
Color Must be in color (24 bits per pixel ) in sRGB color space (common output of most digital cameras).
File Format Must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group ( JPEG ) file interchange format (JFIF).
File Size Must be less than or equal to 240 kilobytes.
Compression The image may need to be compressed in order for it to be under the maximum file size.  The compression ratio used should be less than or equal to 20:1.
Additional requirements if scanning:
Print Size If scanning the image from a paper photograph, the size of the paper photograph should be at least 2 inches — 2 inches (51 mm — 51 mm) square.
Resolution Printed photographs should be scanned at a sampling frequency of at least 300 pixels per inch.
Image Requirements Composition
Content The image must contain the full face, neck, and shoulders of the applicant in frontal view with a neutral, non-smiling expression and with eyes open and unobstructed and directed at the camera.

All facial features must be visible and unobstructed.

No extraneous objects, additional people, parts of the body below the applicant's shoulders, or other artifacts.

The image must be from a recent (within 6 months) photo of the applicant.
Head Size The head height or facial region size (measured from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin) must be between 50% and 69% of the image's total height.

The eye height (measured from the bottom of the image to the level of the eyes) should be between 56% and 69% of the image's height.
Composition Checklist
Head Orientation Subject must directly face the camera.
Head must not be tilted up, down, to the side, or toward the shoulders.
Head must be centered within frame.
Background Subject must be surrounded by a plain, light-colored background with no distracting shadows on the subject or background.
Focus The entire face must be in focus and not overly-sharpened.
Brightness/ Contrast Brightness and contrast should represent subject accurately.
Color Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel).
Black and white photos are not acceptable.
Color should reproduce natural skin tones.
Color must be continuous tone no posterization.
Exposure/ Lighting Photo may not be over- or under-exposed.
Avoid shadows on face or background.
Resolution Fine facial features should be discernible.
No discernible pixels/pixelization, graininess, or dot patterns.
Compression Image must not be overly compressed (the compression ratio used should be less than or equal to 20:1).
Alteration Digital enhancement or other alterations or retouching are not permitted.
When resizing, the aspect ratio of the image must be preserved (no image stretching is allowed).
Eyeglasses Eyeglasses are acceptable in photo only if the lenses are not tinted and there is no glare, shadows, or rims/frames obscuring the eyes. Glare on eyeglasses can usually by avoided by a slight upward or downward tilt of the head.
Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons.
Decorative Items No sunglasses or other items that obscure the face.
Hats or head coverings are only allowed if worn for religious reasons AND if they do not obscure any facial features.