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Four Things You Can't Wear When Taking Passport Photos

man wearing cap and eyeglasses.

The number one reason that passport applications are delayed is an unacceptable passport photo. If you want to ensure that the photograph you send is accepted, you have to follow the rules about passport pictures from the U.S. Department of State exactly

Specific passport photo requirements exist concerning the size of the image itself as well as the dimensions from the bottom of the chin to the top of your head. There are rules about the background color and resolution as well. In addition, the attire and accessories you wear can affect whether or not your photo is accepted.

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Don't Wear These Items In Your Passport Photo

The following are a few items that you cannot wear when taking a passport photo. You must be aware of them so that your passport application process goes smoothly and you get your passport as fast as possible.

Wearing a uniform is not allowed when taking passport photos.

You cannot be photographed for your passport in any kind of uniform, including military or law enforcement uniforms. One exception is for diplomats or other officials who may get approval. Also, commercial employees who wear their uniforms during travel, like pilots or flight attendants, may get approval.

Wearing a hat is not allowed when taking passport photos.

You cannot wear hats, scarves, or other headwear that completely covers your hairline. The exception is if it is part of your religious attire like a turban or headscarf. Even then, your face must be visible from your hairline to your chin and from the front of one ear to the front of the other.

Wearing eyeglasses is not allowed when taking passport photos.

Neither prescription glasses nor sunglasses are allowed in passport photos. Until recently, you could wear eyeglasses in the passport photo as long as the frames don't cover your eyes. Because a high number of photos were being denied due to glare from lenses, Passport Services decided to ban the use of them. You also can't wear contacts that make your irises appear larger or smaller or obscure your eyes.

Wearing headphones is not allowed when taking passport photos.

Lastly, you cannot wear headphones or wireless hands-free devices.

You'll be photographed in front of a white background, so contrasting clothing is best. Keep in mind that immigration officials and others you may need help from while traveling can be humorless, so use a neutral facial expression in your passport photo.

Related: Complete list of passport photo requirements

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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