How many pics are needed for passport?

Quick Answer

Most countries require 2 passport photos when applying for a new passport. The 2 photos should be identical and meet the passport photo requirements for size, background, expression, etc. Some countries like the US allow 1 photo if renewing an undamaged passport.

How Many Passport Photos are Required?

The number of passport photos required depends on the country and situation:

Applying for a New Passport

Country # of Photos Required
United States 2
Canada 2
United Kingdom 2
Australia 2
New Zealand 2

Most countries require two identical passport photos when applying for a new passport book or card. This includes the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations globally. The reason two photos are needed is to meet security requirements and have a backup if one photo gets damaged or rejected.

Renewing a Passport

Country # of Photos Required
United States 1 (2 if passport is damaged)
Canada 2
United Kingdom 2
Australia 2
New Zealand 2

When renewing a passport, most countries still require 2 new photos. However, the United States only requires 1 new photo if renewing an undamaged passport book or card less than 16 years old. Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand all specify 2 new photos must be submitted when renewing, even if the old passport is undamaged.

Replacing a Lost or Stolen Passport

If your passport is lost or stolen, most countries require 2 new passport photos when applying for a replacement. The requirements are the same as applying for a new passport.

This includes:

  • United States – 2 photos
  • Canada – 2 photos
  • United Kingdom – 2 photos
  • Australia – 2 photos
  • New Zealand – 2 photos

Even though you may still have a valid passport, you still need to provide 2 new photos when replacing a lost or stolen passport in most countries.

Child Passport Requirements

Country # of Photos for Child’s Passport
United States 2
Canada 2
United Kingdom 2
Australia 2
New Zealand 2

Children and infants need to submit 2 passport photos in most countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Often one photo needs to show the child’s face clearly while the other can show the eyes open or closed.

Some countries have different photo criteria for a child’s passport compared to an adult. Be sure to check the latest child passport photo requirements.

Passport Photo Size Requirements

Passport photos need to meet certain size and dimension requirements worldwide. This helps ensure compatibility with passport processing systems and technology readers globally.

Some general passport photo size requirements include:

  • Taken in color
  • Printed on high quality photo paper
  • Sized at 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • Head must be between 1 – 1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from bottom of chin to top of head
  • Printed in 600 dpi resolution or higher

However, dimensions may vary slightly by country. Be sure to check your official country’s passport agency website for the specific photo size guidelines.

For example:

Country Passport Photo Size Requirements
USA 2 x 2 inches
Canada 35–40mm x 45–50mm
UK 45mm x 35mm
Australia 35–40mm x 45–50mm
New Zealand 35mm x 45mm

As shown above, while passport photos are generally around 2 inches x 2 inches, exact size varies slightly between countries. Failure to meet the proper dimensions could lead to a rejection.

Review passport photo templates if unsure about sizes. Many print shops and pharmacies also provide passport photo services that meet all requirements.

Passport Photo Quality Standards

In addition to proper sizing, passport photos must meet certain quality standards worldwide regarding:

  • Lighting
  • Focus
  • Clarity
  • Head positioning
  • Background color
  • No shadows
  • White balance
  • No redeye

Photos should have a uniform lighting with no shadows. The face should be clearly visible with eyes open and focused straight ahead. Expressions should be neutral.

The head should cover between 50%-69% of the photo’s vertical frame. The background should be a plain, light colored surface, such as white or off-white. There should be no objects or other people behind the subject.

Photos should be color-balanced and free of redeye. Some countries prohibit retouching of any kind. Check your country’s requirements before submitting. Poor quality photos can lead to passport application rejection.

Many photo printing services at drug stores and offices can correctly print to all quality guidelines. Home computer printed photos may fall short on standards.

Additional Passport Photo Rules

Beyond technical photo specifications, passport photos for all countries must also:

  • Be taken in last 6 months
  • Use a plain expression (no smiling, laughing)
  • Have eyes open and visible
  • No head coverings except for religious reasons
  • Glasses removed (or glare free)
  • No hair across eyes

Due to biometric security and identification reasons, passport photos must show a clear, front-facing view of the your full face. Remember to remove glasses for photos in many countries.

Children can be pictured awake or asleep. Some cultures accept smiling while others require neutral expressions. Check requirements for your country.

Use a professional passport photo service if unable to take compliant photos at home. Submitting non-compliant pictures will delay passport renewal or issuance.

Photo Printing Recommendations

To ensure proper printing quality for passport photos:

  • Use newer digital camera above 5 megapixels
  • Print on photo quality paper
  • Use a printer with 600+ dpi resolution
  • Select glossy or semi-glossy finish
  • Print in color, not black and white
  • Avoid printing on plain paper

Many newer consumer inkjet photo printers can produce suitable results at home. Some rules prohibit home printing altogether, so check first. Drug stores, warehouse shops and specialty photo printing franchises almost always print compliant passport photos.

Many countries now accept digital photos submitted electronically during online passport applications. However, physical prints may still be required to be mailed as a follow-up.

Using new, high quality printing methods helps guarantee photo clarity and compliance with passport agency standards.

How to Provide Photos for Passport Applications

When applying for a passport, here are some tips on submitting photos:

  • Follow guidance on your country’s government passport website
  • Print names on back of physical photos if required
  • Don’t cut, staple or damage photos
  • Include appropriate number of identical prints
  • Paperclip together if sending multiple loose photos
  • Use proper size envelope to avoid folding photos
  • Consider using overnight delivery to expedite application

Print the required names neatly on back of pictures if mandated. When mailing photos, use a padded envelope to avoid folding and damage during transit. Sending duplicates can avoid processing delays if any prints get rejected. Consider paying express fees to speed up delivery.

If applying electronically, upload quality image files that meet all criteria. Follow-up physical prints may still need to be submitted in some cases.

Taking time to provide proper high quality passport photos demonstrates you understand the application process and requirements.

What if Photo Standards are Not Met?

If your submitted passport photos do not meet the proper requirements, countries can reject and request new prints that comply with all rules.

Reasons photos may be rejected:

  • Improper dimensions or size
  • Blurry or unclear face
  • Shadows or bad lighting
  • Head too big or small
  • Face obscured by glasses or hair
  • Non-neutral facial expression
  • Eyes closed or looking away
  • Improper background

Rejecting and requesting corrected photos can significantly delay new passport issuance or renewal.

To avoid rejection and speed processing, review the photo requirements thoroughly for your country and use a professional passport photo service if unable to take suitable pictures at home.

Providing proper photos demonstrates you understand passport rules and helps expedite processing.


Nearly all countries worldwide require 2 recent, identical passport photos when applying for a new passport or renewing an expired one. The US only needs 1 photo when renewing an undamaged passport. Rules regulate the proper photo sizes, print quality, head positioning, neutral expressions and plain backgrounds. Taking the time to submit compliant high quality passport photos helps avoid rejections and speeds up processing. Consider using professional passport photo services if unable to take suitable pictures at home that meet all requirements. Following photo guidelines demonstrates you understand the passport application process.

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