Green Card Photo Requirements

Applying for a Green Card (read more: What is a Green Card or How To Get a Green Card) is an important step to make if you’d like to live in the United States of America.

The Green Card application is extremely detailed and the photo requirements by the U.S. Government is no exception.

In this article, we’ve prepared an overview of common questions about the Green Card photo. You’ll find detailed information about where you can take the photo and what the requirements for the Green Card photo are.

Commit To Citizenship recommends to use professional visa photo service. This is also what USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) recommends. You can also take the Green Card photo yourself, but you might not be meeting all the photo requirements. If you decide to take the photo yourself, you must be following these requirements:

The Green Card Photo Requirements

  • Eyeglasses are not allowed, unless eyeglasses must be worn for medical purposes.
  • Hands-free devices, headphones or any other electronic devices are not allowed in the photo.
  • Head covering and/or hat is not allowed, unless you are wearing it for religious reasons.
  • You cannot wear a uniform when taking the Green Card photo. The only exception is religious clothing that is worn daily.
  • Neutral facial expression with both eyes open is a must.
  • The Green Card photo must present your head from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin.

The Green Card Photo Technical Requirements:

  • The photo must not be older than 6 months.
  • The Green Card photo must reflect your current appearance.
  • The Green Card photo must be in color.
  • Photo background must be a white or off-white.
  • Photos must be taken in front (you must face the camera).
  • Photos must not be older than 6 months.
  • Photo size must be 2×2 inches.
  • Your head height must be 1 inch to 1 and 3/8 inches (25 mm – 35 mm) on the photo. In other words, your head must be between 50% and 69% of the photos or digital image’s total height.
  • Your eye height must be between 1 and 1/8 inches to 1 and 3/8 inches (28 mm – 35 mm) from the bottom of the Green Card photo.
  • The head must be centered on the Green Card photo.

For further details, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. You can find examples of Green Card photos that are acceptable and unacceptable.

Where Can I Get a Photo For The Green Card?

We recommend using a professional visa photo service, but you can also get your photo taken in a pharmacy or a drugstore (CVS & Walgreens), post office, shipping centers (FedEx & UPS Stores) or in an AAA Membership. If you already have a photo, you can get it printed in Walmart or Target.

Alternatively, you could use an online photo service. With this option you don’t need to leave your house as you can take the photo with your webcam. Once taken, these service providers review your photo and give you feedback whether it meets all the requirements or not. If everything checks out, you can get your photo delivered to your home.

CommitToCitizenship.org recommends not taking your own photo as you might end up not meeting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requirements.

I am sure that you don’t want to get your Green Card application declined because of a technical error.

The Green Card Photo Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Am I allowed to wear sunglasses in the Green Card photo?

  • Wearing sunglasses is not allowed.

Do I need to take all photos in color?

  • Correct, all photos for your Green Card must be in color.

What Should the Green Card photo background look like?

  • The background should be plain and there must not be any shadows.

What is the size of the Green Card photo?

  • The size is 2 inches by 2 inches (51 x 51mm)

Are black and white photos allowed?

  • No

What kind of printed paper quality is required for Green Card photos?

  • Glossy or matt photo paper is required.

Is digital editing of the photo allowed?

  • You must not digitally enhance your Green Card application photo?

Can I use a photo where I am not the only one on it?

  • No

Can I take a photo together with my child?

  • No.

What is the required resolution for the Green Card photo?

  • Photos should not be blurry. No visible pixels or printed dots are allowed.

What if my appearance has changed since the photo was taken?

  • If your appearance has changed significantly since the photo was taken, you must get a new photo taken.

Do I need to take a new photo if I’ve changed my gender?

  • Yes.

Do I need to take a new photo if I’ve lost a significant amount of weight?

  • Yes.

How many Green Card photos are required for my visa application?

  • Two 2 x 2 inch photos (identical) are required when you apply from outside the U.S. To apply for a Green Card outside the United States of America you need to use Form DS-260.
  • Two 2 x 2 inch photos (identical) are required when you apply from within the U.S. To apply for a Green Card within the United States of America you need to use Form I-485. You also need two 2 x 2 inch photos (identical) for your travel permit application (I-131).

What are Diversity Program (Green Card Lottery) Program Photo Requirements?

  • Photo dimensions must be 600 x 600 pixels.
  • The photo must be square.
  • The Green Card Lottery photo file must be in JPEG format.
  • Green Card Lottery photos must be equal or less than 240 kilobytes.
  • In case of scanning a Green Card Lottery photo the resolution must be 300 pixels per inch.
  • Diversity Visa Program photos must be 2 x 2 inches when scanned.
  • Two identical paper photos are required if you are selected for the DV Lottery Program. 

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