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Green Card Photo Requirements: Photo Size, Location & More

Obtaining a Green Card is a significant milestone in making your dreams of living and working in the United States come true. 

When you file your application, you’ll need to adhere to the strict Green Card photo requirements put in place by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If your photo does not meet the requirements, your application could be denied. 

We’ll share the full list of Green card photo requirements and cover details like photo size and location. We’ll also explain how our experienced immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein can help you obtain your Green Card. 

Looking for an immigration lawyer?

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Bradford H. Bernstein

This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.

View Brad's Bio

Green Card Photo Requirements For Adults  

The photo requirements for a standard Green Card application include guidelines related to size, head position, clothing and more. Review the full list of requirements below. 

  • Green Card photo size: The photo must be 2×2 inches (51×51 mm) in size.  
  • Format: The photo should be in color and printed on high-quality matte photo paper or glossy photo paper. 
  • Background: The background of the photo should be plain white or off-white, without any patterns or shadows. 
  • Expression: The person should have a neutral facial expression with both eyes open, looking directly at the camera. 
  • Head position: The person’s head should be centered within the frame, facing the camera. 
  • Head height: Relative to how close the person is to the camera, the height of their head should be between 1 inch to 1 and 3/8 inches (25 mm – 35 mm), measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin. 
  • Eye height: Relative to how the image is cropped, the person’s eyes should be between 1 and 1/8 inches to 1 and 3/8 inches (28 mm – 35 mm) from the bottom of the image. 
  • Lighting: The photo should have even lighting, without any shadows. 
  • Clothing: The person in the photo should be wearing regular clothing; uniforms should be avoided except for religious purposes. 
  • Headwear: The person in the photo should not be wearing a hat and their hair must be visible, except for those who wear coverings daily for religious reasons. Even in these cases, the person’s face should remain fully visible, without shadows cast by headwear. 
  • Glasses: The person in the photo should not be wearing glasses, except in rare cases, such as after ocular surgery. Under such circumstances, the person should provide a statement signed by a doctor to confirm their condition. If the person must take a photo with glasses on, the frames must not cover their eyes and there must be no reflection, shadow or obstruction covering the eyes. 
  • Devices: The photo must not contain any devices, such as headphones. The only exception is for those who wear a hearing device on a daily basis. 
  • Photo age: The photo should be taken within the last six months. 
  • Digital alterations: The photo must not include any type of digital enhancement or alteration. 
A collage of passport photos of different people​
If you do not adhere to the Green Card photo requirements, your application may be rejected

Green Card Photo Requirements For Children 

Children of all ages — including infants — require their own photo for a Green Card application. The requirements are below.  

  • Expression: The child does not need to have a neutral expression if they are under the age of one. However, their eyes should be open and they should look directly at the camera. 
  • Head position: The child’s head should be centered within the frame, facing the camera. For infants who are unable to hold their heads up and cannot sit upright on their own, the photo can be taken with the child lying on a plain white or off-white blanket or sheet or sitting in a car seat against the same blanket background. If the child is lying down for the photo, shadows should not be cast across their face. 
  • Eyes: Both of the child’s eyes should be visible and there should be no red-eye effect from the camera flash. 
  • Background: The photo must be taken against a plain white or off-white background. 
  • Clothing: The child must not be wearing clothing with elaborate patterns or accessories that might distract from the child’s face 

Where To Take A Green Card Photo 

You can take a photo for your Green Card application at various locations, including: 

  • A professional photo studio: Many professional photo studios offer services specifically for passport photos, visa photos and Green Card photos. 
  • A pharmacy: Some retail stores, such as pharmacies and drugstores, provide photo services for passports, visas and Green Cards. 
  • A post office: Post offices are another location where professional photos can be taken, including passport photos and Green Card photos. 
  • A shipping center: Shipping centers, like FedEx and UPS, often provide professional photo services. 

You can also ask a friend to take a photo of you, then use an online photo service to upload your photo and have it formatted according to the Green Card photo requirements. The photo service you use will then send your photos via mail. 

When choosing a location to take your Green Card photo, make sure you verify that the location is familiar with Green Card photo requirements.  

A woman in a photo studio cutting and sizing passport photos​
To make sure your photo meets the requirements, have it taken at a location that specifically offers Green Card photos

Reasons Why A Green Card Photo Might Be Rejected 

Your Green Card application photo may be rejected for a number of reasons, including: 

  • The photo is the incorrect size 
  • The photo contains colors or patterns in the background 
  • The photo is poor quality 
  • The photo is not centered properly 
  • The photo is older than six months  
  • The photo does not show the person’s eyes clearly, due to red eye effect, glare from glasses or other obstructions 
  • The photo is copied or scanned from another document, such as a driver’s license 
  • The person in the photo is wearing a uniform, for non-religious reasons 
  • The person in the photo is wearing excessive jewelry or accessories 
  • The person in the photo is making a facial expression that is not neutral 
Looking for an immigration lawyer?

Contact our team!

Work With Our Team At Spar & Bernstein To Get Your Green Card 

With extensive knowledge and experience in immigration, our team of attorneys at Spar & Bernstein has achieved hundreds of success stories, helping individuals secure their Green Cards over a span of 60 years. 

From family immigration and employment immigration to asylum and refugee protection and DACA, our team works with each and every client on a personal level. Whatever the details of your case may include, we’ll be with you every step of the way. 

Our immigration lawyers will guide you through the intricate process of obtaining a Green Card, ensuring that your application meets all requirements for a successful approval. 

With knowledge and compassion, we will explore every available possibility to help you pursue your dreams and secure your permanent residency in the U.S. 

Need help with your Green Card application?

Contact our team!

FAQs About Green Card Photo Requirements

If you have not found the information you are looking for regarding Green Card photo requirements, explore some of the most frequently asked questions and answers on the topic, below.

1. Can I use a photo from my previous passport or visa application?

While it may be possible to use a photo from your previous passport or visa application, it is best to provide a new photo that meets the most recent Green Card photo requirements.

Using an old photo may not accurately represent your current appearance, which could lead to the rejection of your application.

2. Can I wear jewelry or accessories in my Green Card photo?

While simple, non-distracting accessories such as small earrings are generally acceptable, it’s best to keep your jewelry and accessories to a minimum. Avoid wearing large or excessive jewelry that may obscure your features or distract from your face.

3. What should I do if I wear a religious head covering daily?

If you wear a religious head covering daily, you may keep it on for your Green Card photo. However, make sure that your face is completely visible and there are no shadows or obstructions in the way.

4. Can I smile in my Green Card photo?

No — you should not smile in your Green Card photo. For identification purposes, it’s important to keep a neutral facial expression in your Green Card photo. Smiling or making exaggerated facial expressions can result in the delay or rejection of your application.

5. Are sunglasses or tinted glasses allowed in a Green Card photo?

No — Green Card photos in which sunglasses or tinted glasses are worn will not be accepted.

6. What does change of appearance refer to?

Even if your photo is less than six months old, your application may be rejected if the photo does not reflect your current appearance due to different factors, such as:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Facial tattoos
  • Natural aging — especially in the case of young children and teens
  • Facial or cosmetic surgery
  • Gender transition

It is important to make sure your photo is an accurate representation of your current appearance.