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U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs

New Nonimmigrant Visa Photograph Requirements

Effective August 2, 2004, USCIS has changed its requirements for photographs to a standard passport-style photograph. It is no longer necessary to submit the 3/4 "immigration picture."

Submit your Nonimmigrant Visa Application, DS-156 with the new photo format, as explained below.


  • The photograph for each visa applicant must be an unmounted, full face photo, as described below
  • The photograph must have been taken within the last six months
  • One (1) photograph must be submitted stapled or glued to the application DS-156

Photo Size
The photo for each visa applicant submitted must measure:

  • 2 by 2 inches (roughly 50 mm square) with the head centered in the frame
  • The head (measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm) with the eye level between 1 1/8 inch to 1 3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo

Photo Appearance

  • Photos should be printed without borders
  • The photograph must be a full-face view in which the visa applicant is facing the camera directly
  • The applicant should not look down or to either side, and the face should cover about 50 percent of the photo area
  • Side or angled views are NOT accepted
  • The photograph may be in color or black and white, but must have only a white or off-white background. Photos with dark, busy, or patterned backgrounds will not be accepted
  • In general, the applicant's head, including both face and hair, should be shown from the crown of the head to the tip of the chin on top and bottom and from hairline side-to-side. It is preferable that ears be exposed
  • Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not cover any portion of the applicant's face
  • Sunglasses or other wear which detracts from the face are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons (an eye patch, for example)
  • A photograph depicting a person wearing a traditional facemask or veil that does not permit adequate identification is not acceptable
  • Photos of military, airline, or other personnel wearing hats are not acceptable. Photographs of applicants wearing tribal, national costume, or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable

Digital Photos
Digitally reproduced photographs must be reproduced without discernible pixels or dot patterns. Photocopied photographs are NOT accepted.

Attaching the Photo to the DS-156

  • Staple or glue the one photograph to the DS-156 in the designated space. If the photograph is stapled, staples should be placed as far away as possible from the applicant's face
  • Do not enclose photographs in glassine or other types of envelopes. The photograph must be stapled or glued properly to the DS-156 in the designated space


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