What To Wear for Passport Photos


Getting your passport taken can be a lot of pressure. You have to make sure it fits government guidelines, but you also want to be sure that you look your best; after all, you may have to use this photo for ten years!

We’ll help you figure out what to wear for passport photos to hopefully take some of the stress out of the passport process. 


what to wear for passport photos


We’ll tell you the general clothing requirements and the best colors to wear. We’ll also give you some information about other passport photo guidelines to help make the process of getting your passport a little smoother.


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What To Wear For Passport Photos – General Requirements


Are you struggling to find what to wear for passport photos? Clothing requirements for passport photos often vary between countries, but following the guidelines for the United States will generally work for most countries.

We recommend that you wear everyday clothes for your photos. You aren’t required to dress up in any particular way. However, you aren’t allowed to wear camouflage or anything that appears to be a uniform in your photo.

what to wear for passport photos
What to wear for passport photos


It’s also imperative that you don’t wear anything that hides your face. This rule includes:

  • Hats
  • Glasses
  • Large jewelry
  • Scarves
  • Headphones

Most jewelry is okay, though, as long as it doesn’t cover large portions of your face.

If you cannot remove glasses or head coverings for medical or religious purposes, you can fill out an exemption form or get a doctor’s note to add to your application.

It’s also important to note that you will only be photographed from the chest up, and the only visible clothing will be the top half of your shirt. So, the photo won’t show the pants and shoes you wore that day.


What Is the Best Color To Wear for Passport Photos?


What’s the best color to wear for passport photos? Well, it depends on your skin tone and preferences.

Other than not allowing camouflage, there are no specific color requirements for passport photos. But you may want to wear specific colors to help you look your best in your photo.

It’s important to note that the background of your passport photo will be white. So, if you don’t want to blend into the background, it’s best to avoid wearing white. You may want to choose a darker color to contrast the backdrop. 

If you would like your clothing to accentuate your features in your passport photo, it may be beneficial to wear clothing that compliments your skin tone.

If you have a golden or olive complexion, also known as a warm skin tone, you may want to wear warm colors or earth tones. These are colors like red, green, yellow, or brown.

If your skin has cooler or bluish undertones, you may wish to wear cool-toned colors or pastels. These include colors like blue, pink, and purple.

In addition to skin tone, you may want to find a color that compliments your hair. This consideration is especially important if you have dyed hair. For example, if you have bright red hair, you’ll want to avoid wearing a bright-colored shirt that may detract from your face.


What To Wear for Passport Photos – Men


So, now that you know what you’re allowed to wear and what colors to wear, what should men wear? When considering what to wear for a passport photo, men should keep things simple and professional. But as long as you’re not wearing a hat, glasses, or camouflage, you can wear anything you want.

If you’re looking for a clean, professional look in your photos, a collared shirt will always do the trick. Polos and button-downs are great options. These shirts are simple and understated yet make pretty much everyone look good. 

If you’re wearing a shirt with buttons and don’t like it buttoned to the top, ensure you only unbutton the first one or two.


what to wear for passport photos


You can also achieve a clean, professional look by wearing any shirt without loud patterns or logos that will take attention away from your face. Simpler is usually better in these situations. A plain t-shirt can also look clean and professional, as long as it’s not visibly wrinkled or stained. 

If you notice any blemishes on your skin on the day of the photoshoot, you can easily cover those with concealer. Before buying concealer, ensure it matches your skin tone. You can purchase it at any drugstore or make-up store.

When styling your hair, it’s usually best to keep it simple or replicate your everyday style. You should ensure that your hair doesn’t cover your face and that you aren’t wearing any head covering unless you can provide a religious or medical exemption.


What To Wear for Passport Photos – Women


When considering what to wear for a passport photo, women have a lot to consider. From what clothes to wear, how to wear your make-up, and how to style your hair, a lot goes through women’s minds when they take passport photos. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are a few tips.

For women, the general advice for taking your passport photo is the same as it is for men; keep it simple and professional. We still advise you to wear a shirt without loud patterns or logos, so your photo doesn’t look too busy. 


what to wear for passport photos

You also may want to avoid wearing anything too low-cut, as the photo only shows the top part of your shirt. This strategy will help you avoid looking like you aren’t wearing any clothes in the picture.

Any simple blouse or t-shirt will look great in a passport photo, so you don’t need to stress too much. Keeping it simple and picking a top you like and know you look good in will make you feel confident on the day and lead to better pictures.

For make-up, it’s also best to keep it simple. Your everyday make-up will be perfect for the photo. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing make-up or don’t like it, a fresh face will also look great on the day. Wearing too much make-up also isn’t the best idea.

The day of your passport photo isn’t the time to try new make-up techniques or products, as you don’t know how it will turn out or how your skin will react. So, stick to what you know on the day. This way, you’ll go in feeling more confident about the way you look, and that will show in your photos.

Just like we said for the men, your picture day hair should be the same as your everyday style. It’s also best to avoid going to the salon to drastically change your hairstyle the day before, just in case something goes awry.


Additional Passport Photo Guidelines


Now, you know what to wear for passport photos. However, there are further guidelines to keep in mind to ensure the government accepts your picture for your new passport.

To comply with the guidelines, your photo must:

  • Be clear with a high resolution
  • Taken with a white background
  • 2 x 2 inches
  • Be taken within the last six months
  • Have no filter of digital alteration

In addition to ensuring your photo is high-quality and not blurry, you’ll need to keep your expression neutral. This guideline means you need to look directly into the camera, keep both eyes open, and not smile.

Your head and shoulders will take up most of the photo, from about 1 inch to 1 ⅜ inch.

Once you’ve taken your photo, it needs to be printed in color on photo paper. Keep this paper free of dirty surfaces and in a safe place, as it won’t be accepted if there’s any physical damage, including stains, tears, or bending.

If you’re taking your own passport photo, these guidelines are especially important to keep in mind. However, many businesses, such as post offices and printing stores, will take passport photos for you and ensure they meet all your country’s requirements. 

So, if you’re worried about following guidelines while taking photos yourself, these facilities are a great resource. Hopefully, they’ll help to take some of the stress out of the process.

If you dislike surprises, many places will let you see your photo before they print it. So, be sure to ask! You’ll want to be satisfied with an image you have to show people for ten years. If you use a post office or printing store, you’ll likely be allowed to retake the photo.

Just remember that nobody’s passport photos are perfect. Although you want to look your best, don’t be disappointed if they don’t turn out the way you expected.


Final Thoughts – What To Wear For Passport Photos


It can be difficult to decide what to wear for passport photos. But if you plan ahead, getting your passport photo taken shouldn’t be stressful. Just remember to keep your attire simple and stick to what you know.

If you follow these tips and the passport photo guidelines for your country, your photoshoot should go off without a hitch.


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