To obtain a passport, visa or green card, you will need a photo along with an application. There are certain requirements for passport photos, including that the photo must be taken of the face within the last 6 months. Since this photo will last you a long time as part of your passport, many want to try and take the best photo possible. There are places where you can go and have your photo taken, or you can take the photo yourself and edit it. If you have experience with digital media, this may be the best option for you. Below are several terms associated with passport and visa photos.
Passport Photo – Though this term is used commonly for passports, the same guidelines apply for visas and green cards. When submitting an application form, a passport photo must be attached. This photo must be in color, focusing on the face with a white background. Nothing else should be in the photo. Guidelines for passport photos can be found online at the U.S. State Department.
Passport Fee – Money that must be paid with the application to obtain the passport. The fee schedule will be different depending on if this is a first-time passport or a renewal. Fees can range, so be sure to do some research beforehand.
Expedite Service – Rush service for upcoming travel. Paying an additional, fee you can receive your passport faster, usually with 2 to 3 weeks as opposed to 4 to 6 weeks.
Renew – If you already have an existing passport you can submit a form to renew the current one. You must also submit a photo with the application.
Photo Editor – Software that allows you to be a photo editor. However, passport photos cannot be digitally altered or the will be rejected.
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Anyone who is planning international travel or immigration, even a child, is required by the U.S. State Department and other countries to submit a visa, green card or passport application before traveling. Along with the appropriate form, a passport book, passport card, visa or green card application requires an accompanying photo that must meet very specific guidelines. Passport and visa photos are regulated to help officials quickly and easily identify the person pictured.
If you are planning international travel to another country, check with those countries' individual consulates about visa requirements. It is often necessary to submit a new photo to renew your visa or passport. The passport or visa photo should reflect your appearance within the past six months, so if your photo is old or outdated because of a change in appearance, you will need to submit a new photo with your renewal form.
The State Department recommends that you use a professional passport photo agency, which will take a visa or passport photo for a small fee. Doing so will expedite the application process by preventing the agency from rejecting the application because the picture was submitted incorrectly.
However, many tourists have the option to take their own digital passport and visa photos and use an online photo editor to size the picture appropriately. There is a free online photo editor available from the U.S. State Department that makes it easy to print a photo to the correct size.
When you apply for a visa, passport or green card, there are generally options to rush the application process. Contact each individual office for requirements for express application turnaround.