Requirements for photos

Photos for passports, identity cards and driving licences must meet certain requirements. There are rules about size, quality, background, facial appearance, position, expression, glasses, lighting and framing.

Dimensions

  • Size of photo
    The size must be 35 mm x 45 mm (width x height).
  • Width of face
    Between 16 mm and 20 mm (excluding ears).
  • Length of face
    11 years and over: between 26 mm and 30 mm (chin to crown).
    Under 11: between 19 mm and 30 mm (chin to crown).

Framing

The head must be framed as follows:

  • head shown in full
  • head centred.
From left to right: 1. Head not shown in full. 2. Head not centred. 3. Correct.

Quality of photo

Photos must:

  • be in colour
  • be a true likeness
  • be no more than 6 months old at the date of application
  • be a natural representation
  • be sharp, with sufficient contrast and detail
  • be undamaged
  • not be reproductions (copies)
  • unaltered by computer software
  • be printed on high-quality, smooth photo paper
  • have a minimum resolution of 400 dpi.
From left to right: 1. Out of focus. 2. Insufficient contrast. 3. Correct.

Lighting

The lighting must be as follows:

  • even
  • not over- or underexposed
  • no shadow on the face or in the background
  • no reflection on the face
  • no reflection caused by accessories.
From left to right: 1. Reflection (white spots). 2. Shadow on face. 3. Correct.

Position

The position must be as follows:

  • head facing forward
  • eyes horizontally aligned
  • head not tilted
  • shoulders straight.
From left to right: 1. Head tilted. 2. Correct.

Background

The background must be as follows:

  • light grey, light blue or white
  • plain
  • all one colour
  • all one shade
  • contrast sufficiently with the head.
From left to right: 1. Background is not all one colour. 2. Correct.

Glasses

The requirements for glasses are as follows:

  • eyes fully visible
  • glasses fully transparent
  • no distortion due to reflection from the glasses
  • no shadow.
From left to right: 1. Eyes not fully visible. 2. Correct.

Facial appearance

The requirements for facial appearance are as follows:

  • head uncovered
  • face fully visible
  • eyes fully visible.

Ears do not have to be visible as long as the full width of the face is shown.

From left to right: 1. Eyes not fully visible. 2. Correct.

Expression

The requirements for expression are as follows:

  • neutral expression
  • looking straight at the camera
  • mouth closed.
From left to right: 1. Mouth not closed. 2. correct.

Exception for religious reasons

If you keep your head covered because of your religion or belief, then you may keep your head covering on for your photo. The head covering must be plain, in one colour only, and must also contrast with the background.

From left to right: 1. Face not fully visible. 2. Correct.
From left to right: 1. Face not fully visible. 2. Correct.

Exception for children under the age of 6

Children under the age of 6 do not have to meet the following requirements:

  • Position: ‘eyes horizontally aligned, ‘head not tilted’ and ‘shoulders straight’
  • Expression: ‘neutral expression’, ‘looking straight at the camera’ and ‘mouth closed’
  • If the child needs to be supported, this must not be visible on the photo. 
From left to right: 1. Visible support. 2. Correct.

Exception for physical or medical reasons

You may not be able to comply with all the requirements for physical or medical reasons. If it has any doubts, the organisation issuing the travel document or identity document has the right to ask you to provide a medical certificate as proof.

What is/isn’t allowed?

Photos for passports, identity cards and driving licences: what is/isn’t allowed
Item Is this allowed?
Beard Yes
Wig Yes
Different hairstyle Yes
Long fringe Yes, but not too long: eyes and face must be fully visible.
Child with eyes shut No
Glasses Yes, applicants may decide themselves whether or not to wear glasses in the photo.
Oxygen or feeding tube Yes
Lipstick or other makeup Yes
Lipstick or other makeup Yes
Earrings Yes
Cap or hat No, applicants can only wear head coverings for reasons of religion or belief, or if they have suffered hair loss due to medical treatment and wish to cover their head on the photo. Such head coverings must be of one colour and an even shade.
The same photo as in the previous document Preferably not, and the photo may not be over 6 months old