Make sure your photo has been taken within the last 6 months
Note that the passport photo requirements have recently changed, including that your photos must be taken within the last 6 months.
Canadians residing abroad
The requirements for passport photos in Canada are different from those in the United States and other countries. Photos must be taken in person by a commercial photographer and must comply with the Government of Canada’s Passport Program photo requirements. If not, your application will be rejected.
To ensure the correct photo requirements are met, print a copy of the Passport photo specifications (PDF, 1.27 MB) to take with you to the photographer.
You must submit two (2) identical and unaltered photos with each passport application.
Your photos must be:
- Taken in person by a commercial photographer.
- 50 mm wide X 70 mm high (2 inches wide X 2- 3/4 inches long) and sized so the height of the face measures between 31 mm (1- 1/4 inches) and 36 mm (1- 7/16 inches) from chin to crown of head (natural top of head).
- Clear, sharp and in focus.
- Photos may be in colour or in black and white.
- Taken with a neutral facial expression (eyes open and clearly visible, mouth closed, no smiling).
- Taken with uniform lighting and not show shadows, glare or flash reflections.
- Taken straight on, with face and shoulders centered and squared to the camera.
- Taken in front of a plain white or light-coloured background with a clear difference between your face and the background. Photos must reflect/represent natural skin tones.
- Original photos that are not altered in any way or taken from an existing photo.
What is an altered photo?
- Reflect your current appearance (taken within the last six months)
- Professionally printed on plain, high quality photographic paper (photos printed at home and photos printed on heavy weight paper are not acceptable).
The following must be included on the back of one photo:
- The name and complete address of the photo studio and the date the photo was taken. The photographer may use a stamp or handwrite this information. Stick-on labels are unacceptable.
- Your guarantor clearly write: “I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant’s name)” and sign his or her name (unless you are applying to renew a passport, as no guarantor is necessary for renewals).
- Glasses may be worn in photos as long as the eyes are clearly visible and there is no glare in the glasses.
- Sunglasses and tinted eye glasses are unacceptable.
- Photos with the red-eye effect or red eye alterations are unacceptable.
- Hats and head coverings must not be worn, unless they are worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons. However, your full face must be clearly visible and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
- Your hair can be down.
- Shadows are not acceptable. Lighting must be uniform to avoid shadows across the face or shoulders, around the ears or in the background.
- Child photos must follow the same rules indicated above.
- Photos must show the child’s head and shoulders only. Parent’s or child’s hands must not appear in the photo.
- The Passport Program recognizes the difficulty in obtaining a neutral expression of a newborn and will allow for some minor variations in this regard.
- For newborn babies, the photo may be taken while the child is sitting in a car seat, as long as a white blanket is placed over the seat behind the child’s head. There must be no shadows on the face or shoulders, around the ears or in the background.
Your application will be rejected if your photos do not meet these specifications.
Acceptable passport photos
These photos do not represent the actual size of a passport photo. See above for the specific dimensions.
Height of face correct
Correct child pose
Unacceptable passport photos
Here are a few unacceptable passport photos so you know what to look for before you submit your application.
Shadow behind ears
Hands in picture
Reflection on glasses
Face not square to camera
Facial features not clearly visible
Tinted eye glasses cannot be worn
Tips for taking a good passport photo
- Passport photos must be taken against a plain, uniform white or light-coloured background to ensure that the applicant’s facial features and edges of the face are clearly visible. As such, for someone who is in a wheelchair, we recommend that the photo be taken with a plain white blanket placed over the wheelchair behind the applicant’s head.
- Headwear or nasal cannula:
- When required for medical reasons, headwear or a nasal cannula may appear in a passport photo — provided that the eyes remain clearly visible. We recommend that you include a signed explanatory letter with your application. The Passport Program may also request that you submit a letter from your doctor.
- Why can’t I smile in my passport photo?
- The International Civil Aviation Organization recommends that passport photos be taken with a neutral expression for use with facial recognition systems – advanced technology that helps prevent fraud by electronically verifying identity based on each person’s unique facial features.