Background in Passport Photos

There are many requirements for passport photos in the United States. Some concern the lighting, some the editing, etc. In this article, we would like to show you the rules and regulations about passport photo backgrounds. 

Background in Passport Photos

Rules and regulations concerning passport photo backgrounds

In the United States, there are more than a few rules to follow when it comes to passport photo backgrounds. We’ve put them together in a list below:

  • Your background should be light, white, or off-white colored 
  • It should be well lit 
  • Your clothing should be easily differentiated from the background
  • The background of your passport photo should be plain
  • There can’t be other things or other people visible in the background behind you\
  • Your background should be fully visible around your form.
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Background in passport photos for children and infants

The rules and regulations for backgrounds in US passport photos are the same as for adults but the execution might seem slightly more complicated. We come in with a few tips and tricks on what to do when it comes to your children’s passport photo backgrounds to make the process easier:

  •  As there can’t be anyone else visible in the photo beside your child, in the case of infants you can help them support their heads by putting your hand underneath a white sheet so that it looks like the background
  • If you want your child to stop moving so that the background can be fully visible around their form you should, instead of taking separate photos all the time, put your camera into filming mode so that you can choose the perfect snapshot later on.

What to avoid in passport photo backgrounds

There are some things you should definitely avoid when it comes to taking passport photos and their backgrounds. We’ve put them on a list that you can find below:

  • Patterns – watch out for patterns in backgrounds. It’s better to keep your background white and plain, as things such as a checkered pattern can take the attention from your face. 
  • Glossy material – make sure that your background material is rather matte, as it can’t reflect light or your surroundings in your passport photo. 
  • Clothes – remember that your clothes should be a different color than the background of your photo, therefore avoid white clothes. 
  • Other things visible – avoid a situation when there are other things or other people visible in the background of your passport photo. 

Background in passport photos summed up

As you can see, there are some major requirements when it comes to US passport photos and their backgrounds. From its color to more advanced and complicated rules and regulations – we’ve summed it all up in this article. Just make sure to double-check your photo after you take it and avoid unnecessary complications. 


Can I take a passport photo against a window?

No, your background shouldn’t be translucent or able to reflect your surroundings. It has to be white and plain, not shiny.

Can a mirror be visible in the background of my passport photo?

No, nothing should be visible in the photo beside you. Mirror especially could reflect your surroundings and distract the attention from your face so you definitely have to avoid it.

Can I hold my child’s head with my hand in their passport photo?

You can hold their head but just remember that your hand can’t be visible. A trick would be to do it through a white sheet so that it looks like the background.

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