Citizenship grant online: photo specifications

Becoming a Canadian citizen: Photo specifications for online applications

Number of photos you need

You must provide 1 colour digital photo (preferred) or 1 digital black-and-white photo.

If the photographer can’t give you a digital file for some reason, you can also either scan or take a picture of a printed photo from them.

However, it’s safer to use a digital photo straight from the photographer.

Photo specifications

Give these specifications to your photographer

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Go to a commercial photographer or studio to have your photo taken.

Make sure your photo


Image of the citizenship photo specifications described below
Image is not the actual size.

Your photo must meet these size specifications:

  • 50 mm wide X 70 mm high (2 inches wide X 2- 3/4 inches long)
  • 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)

Image quality

Your photo must

  • be clear, sharp and in focus
  • have uniform lighting and no shadows, glare or flash reflections
  • have a clear difference between your face and the background
  • show natural skin tones
  • be an original photo and not altered in any way
What is an altered photo?

An altered photo is any photo that was edited or changed in any way, by any means. This includes

  • technical corrections or enhancements, such as
    • adjustments to colour, brightness, contrast or sharpness
  • cropping around the subject’s head and shoulders, including
    • cutting and pasting the subject against a white background
  • editing of the facial features, such as
    • changing size or shape of eyes, nose, mouth or ears
  • editing to improve the appearance of the subject, such as
    • removing glare
    • removing red-eye
    • changing hair colour
    • eliminating wrinkles, blemishes or birthmarks
  • editing the subject’s clothing, including changing colours
  • changing the background, including eliminating shadows

Additional requirements for digital photos

Digital photos must also meet the following requirements:

  • JPG or JPEG file format with minimal compression
    • It must be saved directly from the camera without any changes to the original file
  • at least 420 by 540 pixels
  • approximately 240 kB in file size, but no more than 4 MB

Your facial expression

You must have a neutral facial expression. This means your

  • eyes must be open and clearly visible
  • mouth must be closed, with no smiling or frowning

Your posture and appearance

Your photo must show

  • your current appearance
    • This means it must be taken no more than 6 months before you submit your application.
  • your face and shoulders straight-on to the camera, centred and squared
  • a plain white or light-coloured background

 We accept photos with

  • glasses if
    • your eyes are clearly visible
      • The frames must not cover your eyes
    • there is no glare on the lenses
  • hair either down or up
  • hats and head coverings worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons if
    • your full face is clearly visible
    • the head covering doesn’t create shadows on your face
  • a wheelchair if
    • you place a white blanket behind your head to clearly show both
      • your facial features
      • the edges of your face

See examples of acceptable photos

 We don’t accept photos with

  • sunglasses or tinted eye glasses
    • This includes even if they are prescription lenses and your eyes are clearly visible
  • red-eye effect or red-eye alterations
  • hats and head coverings not worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons
  • shadows
    • Lighting must be uniform to avoid shadows
      • around your ears
      • in the background
      • across your face or shoulders

See examples of unacceptable photos.

Examples of acceptable photos

Here are a few examples of photos we would accept.

These photos do not represent the actual size of a citizenship photo.

Example of a photo - uniform lighting
Uniform lighting
Example of a photo - height of face correct
Height of face correct
Example of a photo - correct child pose
Correct child pose

Examples of unacceptable photos

Here are a few examples of photos we would not accept. These photos do not represent the actual size of a citizenship photo.

Example of a photo - no contrast
No contrast
Example of a photo - shadow behing ears
Shadow behind ears
Example of a photo - hands in picture
Hands in picture
Example of a photo - reflection on glasses
Reflection on glasses
Example of a photo - Face not square to camera
Face not square to camera
Example of a photo - facial features not clearly visible
Facial features not
clearly visible
Example of a photo - mouth open
Mouth open
Example of a photo - smiling
Example of a photo - tinted eye glasses cannot be worn
Tinted eye glasses
cannot be worn
Example of a photo - wrong format
Wrong format
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