Passport photos

Find out what size your photos need to be and other requirements for your passport application. Canadian passport photo requirements are different from those of other countries.

We’ll refuse your application if your photos don’t meet our requirements.

Photo requirements for adult passports

Number of photos you need

You must submit 2 identical and unaltered photos with each passport application.

Photo specifications

Passport photo size information

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

Make sure your photo

Size

Your photos must meet these specifications:

  • They must be 50 mm wide by 70 mm high (2 inches wide by 2¾ inches high).
  • The height of your face must measure between 31 mm (1¼ inches) and 36 mm (1⁷⁄₁₆ inches) from your chin to the crown of your head (natural top of head).

Image quality

Your photos may be in colour or in black and white.

They must

  • be clear, sharp and in focus
  • have uniform lighting and no shadows, glare or flash reflections
  • show a clear difference between your face and the background
  • show your natural skin tone
  • be taken in person by a commercial photographer or studio
  • be professionally printed on plain, high-quality photographic paper
    • We don’t accept photos that you print at home or photos that are printed on heavy weight paper.
  • be an original photo that is not altered in any way
What is an altered photo?

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

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

Facial expression

The International Civil Aviation Organization recommends that passport photos show a neutral expression. This type of photo helps us confirm your identity and prevent fraud.

A neutral facial expression means that

  • your eyes are open and clearly visible
  • you’re looking straight at the camera
  • your mouth is closed
  • you’re not smiling or frowning

Appearance and posture

Your photos must show how you look now. This means that your photos must be taken no more than 6 months before you submit your application.

Your photos must also

  • show your face and shoulders centred and squared to the camera, not tilted in any direction
  • have a plain white or light-coloured background

If you can’t meet these requirements for medical reasons

Explain the reasons in writing when you apply.

 We accept photos with

  • glasses
    • Your eyes must be clearly visible.
    • There must be no glare on the lenses.
  • hair down or up
    • Your hair must be off your face, so that the edges of your face are visible.
  • hats and head coverings worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons
    • Your full face must be clearly visible.
    • The head covering must not create shadows on your face.
  • a wheelchair, if you place a white blanket behind your head
    • Your facial features and the edges of your face must both be clearly visible.

 We don’t accept photos with

  • sunglasses or tinted eye glasses
    • This includes prescription lenses, even when 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

Get your photographer and guarantor to sign 1 of your photos

What the back of 1 photo should look like

On the back of 1 photo

  • the photographer must write or put a stamp that says the
    • date the photo was taken
    • name and complete address of the photo studio
  • your guarantor must
    • clearly write "I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant's or child’s name)" for an application
    • sign the back of the photo

If you’re renewing an adult passport, you do not need a guarantor.

Tips for taking a good passport photo

If you’re in a wheelchair
Passport photos must be taken against a plain white background. If your wheelchair has a headrest, a plain white covering should be placed over it. This makes your facial features and the edges of your face clear against the background.
If you have headwear or nasal cannula
Your headwear or a nasal cannula may appear in a passport photo if worn for medical reasons. Your eyes must remain clearly visible. Include a signed explanation with your application. We may ask for 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. This lets us use facial recognition systems to help prevent fraud. They electronically verify identity based on each person's unique facial features.

Photo requirements for child passports

Number of photos you need

You must submit 2 identical and unaltered photos with each passport application.

Photo specifications

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

Make sure your child’s photo

Passport photo size information

Size

Your child’s photos must meet these specifications:

  • They must be 50 mm wide by 70 mm high (2 inches wide by 2¾ inches high).
  • The height of your child’s face must measure between 31 mm (1¼ inches) and 36 mm (1⁷⁄₁₆ inches) from chin to crown of head (natural top of head).

Image quality

Your child’s photos may be in colour or in black and white. They must

  • be clear, sharp and in focus
  • have uniform lighting and no shadows, glare or flash reflections
  • show a clear difference between your child’s face and the background
  • show your child’s natural skin tone
  • be taken in person by a commercial photographer or studio
  • be professionally printed on plain, high-quality photographic paper
    • We don’t accept photos that you print at home or photos that are printed on heavy weight paper.
  • be an original photo that is not altered in any way
What is an altered photo?

An altered photo refers to any photo that has been edited or changed in any way, by any means.

This includes

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

Facial expression

The International Civil Aviation Organization recommends that passport photos show a neutral expression. This type of photo helps us confirm your child’s identity and prevent fraud.

A neutral facial expression means that

  • eyes are open and clearly visible
  • eyes are looking straight at the camera
  • mouth is closed and not smiling

Note: Newborns may have a range of facial expressions.

Your child’s passport photos must be taken in person by a commercial photographer or studio with

  • uniform lighting
  • no shadows, glare or flash reflections

Appearance and posture

Your child’s passport photos must show how your child looks now. This means they must be taken no more than 6 months before the application is submitted.

Your child’s passport photos must also

  • show your child’s face and shoulders centred and squared to the camera, not tilted in any direction
  • not show your hands or your child's hands
  • have a plain white or light-coloured background that shows a clear difference between your child and the background
  • reflect or represent your child’s natural skin tone

If you can’t meet these requirements for medical reasons

Explain the reasons in writing when you apply.

 We accept photos with

  • glasses
    • Your child’s eyes must be clearly visible.
    • There must be no glare on the lenses.
  • hair down or up
    • Hair must be off your child’s face, so that the edges of the face are visible.
  • hats and head coverings worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons
    • Your child’s full face must be clearly visible.
    • The head covering must not create shadows on your child’s face.
  • a wheelchair, if you place a white blanket behind your child’s head
    • Your child’s facial features and the edges of your child’s face must both be clearly visible.

 We don’t accept photos with

  • sunglasses or tinted eye glasses
    • This includes prescription lenses, even when your child’s 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 child’s ears
      • in the background
      • across your child’s face or shoulders

Additional instructions for photos of newborns

You may take a photo of your newborn sitting in a car seat, as long as

  • a white blanket is placed over the seat behind your child’s head
    • This makes your child’s facial features and the edges of your child’s face clear against the background.
  • there are no shadows
    • around your child’s ears
    • in the background
    • on your child’s face or shoulders

We know that it is difficult to get a neutral expression from your newborn. We do allow some range for infant facial expressions.

You must also write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (the newborn’s name)” and sign the back of the photo.

Get your photographer and guarantor to sign 1 of your child’s photos

What the back of 1 photo should look like

On the back of 1 photo

  • the photographer must write or put a stamp that says the
    • date the photo was taken
    • name and complete address of the photo studio
  • your guarantor must
    • clearly write "I certify this to be a true likeness of (child’s name)"
    • sign the back of the photo

Tips for child and newborn passport photos

If you’re in a wheelchair
Passport photos must be taken against a plain white background. If your wheelchair has a headrest, a plain white covering should be placed over it. This makes your facial features and the edges of your face clear against the background.
If you have headwear or nasal cannula
Your headwear or a nasal cannula may appear in a passport photo if worn for medical reasons. Your eyes must remain clearly visible. Include a signed explanation with your application. We may ask for 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. This lets us use facial recognition systems to help prevent fraud. They electronically verify identity based on each person's unique facial features.

Examples of acceptable and unacceptable passport photos

These photos don’t represent the actual size of a passport photo. Unacceptable photos show you what to look for before you submit your application.

Acceptable

Unacceptable

Example of a photo - Good contrast
Good contrast
Example of a photo - No contrast
No contrast
Example of a photo - Good lighting
Good lighting
Example of a photo - Shadows behind ears
Shadows behind ears
Example of a photo - Correct child pose
Correct child pose
Example of a photo - Hands in picture
Hands in picture
Example of a photo - Non-tinted glasses
Non-tinted glasses
Example of a photo - Tinted glasses
Tinted glasses
Example of a photo - Facial features are visable
Facial features are visable
Example of a photo - Facial features are covered
Facial features are covered
Example of a photo - Correct format
Correct format
Example of a photo - Wrong format
Wrong format
Example of a photo - Neutral expression
Neutral expression
Example of a photo - Smiling
Smiling
Example of a photo - Mouth closed
Mouth closed
Example of a photo - Mouth open
Mouth open
Example of a photo - No glare on glasses
No glare on glasses
Example of a photo - Reflection on glasses
Reflection on glasses
Example of a photo - Face sqaure to camera
Face square to camera
Example of a photo - Face not square to camera
Face not square to camera
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