Permanent resident photos

Use this guide if you are:

  • applying for a permanent resident card, or
  • if you are submitting an application to obtain permanent residence in Canada.

Keep in mind:

  • Check your application guide. It will tell you how many photos you require for your application.
  • You must provide identical and unaltered photographs.
  • Photos may be in colour or black and white.
  • Photos must be original and not altered in any way or taken from an existing photograph.
  • Taken 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.
  • 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 (i.e. the photographs must show the full front view of the person’s head and shoulders, showing full face centered in the middle of the photograph).
  • Taken in front of a plain, un-textured and white 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?

    An altered photo refers to any photo that has been edited or changed in any way, by any means, and includes, but is not limited to, technical corrections or enhancements such as adjustments to colour, brightness, contrast and sharpness of the image, cropping around the subject’s head and shoulders (cutting and pasting the subject against a white background), editing of the facial features (changing size or shape of eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc.), editing to improve the appearance of the subject (eliminating wrinkles, blemishes, birthmarks; changing hair colour; removing red-eye; removing glare, etc.), changing the background (eliminating shadows, etc.), or editing the subject’s clothing (changing colours, etc.).

  • Reflect your current appearance (taken within the last twelve months)
  • Professionally printed on plain, high quality photographic paper (photos printed at home and photos printed on heavy weight paper are not acceptable)

The back of one photo must include:

  • the subject’s name and date of birth
  • the name and complete address of the photography studio
  • the date the photograph was taken

The photographer may use a stamp or handwrite this information. Stick-on labels are unacceptable.

For digital photos, this information can be provided in one separate document including a confirmation from the photo studio (i.e. receipt).

Additional details for digital photos:

The photograph must be:

  • in JPEG or PNG format;
  • measurements must be between 715x1000 and 2000x2800 pixels;
  • file size must 4 MB or less;
  • a scanned photo (don’t take a picture of a paper photo with your digital camera or phone).

The photographer may use a stamp or handwrite this information. Stick-on labels are unacceptable.

Extra details

  • 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

  • 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.
  • We recognize 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.

Medical considerations


If you are in a wheelchair, we recommend that a plain white blanket placed over the wheelchair behind the applicant's head so that your facial features and the edges of your face are clearly visible.

Headwear or nasal cannula:

When required for medical reasons, you can wear headwear or a nasal cannula in your permanent resident photo – as long as your eyes remain clearly visible. We recommend that you include a signed explanation with your application. We may request that you submit a letter from your doctor.

Acceptable permanent resident photos

These photos do not represent the actual size of a permanent resident 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

Unacceptable permanent resident photos

Here are a few unacceptable permanent resident photos so you know what to look for before you submit your application.

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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