The Ultimate Guide to Passport, VISA, and OCI Photography Requirements for Indians

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • The Indian Passport requires a photograph with dimensions of 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).
  • The photo should have a white or off-white background, the person should face the camera directly with open eyes, and there should be no shadows or marks on the face or background.
  • Additional guidelines include centering the face, adjusting lighting for even illumination, and taking physical and digital copies of the photograph.
  • While online passport photo services are available, professional photo studios are recommended for high-quality results.

Navigating the intricate requirements for passport, VISA, and OCI photographs can be a challenge, especially for Indians keen on ensuring all criteria are met. But worry not! This guide breaks down everything you need to know to ensure your photo meets the standards set for Indian citizens.

International and Indian Standards for Travel Document Photos

Before diving into the specifics, it’s crucial to get acquainted with the primary international and national standards that dictate the requirements for e-passport photographs.

  • Face Positioning: Your face should be captured in a full frontal position.
  • Face Height: Ensure the height of your face meets the prescribed specifications.
  • Eyes: They should be open, level, and clearly visible within the indicated area.
  • Centering: Your face should be centred within the frame.

How to Take a Photo for an Indian Passport

The quality of the photograph on your passport or OCI card largely depends on the photo you submit during the application process. Therefore, it’s crucial for Indian applicants to provide photographs as specified to avoid delays in processing your applications.

Key Photo Specifications

Let’s delve deeper into the exact specifications your photograph should adhere to, ensuring a smooth application process.

  • Size: 2 inches x 2 inches (51mm x 51mm).
  • Quality: The photograph should be in color with a clear, continuous-tone quality.
  • Face Presentation: Ensure a full face, front view with eyes open.
  • Head Dimensions: The photo should present the full head from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin, ensuring that the head is centered.
  • Background: Opt for a plain white background without any distracting shadows.
  • Attire: Wear colored attire, such as a kurta or saree. Avoid patterned/textured or pure white clothing.
  • Head Coverings: Turbans for Sikhs are allowed, but facial features must be clearly shown. For other religious reasons, ensure facial features are visible.
  • Expression: Maintain a natural expression.

Do’s and Don’ts

For a quick glance and easy recall, here are some essential do’s and don’ts to ensure your photo is up to the mark.

  • Do: Capture the full face, front view with eyes open, and ensure the head is centered.
  • Don’t: Have distracting shadows on the face or background.

How to Take an Indian Passport Photo That Will Be Accepted

Now that we’ve discussed the the main points of taking a photo for an Indian passport, let’s talk about how to optimize your photo to ensure that it meets all the requirements.

Lighting and Print Properties

Beyond the photo itself, how it’s printed and presented can make a significant difference. This section ensures your print quality matches the required standards.

  • Lighting: Ensure even and balanced lighting. Both face and background should be adequately illuminated to prevent shadows.
  • Print Size: Stick to the specified size of 2 inches x 2 inches (51mm x 51mm).
  • Print Quality: Use thin photo paper or stock. Avoid retouching or enhancing the photo.

Resolution and Printing

Whether you’re using conventional or digital methods, this section highlights the importance of resolution and the nuances of different printing techniques.

  • Recommendation: Opt for high-resolution photography and printing.
  • Acceptability: Both conventional and digital photography are acceptable, as are conventional or digital printing methods.
  • Quality: The final print should have a continuous-tone quality. Digital photos should be pixel-free with fine facial features discernible.

Contrast and Color

It’s not just about clarity; the visual appeal, which includes contrast and colour balance, plays a role in ensuring your photograph meets standards.

  • Adjustment: Ensure proper brightness and contrast to present the subject and background accurately.
  • Color: Reproduce natural skin tones and avoid unwanted colour casts due to unbalanced lighting.

Head & Eyes

Your face is the focal point of your photograph. Ensuring it’s captured correctly, especially the positioning of your head and eyes, is paramount.

  • Position: The head should face the camera directly without tilting.
  • Eyes: Keep them open, level, and unobscured by hair or eyeglass frames.


Eyeglasses can be a tricky accessory in passport photos. Here’s what to watch out for to ensure they don’t obscure your features.

  • Avoid glare on eyeglasses. Tinted or dark glasses are not allowed.

Exposure and Lighting

Proper lighting can make or break a photograph. This section will guide you on achieving the perfect balance for your passport photo.

  • Avoid over or under-exposed photos.
  • Use a three-point balanced lighting system, with diffuse sources like umbrella lights preferred.

How Much Does an Indian Passport Photo Cost?

In today’s digital era, getting visa or passport photos online is both cost-effective and convenient. Traditional outlets like post offices often charge 500-700 rupees per photo. In contrast, iVisa Photos offers 2 photos for just 423 rupees, suitable for both passports and visas. Moreover, with iVisa Photos, unsatisfactory photos can be retaken without extra charges, unlike traditional outlets where you’re usually stuck with the initial photo or face additional costs.

Indian Passport Photos for Children

Photographing children, particularly infants, can pose unique challenges. Recognizing this, India provides certain leniencies in photo standards for the younger age group. However, the general quality criteria, as mentioned earlier, remain in place. Each child, regardless of age, requires an individual photo for passport or visa applications. Here are some tailored tips for capturing compliant photos of infants and children:

  • For infants below 12 months, it’s not mandatory for their eyes to be open. However, photos with open eyes are also acceptable.
  • Infants’ positioning in the photo doesn’t need to be perfectly centered.
  • If you’re supporting an infant during the photo session, ensure no hands or objects are visible. A white sheet can be handy to mask these if necessary. Refrain from including toys or pacifiers.
  • For children aged between 1 to 10 years, their eyes must be open in the photo.
  • Aim to align the child’s head and shoulders squarely within the frame.

How to Get an Indian Visa Photo Online

In today’s fast-paced world, individuals highly value their time and money, often directing their resources towards cherishing moments with loved ones. The digital revolution, embraced by governments globally, has made processes like obtaining passport and visa photos more convenient and economical than in previous times. Among the options available, iVisa Photos emerges as a noteworthy choice. Their primary aim is to streamline the traveler’s journey, ensuring they reach their dream destinations without any hitches. Their dedicated team, available 24/7, is there to guide users with detailed instructions and to answer any queries they might have. With a commitment to 100% government compliance, travelers can rest easy knowing that expert hands are handling all the nuances for them. iVisa Photos’ competitive pricing further distinguishes them from traditional services. Considering them can enhance one’s travel experience, turning dreams into sun-soaked realities.

Read More

Final Thoughts

It is essential to get your documents in order before getting your official Indian Passport. With the help of this guide, you can get the perfect passport-size photograph taken for your Indian Passport.

Indian Passport and Visa Photo Requirements FAQ

Below, you will find some common questions about Indian passport photo requirements.

What are the photo requirements for an Indian passport?

The photo requirements for an Indian passport include specific dimensions, a plain white background, a frontal view of the face, and more. The detailed specifications are provided in the main article above.

How many photos do I need for Indian passport renewal?

Typically, two recent photos are required for Indian passport renewal.

What should I wear for a passport photo?

It’s advisable to wear attire that contrasts with the white background, avoiding white, patterned, or textured clothing. Casual or professional attire is preferred.

Can I smile for an Indian passport photo?

No, you should maintain a neutral expression, without smiling, frowning, or showing your teeth.

Is the Indian passport photo the same as the US passport photo?

No, while there are similarities, each country has specific requirements for size, background, and other details.

What is the difference between US and India visa photo?

Both countries have distinct specifications for visa photos, especially concerning size, background color, and facial expression rules.

Can I wear a black shirt for passport photo?

Yes, you can wear a black shirt for your passport photo as it provides good contrast against the white background.

What is the size of the passport photo in India and the USA?

In India, the standard size is 51mm x 51mm or 2×2 inches. In the USA, it’s also 2×2 inches, but there are specific measurements for face and eye height.

Can I wear lipstick in my passport photo?

Yes, you can wear lipstick in your passport photo, but ensure it looks natural and doesn’t drastically alter your appearance.

What cannot be worn in passport photos?

Hats or head coverings, unless for religious reasons, are typically not allowed. Sunglasses or tinted prescription lenses, distracting jewelry, and uniforms should be avoided. Always ensure that the chosen attire does not obscure the face.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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