Photo Requirements for Green CardsCredit: Clarita (

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Failure to follow USCIS guidelines for green card photos can keep you from qualifying for a green card or delay the process. Moreover, because your green card photo serves to establish your identify as a legal resident in the U.S., it’s important to make sure that it meets all USCIS stipulations.

Avoid Group Pictures

The applicant must be the only person on the photo. If you’re asked to submit multiple photos, make sure they’re all identical. The background must be either white or off white.

Full-Frontal Photograph

Make sure your green card photograph is a full-frontal photograph. You should be visible from the top of your head to the center of your chest. You must be looking straight ahead with your eyes open, and if you normally wear glasses, you should take the picture with your glasses on. Examine the picture and make sure your eyes are open, and your head is centered within the frame.


Measure your photograph. It should measure 2 inches by 2 inches, same as visa and passport photos.

Print Quality

Ensure that your copy was printed on thin photo paper. It should be free of shadows. Proper lighting on both sides of the face and in the background normally eliminates shadows. All facial features should be visible. If the picture was taken with a digital camera, it should be free of spot patterns and contain one continuous tone. There should not be any indications that it was enhanced or retouched.

Head Gear

Remember that if you normally wear a headpiece for religious reasons, you’re allowed to wear it for the picture as long as it doesn’t hide or cast shadows on your face. You may wear sunglasses for medical reasons only.

Current Photo

The photo you submit with your green card application must be no more than 30 days old.

It’s important that your green card photo meets all USCIS guidelines. Before submitting your application, examine the photo and ensure that the photographer followed all of USCIS requirements. Although photographers who take green card photographs generally stay up-to-date with all stipulations, familiarizing yourself with the requirements will ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner.

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