How To Change your Digital Photo for a Passport

You might want to change your digital photo for your passport for a variety of reasons. For example, you might have gained or lost weight. Or, you might have changed your hair color. Changing your passport photo to match your current appearance will make it easier for you to go through the customs desk when you travel internationally. A passport photo with a different appearance might give you some difficulty, especially if the change is drastic.

Changing your digital photo should be easy, with the following steps.

  • Remember that passport photos have certain requirements. For example, these will require you to fix your hair at certain style, and the photo taken at a certain height. Most jurisdictions will also require you to be in formal attire.
  • The photo should be taken at a straight angle. Your head and body should be facing the camera. If you have glasses, take them off. Your eyes should both be open in the shot. You should not smile in your passport photo.
  • It’s important that your facial features are clearly seen in the shot, for the passport to contain the correct biometric information.
  • The background should be cream or light grey. For best results, sit about one foot or 30 cm in front of the background so that the fill flash will not produce any shadows.
  • In an image editing software, such as Photoshop, open the photo file and select the rectangular marquee tool. Have the height set at 34 mm, which is the maximum size of the head in passport photos.
  • Make a new layer in the same size and shape as the photo.
  • Scale the image such that the head fits within the 35 mm box.
  • Edit the image height to be 45 mm, which is the maximum height, and the width to be 35 mm, which is the maximum. Crop out the outlying areas. Your passport photo should be done.
  • Have the photo printed on a high-quality glossy or matte photo paper, which should be firm enough for you to sign without smudging.

To actually have your passport photo changed, follow these tips.

  • Get passport renewal forms from your local post office. The post office staff can take your photos for passport purposes.
  • When you fill in the passport renewal forms, be sure to file it as a renewal. Once your passport has been issued, you cannot simply have the photo changed, as this might be viewed as tampering of a public document. A new submission to the State Department would, meanwhile, be legal.
  • You can indicate that you lost your original passport. Check the box indicating that this is the case, and that you need a new passport issued. Attach a copy of your new passport photo in your submission.
  • Have the passport application form sent to the US State Department, including your new photo and the necessary payments.
  • You will usually have to wait for about a month before you get your new passport with the new digital photo. Make sure you have indicated the correct mailing address in your application form.


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