Passport photo rejected? Here is everything you should know

Have you ever had a passport application delayed because your passport photo rejected? We know that there's nothing more frustrating than that! This article will help you avoid being rejected by understanding the reasons and how to fix them. Continue reading to learn more.

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Tips to Avoid Rejected Passport Photos (DIY Shoot)

General Guidelines and Examples of Rejected Passport Photos

Passport rejection is a real problem for overseas applicants, especially for those who are rushing to meet deadlines. While you can resubmit photos, please note that there is a 90-day deadline for submitting the correct photos (per US Department of State). For this reason, you should learn the guidelines and standards in order to feel confident about your newly shot photo. Generally, passport applications are declined for the following reasons:

  • There may be pending cases, arrest warrants, probation for felony crimes, or even unpaid government loans.
  • Having insufficient records, such as not having an original birth certificate or not showing a government-issued ID.
  • There is missing information on your application.
  • Late fees or payment mistakes.
  • Last but not least, are unacceptable photographs, and to learn more about this, continue reading.

What are the Reasons for Rejected Passport Photos?

In the first part, we already know the general reasons as to why a passport gets rejected. Meanwhile, in this section, we will be focusing on problems about passport photo rejections and on how to avoid them. Check them below:

Wrong Photo Dimensions

In taking photos, there is a certain dimension to keep in mind. One of the general rules is to make sure your face doesn’t take up the entire frame. In order to avoid marking your application as rejected passport photo, you should make sure your headshot follows these guidelines:

  • Face height should be between 1 and 1 3/8 inches.
  • Nose is centered horizontally.
  • Eyes should be 1 ⅛ and 1 ⅜  inches from the bottom edge of the photo.


The passport photo dimension varies from every country and state.

Inappropriate Facial Expression

passport photo makeface

Some examples of rejected passport photos include the use of smirking, blinking, frowning, and winking. Whenever possible, keep a neutral expression on your face when you take your passport photo. You can smile, but avoid a full smile or a smile that shows your teeth. Keep your head level with the camera, don’t tilt it. 

Unnecessary Lights and Shadows

passport photo shadow

If your photo has unwanted shadows or appears too bright, fix it ahead and retake it. The problem usually occurs on a DIY passport photo, resulting in a passport photo rejection.

Wardrobes and Accessories

passport photo wardrobe

It is important to pay attention to your outfit and accessories when applying for a passport. Work uniforms should not be worn. Remove your glasses, earrings, and necklaces, as well as any hats or wigs covering parts of your face (except for religious and medical reasons).

Filtered, Edited, and Overexposed Photo

passport photo filter

Passports represent and serve as proof of identification overseas, so they should serve as your identity document. Blemishes and moles are a part of your identity. That’s why adding filters, editing your photos, and overexposing them will surely result in rejected passport photos. Therefore, you should let the camera capture the real you so your passport application will be hassle-free.

Unprofessional Background

passport photo background

Solid colors, typically white or off white, are acceptable backgrounds for passport photos. Again, this depends on what state and country you live. Don’t take your passport photos with a complicated background so that you won’t end up with rejected passport photos.

Professional Background to Avoid Rejected Passport Photos

If you do your passport photo yourself, finding the right background can be a problem. Either you have to find a spot with plain colors or create a backdrop, both of which take time. Luckily, PicWish can help you even if you took your photo outside or with an inappropriate backdrop. 

With PicWish, you can take a perfect passport photo with its precise background remover. This tool lets you change the photo’s background instantly as well. It comes with a built-in background that you can use to create your passport photo. Besides erasing and changing your passport photo background, this tool also allows you to crop and resize your picture according to HK, US, UK, and Japan passports. And if you are applying for a US or Schengen visa, you can also crop your photo using this app. And since all photo processes can be done online, the processing is absolutely free.

Here are the steps how not to have your passport photo rejected:

  • Go to PicWish main website.
  • Upload your photo. 
  • Resize your photo accordingly.
  • Change your background and download your output. 


If you have to crop multiple images at once, you might as well download PicWish desktop to increase your productivity. You can also explore this tool to batch edit photos in case you need to.


After reading the guidelines and reasons why passport photos rejected, hopefully your next application will be approved. Don’t forget to check out PicWish as well, as this will surely save you from declining your passport. Feel free to share your thoughts below! 

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