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Canada passport & visa photo requirements
iVisa
5 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

The right photo is key to your Canada visa or passport application.

If you’re applying for a Canadian travel document, your photo must meet specific rules. A small mistake here could affect the success of your application.

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We've compiled a guide to help you understand the Canadian government's requirements for passport and visa photos. This way, you can make sure your photo is just right. Read on to get the specifics and make your application journey a little easier.

Canada passport photo guidelines

Your photos for a Canadian passport application must be professionally taken by either a commercial photographer or at a photo studio. For your application, two identical images are necessary.

  • Recent photo: Your photos must be recent, ideally taken within the last six months, to show how you currently look.

  • Photo dimensions: Each photo should measure 50mm x 70mm, with your face measuring 31-36mm from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin.

  • Quality: They can be in color or black and white, but must be clear, in focus, and printed on high-quality photographic paper. The images must not be altered in any way and must represent your natural skin tone.

  • Background: Use a plain white or light-colored background with no patterns or shadows. There should be a clear distinction between your face and the background.

  • Head position: Look directly at the camera without tilting your head. Your head and shoulders should be level and centered in the frame.

  • Facial expression: You should have a neutral expression with your eyes open and visible and your mouth closed.

  • Lighting: Make sure the light is even and doesn’t cast shadows or create glare on your face or in the background.

  • Eyeglasses: If you need to wear glasses for medical reasons, choose thin frames that don’t block your eyes. Your eyes should still be clearly visible, and there must be no glare on the lenses. Tinted lenses and sunglasses are not allowed.

  • Head coverings: Hats and head coverings are only allowed for religious or medical reasons. They should not cast shadows or cover any part of your face.

  • Hair and clothing: Wear regular clothes that contrast with the white background. Religious clothing is allowed for those who wear it daily. Keep your hair off your face so that the edges of your face are visible.

  • Verification: The back of one photo must have the date, name, and address of the photo studio. If you’re applying for a new passport, you’ll need a guarantor to certify the image as a true likeness of you and sign. Adult passport renewals don’t need a guarantor.

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Canada visa photo guidelines

You’ll need to provide two identical photos that meet the specifications below.

  • Recent photo: Your photos must be recent, ideally taken within the last six months, to show how you currently look. If you’re using a VFS Application Centre, you need just one photo that’s not older than one month.

  • Photo dimensions: The photos should be 35mm x 45mm. Your face should measure between 31-36mm from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin.

  • Quality: They can be in color or black and white, but must be clear, in focus, and printed on high-quality photographic paper. The images must not be altered in any way and show your natural skin tone.

  • Background: Use a plain white or light-colored background with no patterns or shadows. There should be a clear difference between your face and the background.

  • Head position: Look directly at the camera without tilting your head. Your head and shoulders should be level and centered in the frame.

  • Facial expression: You should have a neutral expression with your eyes open and visible and your mouth closed.

  • Lighting: Make sure the light is even and doesn’t cast shadows or create glare on your face or in the background.

  • Eyeglasses: If you need to wear glasses for medical reasons, they should have thin frames that don’t block your eyes. Your eyes should still be clearly visible, and there must be no glare on the lenses. Tinted lenses and sunglasses are not allowed.

  • Head coverings: Hats and head coverings are only allowed for religious or medical reasons. They should not create shadows or hide any part of your face.

  • Hair and clothing: Wear regular clothes that stand out against the white background. Religious clothing is permitted only for those who wear it daily. Your hair must be off your face, and the edges of your face should be visible. You can wear a hairpiece if it doesn’t change how you usually look.

  • Jewelry: Keep jewelry or any other cosmetic accessory simple, and make sure it doesn’t change how your face looks.

Passport & visa photos for infants and children

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Taking photos for infants' and children's travel documents requires special attention. The basic requirements for photo quality, background, and head position are the same as for adults. However, there are additional considerations for children as they’re harder to photograph.

  • Recent photo: The images should be taken within the last six months and accurately reflect your child's current appearance.

  • Eyes visibility: The child's eyes should be open and visible. For infants, capturing them with their eyes open might take a bit of time and patience. Glasses should be avoided unless medically necessary. They should not cover the eyes, and there must be no glare on the lenses.

  • Facial expression: While infants and children are not required to maintain the neutral expression demanded for adults, try and take a photo where they appear calm and natural.

  • Clothing: Dress your child in simple, everyday outfits that don’t hide their face. Accessories like hats and pacifiers are not allowed, but religious head coverings are acceptable as long as they reveal the child’s entire face.

  • No visible support: When photographing infants or young children who need support, make sure no hands or supporting objects are visible in the photo. ​

  • Focus on the child: The photo should only feature the child, without other people or props.

  • Verification: The rule for validating the photo with a guarantor is the same as with adult applications.

For infants unable to sit or stand, a photo can be taken from above while they lie on a plain white background or placed in a car seat covered with a plain white cloth.

Learn what every traveler should know before visiting Canada in our trip guide.

Get support for your Canadian visa application

If you’d like to apply for a Canada eTA or a Canada Visitor Visa and need more information, you can get in touch with our customer support team. Contact them any time via WhatsApp or through the iVisa chat.

Disclaimer
  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This site does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. For government source information, please visit our product pages.
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