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Germany passport & visa photo requirements
4 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

Getting the right photo matters for your Germany visa or passport.

When planning to get a German travel document, the photo you submit plays a significant role. It needs to meet strict guidelines, and a small mistake can lead to problems with your application.

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We've created a guide to explain the photo requirements set by the German government. This will help you make sure your photo ticks all the right boxes.

Guidelines for German passport and visa photos

Whether you need a German passport or a Schengen Visa, make sure that your photo meets the following specifications.

  • Recent photo: Your photo should have been taken within the last six months to show how you currently look.

  • Photo dimensions: The photo should be 35mm x 45mm. Your face should measure between 32-36mm from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin. For visa applications, your face should cover 70-80% of the photo. Photos where the face measures less than 27mm or more than 40mm will be rejected.

  • Quality: The photo can be in color or black and white. In addition, it must be clear, in focus, and printed on high-quality photographic paper with a print resolution of at least 600 dpi. The image should accurately show your natural skin tone.

  • Background: Use a plain background with no patterns or shadows. A neutral color like gray is preferred because it creates a contrast between your face and the background. If you have light-colored hair, a medium-gray background would be more suitable. A light-gray background works better for those with dark hair.

  • Head position: Look directly at the camera without tilting your head. Your head should be level and centered in the frame. Both sides of your face must be visible.

  • Facial expression: You should have a neutral expression with your eyes open and clearly 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 not 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 as long as they don’t create shadows on your face. Your face should still be visible from the bottom of the chin to the top of your head.

  • Hair and clothing: Wear regular clothes that stand out against the background. Religious clothing is permitted only for those who wear it daily. If you have voluminous hair, your entire head, including the hair, should be visible in the image without changing the size of your face.

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 recency, photo quality, and background are the same as for adults. However, there are additional considerations for children as they’re harder to photograph.

  • Face positioning: For children aged 9 and under, the face should occupy 50-80% of the photo, with the face measuring between 22-36mm from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin. Photos where the face measures less than 17mm or more than 40mm will be rejected.

  • 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: Children aged 5 and under don’t need to have a neutral expression or look directly at the camera. In addition, their heads don’t have to be centered in the photo. Babies who are less than one year old don’t have to have their eyes open for the picture.

  • 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.

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

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

Get support for your Germany Schengen Visa application

If you’d like to apply for a Germany Schengen 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.

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