Canada Passport photos specifications

2021-12-02 10:10

Photo specifications

Print the passport photo specifications for you or your photographer.

Make sure your photo has been taken within the last 6 months

Passport photo requirements have changed—archived. Your photos must be taken no more than 6 months before the date you submit your application.

Canadians living in the United States and abroad

Our requirements for passport photos are different from those in the United States and other countries. Photos for Canadian passports must be taken in person by a commercial photographer or studio. They must also comply with all of our photo requirements. If they don’t, we will reject your application.

Bring the Passport photo specifications to the photographer or studio to make sure they meet the correct photo requirements.

You must submit 2 identical and unaltered photos with each passport application.

Photo requirements

Your passport photos must be:

  • clear, sharp and in focus
  • taken with a neutral facial expression
    • eyes open and clearly visible
    • mouth closed, no smiling
  • taken in person by a commercial photographer or studio with:
    • uniform lighting and with no shadows, glare or flash reflections
    • face and shoulders to the camera: straight-on, centered and squared
    • a plain white or light-coloured background with a clear difference between your face and the background. Photos must reflect/represent natural skin tones.
  • 50 mm wide X 70 mm high (2 inches wide X 2- 3/4 inches long)
    • the height of the face measures between 31 mm (1- 1/4 inches) and 36 mm (1- 7/16 inches) from chin to crown of head (natural top of head)
  • an image of your current appearance, taken within the last six months
  • professionally printed on plain, high quality photographic paper
    • we don’t accept photos printed at home and photos printed on heavy weight paper
  • original photos that are not altered in any way or taken from an existing photo

What is an altered photo?

An altered photo refers to any photo that has been edited or changed in any way, by any means, and includes:

  • technical corrections or enhancements, such as:
    • adjustments to colour, brightness, contrast or sharpness
  • cropping around the subject’s head and shoulders, including:
    • cutting and pasting the subject against a white background
  • editing of the facial features, such as:
    • changing size or shape of eyes, nose, mouth or ears
  • editing to improve the appearance of the subject, such as:
    • removing glare
    • removing red-eye
    • changing hair colour
    • eliminating wrinkles, blemishes or birthmarks
  • editing the subject’s clothing, including changing colours
  • changing the background, including eliminating shadows

Back of photo details

On the back of 1 photo

  • the photographer must put a stamp or written information showing the
    • date the photo was taken
    • name and complete address of the photo studio
  • your guarantor must
    • clearly write "I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant's or child’s name)" for an application
    • sign the back of the photo

If you’re renewing an adult passport using the Simplified Renewal application form, you don’t need a guarantor.

Extra details

We accept photos with:

  • glasses worn if:
    • your eyes are clearly visible
    • there is no glare on the lenses
  • hair down or up
  • hats and head coverings worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons if:
    • your full face is clearly visible
    • the head covering doesn’t cast shadows on your face

Photos may be in colour or in black and white

We don’t accept photos with:

  • sunglasses or tinted eye glasses (even when the eyes are clearly visible)
  • red-eye effect or red-eye alterations
  • hats and head coverings not worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons
  • shadows, as lighting must be uniform to avoid shadows:
    • around the ears
    • in the background
    • across the face or shoulders

Child photos

Child photos must follow the same rules as standard passport photos. They must show your child's head and shoulders only. Parent's or child's hands must not appear in the photo.

For newborn babies, the photo may be taken while your child is sitting in a car seat, as long as:

  • a white blanket is placed over the seat behind their head
  • there are no shadows:
    • around the ears
    • in the background
    • on the face or shoulders
  • you write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (child’s name)” and sign the back

We recognize the difficulty in getting a neutral expression from your newborn. We do allow some range for infant facial expressions.

Examples of acceptable passport photos

These photos don’t represent the actual size of a passport photo.

Example of a photo - uniform lighting               Example of a photo - height of face correct                Example of a photo - correct child pose
Uniform lighting                    Height of face correct                 Correct child pose


Examples of unacceptable passport photos


These unacceptable passport photos show you what to look for before you submit your application.

Example of a photo - no contrast             Example of a photo - height of face correct                  Example of a photo - hands in picture
        No contrast                   Shadow behind ears                    Hands in picture
Example of a photo - reflection on glasses               Example of a photo - Face not square to camera               Example of a photo - facial features not clearly visible
Reflection on glasses                   Face not square to camera            Facial features not clearly visible
Example of a photo - mouth open               Example of a photo - smiling               Example of a photo - tinted eye glasses cannot be worn
         Mouth open                            Smiling                                     Tinted eye glasses cannot be worn
Example of a photo - wrong format
Wrong format

Tips for taking a good passport photo

If you’re in a wheelchair
Passport photos must be taken against a plain white background. If your wheelchair has a headrest, a plain white covering should be placed over it. This makes your facial features and the edges of your face clear against the background.
If you have headwear or nasal cannula 
Your headwear or a nasal cannula may appear in a passport photo if worn for medical reasons. Your eyes must remain clearly visible. Include a signed explanation with your application. We may ask for a letter from your doctor. 
Why can’t I smile in my passport photo?
The International Civil Aviation Organization recommends that passport photos be taken with a neutral expression. This lets us use facial recognition systems to help prevent fraud. They electronically verify identity based on each person's unique facial features.