For my tourist visa appointment, they want this

passport photocopy (ID page and pages with stamps/visas)

I used Apple Notes' scan function and printed its scans. Looks pretty ok to me but I am not a government employee.

Can this work instead of old school photocopy?

  • That probably depends on the policies of the embassy/consulate/visa centre.
    – Chris H
    Jun 22 at 11:23
  • So water is wet?
    – user129150
    Jun 22 at 11:28
  • 9
    the implication being that if you want anybody to be able to answer your question, you should say which embassy/consulate/visa centre you're applying to.
    – Chris H
    Jun 22 at 11:53
  • You took a photo and made a copy, why is it a concern?
    – littleadv
    Jun 22 at 17:22
  • 6
    A printout of a scan is a photocopy. Look closely at the workings of any enterprise copier in the last 20 years, they are scanner+printer. Or the scandals when copiers are sold with their hard drives full of confidential data. Hard drives people did not even know existed. Jun 23 at 4:12

2 Answers 2


Although you could check with the consulate etc. the answer is almost certainly "yes". There is pretty much no difference, physically, between a printout of a scan of something and a photocopy of something. Even if the embassy wanted only a photocopy they probably couldn't tell the difference.

Modern photocopiers actually work by scanning the document and then printing it. There is no difference in the end result between a photocopy and a scan+print.

You should make sure that the copy quality is good, at least good enough for everything to be clearly readable, and not distorted.

  • 2
    OP does not want to use a physical scanner though; they want to use an app that emulates a scanner by editing a photo taken with a cellphone camera. That part of the toolchain is significantly different. And depending on the quality of the app the difference in result may be visible (I am not familiar with Apple Notes). For instance shadows may be visible, or the parts of the image closer to the booklet fold may be distorted (more than with a traditional scanner). Jun 23 at 8:48
  • That's why I say "make sure that the copy quality is good, at least good enough for everything to be clearly readable" Jun 23 at 12:52
  • Sure, but this observation invalidates your arguments in the first two paragraphs. You should probably find a different supporting argument for your answer. Jun 23 at 13:19
  • 2
    One property I would consider characteristic of a "photocopy" that a photo taken with a phone camera then printed might not have is dimensional accuracy, including both basic overall dimensions and any distortion (skew, perspective, lens, etc.). Unless the phone app can compensate for this and give an image that prints correctly to align with all the details on the original when laid on top of it, it's probably not a suitable "photocopy". Wheher the consulate will care is not clear. Jun 23 at 15:44
  • 2
    If the file is saved using lossy compression (like JPEG), it will have compression artifacts, which, depending on resolution, might be visible on the printout. See relevant XKCD: xkcd.com/1683
    – jaskij
    Jun 23 at 17:38

I successfully went through multiple USA visa applications providing print-outs of (smartphone) photographs of my passport pages, which I believe is what you are describing.

In my case, I took the photographs once, via a Google Drive mobile app that creates a PDF file, and then stored the PDF and printed from it (on a variety of printers, generally in black-and-white) as required.

So yes, at least in the most general sense, this can work. Whether this will work for you may depend on the country you're seeking a visa from, and perhaps even the exact embassy location you're applying at.

It may also depend on the quality of the photograph, but if the result looks to you pretty identical to (or better than) photocopies you've seen in the past, then it's highly likely to be fine.

On the other hand, if the image includes your fingers holding the pages open, this may raise queries - or even then, perhaps it won't.

For a country like the USA, consular officials are working through 100s or 1000s of applications per day and will only give your documents the briefest glance. Provided they can read the pertinent information (name, date of birth, and so on) they will probably be satisfied.

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