When applying for a UK passport renewal online, HM Passport Office seem strangely reluctant to tell you what the requirements are for the photo until after you've paid. After you've paid, you have a limited time to send everything off, so I prefer to get all of the required documents lined up before paying. What requirements must my passport photo fulfil?

  • 2
    Quite a few high-street shops such as some Pharmacies and Post Offices have facilities to take photographs according to the requirements. I've used my local pharmacy a couple of times and they seem to know exactly what to produce.
    – djna
    May 11, 2017 at 20:20
  • @djna, that's fine for questions of size and background, but not so useful if e.g. you need to know before leaving the house whether to put in contact lenses and leave your glasses at home, or whether to take spare glasses because you're allowed to wear them for the photo but your photochromatic ones would have to wait 10 minutes in the darkness of the photo booth to be clear enough to pass. May 16, 2017 at 7:38
  • Good point! As we have now identified the government site with the information presumably there's no remaining issue?
    – djna
    May 16, 2017 at 8:20
  • @djna, no, that's why I accepted the answer, but I somehow missed your comment earlier. May 16, 2017 at 8:33

3 Answers 3


This government site seems to have the information you ask for.

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    Perhaps you could put the relevant bits from that page into your answer here? Answers here should be mostly self-contained, but this is just a link...
    – brhans
    May 12, 2017 at 2:58
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    While this makes sense for many answers, and I can see that I would apparently be helpful to do this, I decided not to. My reason is that for this kind of information the government sets the rules and might change or clarify them, having a stale copy here is potentially misleading. In the same way I would not reproduce timetables or other such reference material. Sometimes the right answer is "go look at the source". As it happens Peter Taylor has provided the salient information in his answer.
    – djna
    May 12, 2017 at 9:54

I recently renewed my UK passport, and couldn't find this information anywhere. Hopefully if it changes someone will let me know...

This information is from the PDF which I received after paying.

Photo style

The photo must be of the applicant:

  • facing forward and looking straight at the camera
  • in close-up of their face, head and shoulders with a recommended head height (the distance between the bottom of the chin and the crown of the head) of between 29 and 34 millimetres
  • with a neutral expression and with the mouth closed (no smiling, frowning or raised eyebrows)
  • with their eyes open and clearly visible (no sunglasses or tinted glasses and no hair across the eyes)
  • free from reflection or glare on glasses, and frames must not cover eyes (we recommend that, if possible, glasses are removed for the photo)
  • showing their full head, without any head covering, unless they wear one for religious beliefs or medical reasons
  • with no other objects or people in the photo (this also applies to a photo of a baby or a young child and babies should not have toys or a dummy in the photo)
  • without shadows on the picture
  • without anything covering the face – nothing should cover the outline of the eyes, nose or mouth, and
  • not showing any 'red-eye'.

Photo size must

  • be 45 millimetres high x 35 millimetres wide, the standard size used in photo booths in the UK (if you are outside the UK not all photo booths use this standard size), and
  • not be trimmed or cut down from a larger photograph to the size of a standard passport photograph.

Photo quality must

  • be taken against a plain cream or plain light-grey background
  • be printed to a high quality, such as photos printed by a booth or studio (photographs printed at home are unlikely to be of high enough quality)
  • be clear and in sharp focus
  • be taken within the last month
  • be in colour on plain white photographic paper
  • not be torn, creased, or marked, and
  • not have any writing on the front or back – except when one of the photos needs to be certified.


Children aged five and under do not need to have a neutral expression or look directly at the camera. Babies under one don’t need to have their eyes open. If the baby’s head needs to be supported, the supporting hand must not be seen. All other photograph standards must be met.

  • I recently had to apply for a new Dutch passport and our rules read almost the same. Just that it is assumed you get your photos from a specialist photographer and there is a link with more details for specialist photographers.
    – Willeke
    May 11, 2017 at 19:51
  • +1, did you have to get a signature on the back when you first applied?
    – Gayot Fow
    May 11, 2017 at 20:06
  • FWIW, even though "not be trimmed or cut down..." is specified, there's really no way for them to know if you do a good job. I've applied for and received multiple UK visas with a set of photos I trimmed to the correct size myself, and the rules for visa photos are identical. I photoshopped a set of 3 onto a single 4x6" photo and had it printed for a few cents.
    – brhans
    May 11, 2017 at 20:18
  • @brhans, I also trimmed carefully starting with booth photos which were larger than the UK standard, but I didn't want to be the only person incriminating myself ;) May 12, 2017 at 7:32
  • My prof photographer 'trims' the paper the print is on, if only by a few mm. But I take it that the portrait for the passport photo should have been taken as a portrait, not as part of a big snapshot as mostly those do not have the required details.
    – Willeke
    May 12, 2017 at 8:07

HM Passport Office is very specific in documents they check documents very carefully and the points below must be kept in mind before submitting your photographs.

  • Photograph size must be 35mm wide by 45mm high, also remember your photo should be an individual photo.

  • Recent photograph is required.

  • It must be a coloured photograph with plain expressions and closed mouth is required.

You can watch this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MDEmjdD73Y&t=43s

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