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Home > Blog > Photography Tips > What to Wear for Passport Photo: Quick Dressing Tips

What to Wear for Passport Photo: Quick Dressing Tips

Alex Sullivan | Updated: Feb 21, 2024

Outbound trips are on the rise. If you want to travel beyond the U.S., a passport is a necessity. To apply for your first passport, you must submit a passport photo. Everybody wants to look good in pictures. But dressing yourself for a passport involves serious stuff.

Unlike the flattering pictures you upload on social media, passport photo is used to recognize you more easily. Therefore, the major criterion for dressing is keeping your face as the main focus. In other words, you need to dress down. Don’t let the outfits steal your thunder.

In today’s article, you will be provided with tips on what to wear for passport photo.

What Not to Wear for A Passport Photo

Make sure your full face is visible in the photo. There is something unacceptable for passport photo:

❎ Eye Glasses are not allowed. Even though your glasses are strong, you still need to take them off.

❎ No hats or coverings. You cannot wear scarves, hats, or other head coverings that would obscure your face. Some exceptions can be made for religious or medical purposes. If you have long hair, remember to comb your hair behind your ears.

Other passport photo requirements that you need to pay attention to:

It would be best if the background is white. The off-white background makes do, but shadows and unbalanced lighting are unacceptable.

✅ Keep your eyes looking at the camera and your mouth closed. Wearing a neutral expression is preferable.

Put your head at the center of the photo

❎ Retouching the photo or wearing makeup will distort some of your biometric features.

❎ The photo you take cannot be a selfie. (You can ask other people to help you)

Note: If you wonder how to take passport photo at home when you don’t have the professional toolkit to create a white background, you can use an online background remover like AnyEraser to remove the original background and apply a white one. It’s free & easy to use and needs no installation.

How to Dress for Passport Photo

What to wear for passport photo so that your submission won’t be rejected by the State Department? Just remember one rule: make your full face easily recognizable and don’t wear the clothes that would distract the attention. Below are some passport photo examples:

US passport photo

After watching these perfect passport photos, you can have some basic understanding of how to dress for passport photo. And the following content will go a step further in explaining what clothes, colors, and accessories you can wear.

Clothes for Passport Photo

Fancy apparel leaves a deep impression on viewers. This is the case for social media. After you upload your selfie, countless likes and compliments flow in. Would you want to wow the customs officer by wearing heavy makeup that compounds the verification process?

✅ Put on the casual clothing that is worn on a daily basis (simple sweater, boat neck shirt, suit, etc.)

❎ Don’t wear any uniform that identifies you as having a particular job or status, or camouflage attire

❎ Avoid high-collar shirts and turtleneck sweater that would hide your neckline

Best Color to Wear for Passport Photo

There is no limitation on what color to wear for passport photo. But you still need to pay attention. Since a US passport photo requires a white or off-white background, you cannot wear light colors.

✅ Wear darker colors to avoid blending into the background (black, gray, brown, etc.)

Can I Wear Accessories for Passport Photo?

Wearing accessories is allowed for US passport photos. Things like necklaces, earrings, and headbands should be small and less visible. Avoid glittering objects that would reflect the light.

We recommend you put aside the jewelry when you are taking the photo.


If this is the first time you apply for a passport and you are considering what to wear for passport photo, there are some important key points you should take note of. Firstly, you need to avoid wearing the clothes that would obscure your face and hide your neckline. Opt for simple, casual, darker-colored clothing. Secondly, except for religious reasons, don’t wear head coverings. If you want to wear accessories, remember to keep them small. Thirdly, avoid adding filters to your photo or doing photo retouching. To sum up, passport photo is used for easy and fast identification. In this case, less means more.


Can you wear earrings in passport photo?

Yes. Earrings are acceptable in a passport photo. But you need to avoid wearing earrings that are decorated with shimmering jewelry. You can opt for simple and small earrings that won’t hide your face. To be on the safe side, you’d better put aside the accessories.

What are the passport photo requirements?

The overarching requirement for a passport photo is that you should make yourself easily identifiable. Therefore, dress yourself in a way that your facial features won’t be obscured. To be specific, you need to wear casual clothing like polo shirts and avoid light-colored clothes that would blend into the white background. Don’t wear hats or headphones.