Guide: Schengen Visa Photo Requirements and Specifications 

What Is A Schengen Visa Photograph?

A “Schengen Visa Photograph” is a photo used for the Schengen Visa application that must have external dimensions of 35 mm x 45 mm (width x height) and must fulfil specific requirements (e.g., neutral facial expression, light coloured photo background, must be taken within the past six months, etc). 

Submitting two identical photos is mandatory for your Visa application process.

The Schengen Visa photo requirements and specifications are set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), who is a specialised agency and a part of the United Nations – meaning that the European Union has adopted common standards regarding the Visa photograph requirements that are valid for all Schengen countries.

The Schengen Visa photos are not designed for you to reflect your personal style, but instead to clearly show the features, shape and depth of your face. 

This is so that official and border authorities of the countries where you travel can easily recognise you – while the photographs are also being used to populate the Schengen Regions traveller database.

Note: Infant and baby photos must have the same size and meet the same requirements as adult photos (mouth closed, head taking 70-80% of the photo, size width 35 mm, height 45 mm, etc.).  

The Importance Of Meeting The Schengen Visa Photo Requirements

The photos are a vital requirement for all Schengen Embassies/Consulates because:

How To Get The Photos Required For Your Schengen Visa Application?

There are many ways that you can get a Visa photo and typically it does not not require a lot of your time.

A website that provides photography services (but you take the photo yourself)

If you do not want to take and print your Visa picture yourself, you can find a website that provides photo services. 

First, you will have to check if they provide Schengen Visa photography services.

In most cases, the services can be available directly in store (in this case you will have to find one store in the city where you live). 

Some websites can also allow you to send them a suitable photo that they will format to the correct requirements and specifications, print it for you, and mail it directly to your house. 

Depending on the website, you may pay extra to have your photos checked to make sure that they will be approved by the Embassy/Consulate officers.

Most websites that provide Schengen Visa photography services allow you to send a photo you have taken with your smartphone against any white or close-to-white background and they will help you get a professional photo for your Visa application. 

Taking the Schengen Visa photos and printing them yourself

You can take your own Schengen Visa photos by asking someone to take a picture of you using a smartphone or a photo camera. 

You must ensure you have a suitable inkjet printer and photo paper (your photos cannot be printed on normal paper). Once you print the photo, you will have to manually cut the portrait out. 

If you want to take your own Schengen Visa photo, we recommend you use an app (for example, Passport Photo Booth, for iOS and Android) that can help you with the photo composition.

Please note that you must print the photos on high-quality paper and the printing resolution must be of at least 600 dpi (image definition parameters).

A self-service photo taking and printing kiosk (our recommendation) 

If you do not want to spend time taking and printing your own Schengen Visa photos and do not want to search for a website that can provide photography services, you can also use a self-service photo printing kiosk. 

Check to see if you have a photo kiosk near the place you live and if you can use it to take photos that fulfil all of the requirements of the Embassies/Consulates for the Schengen Visa applicants’ photos. 

In some countries, this can be a more expensive approach but the quickest and easiest to save your time checking the requirements listed below and re-taking photos.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Taking The Schengen Visa Photos

Even though taking a Schengen Visa photo is easy and it does not require a lot of time, you still need to pay attention to some significant details – Remember that not following specific rules when taking the photos can cost you the approval of your Schengen Visa. 

Below you will find a list of the common mistakes you must avoid when taking the Schengen Visa photographs:

Image quality

Clothes and accessories

Eyes and head position

Other mistakes

Below you will find some examples of photos that you must avoid submitting to the Embassy/Consulate when applying for your Schengen Visa:

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Blurry Picture

Blurry picture

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Face Not Centred

Face non centred 

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Hair Covering face

Hair covering the face

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Laughing


Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - High Contrast

High contrast

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Face Expression

Not having a neutral face expression

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Profile

Profile photo

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Not Looking At The Camera

Not looking directly at the camera

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Smiling


Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Black & White

Black and White

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Too Bright

Too bright

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Too Close

Too close

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Too Far Away

Too far away

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements - Skin Tone

Unnatural skin tone