When someone applies for a visa to visit Europe, one of the most important requirements for the completion of his or her application are the photos. Regardless of the type of visa you are applying for, you will have to submit two photos every time, together with a couple of other documents. Below we provide more information about the requirements these photos have to meet.
Requirements related to the quality of the photos
Age of photos – Photos should not be older than six months. They should be clear and in sharp focus. Blurry images that do not clearly show the applicant’s face may be rejected.
Size of photo – The prescribed photo size is 35 x 45mm.
Proportion of photos – The photographs should cover the area from the top of your shoulders to the top of your head.
Facial position in photo – Your face should be in the center of the photo and it has to take up between 70% and 80% of the image.
Photo quality – Only high-quality images without any creases, scratches, wrinkles, or ink marks will be accepted.
Line of sight in photo – In the photos you have to be looking directly at the camera – don’t look to one side or tilt your head.
Photo colors – All photos should be in color, showing the natural skin tone of the applicant and using appropriate brightness and contrast settings. Black and white images, or images that are overly bright or dark, will not be accepted.
Photo resolution – Only high-resolution images (600 d.p.i. or better) that are printed on quality paper will be accepted.
Photo quality – Images that were taken with a digital camera should be printed in high-quality color on photo-quality paper.
Requirements related to lighting and style
Colors – Photos have to be color neutral, i.e. certain colors should not be overly bright or subdued.
Face – Both edges of your face should be clearly visible and you should be directly facing the camera, without looking to the left or the right.
Eyes – Your eyes should be clearly visible and open. Your hair should, e.g., not cover your eyes. The only accepted pose is with the applicant looking straight at the camera, with eyes fully open and not fully or partly hidden by anything.
Background – The background should be light-colored and plain, i..e. it should not have any patterns. A neutral grey background with no shadows should work perfectly.
Consistency – The lighting should be uniform, without any flash reflections, shadows, or red-eye.
Requirements related to glasses and eyewear
Reflections – In the case of applicants who wear glasses, the photos have to clearly show their eyes and care should be taken that the camera’s flashlight is not reflected off the lenses.
Lenses – Tinted lenses are not acceptable and lighter-framed glasses are preferred over heavy frames. This means that sunglasses or dark optical glasses are not acceptable in these photos.
Frames – Frames should not hide all or part of an applicant’s eyes.
Generally speaking, the photographs should show the applicant’s face without any headwear. The only circumstances under which head coverings could be allowed are for religious reasons.
Facial features – Photos should show your facial features from the top of your forehead to the bottom of your chin.
Face edges – Both edges of your face should be clearly visible in both photos
In the photos, the applicant should be looking directly at the camera. Your mouth should be closed and your facial expression should be neutral.
You should be alone, without anybody else in the background. No toys, chair backs, or similar background interferences are allowed.
The Schengen visa photo requirements are the same for all members of the Schengen area. Once your photos have been submitted, they become part of your biometric identifiers and are entered into the Schengen VIS (Visa Information System) from where they can be shared with all other member states.