The hidden restriction on U.S. passport photos

If you fill out a DS-11 passport application form, you may be led to believe that using your own camera to create passport photos would be relatively easy, and would save you from paying a fee to some third party ($15 at USPS, $7.99 at Walgreens) for passport photos.

You would be correct… except that there is at least one restriction on the passport photo that is not shown on the DS-11 form’s photo outline or in the “Two Recent, Color Photographs” section of the DS-11 instructions.

This restriction is on the eye height level of the subject. If the eyes are too high or too low in the photo, it will be rejected by the passport agency.

I can’t find the specific requirement anywhere in the online documentation. The safest thing to do would be to ask the passport agency or a passport photo processor if they know the eye height requirement. Otherwise, don’t bother taking your own passport photos, because they will be rejected, and you will be faced with the choice of paying the agent an inflated price for the photos, or coming back and waiting in line again at some other time.

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