Photograph rules for visa applications

A visa application must include 2 passport sized photos of the applicant.

The photos must meet the requirements described below. If not, the application will be delayed until you provide correct photos.

Photos dos & don'ts

Rules for visa photos


Both photos must be 45-50mm in height and 35-38mm in width.

They must both show a close up of your face and the top of the shoulders.

Your face must take up 70% to 80% of the photo.


Your photos must be less than 6 months old and must show exactly the same image.

Paper quality

The photo should be printed on photographic paper.

The reverse of each photo should be white and unglazed.

Image quality

Your photo must:

  • Be in colour
  • Be taken against a plain white or light grey background
  • Have sharp focus and be correctly exposed
  • Have a good colour balance, natural flesh tones and no ‘red eye'
  • Have good contrast between your facial features and the background

There must be no shadows or glare in the image or in the background.


The head must be centred in the image. You must look directly at the camera and show your full face.

Do not tilt or turn your head in any way.


Your expression must be neutral. Do not squint, frown, smile or use any other expression.

Your eyes must be open and your mouth closed. There must be no hair covering your eyes.


Do not wear sunglasses or tinted/coloured glasses.

If you normally wear glasses, your eyes must be clearly visible in the photo.

Head & hair covering

Do not wear a head covering or hair covering, except if you wear it for religious reasons, eg do not wear a hat, cap, head-band.

If you wear a head covering for religious reasons, your face must be clearly visible.

Preparing the photos

On the back of each photo write the following in BLOCK CAPITALS:

  • Name of the applicant
  • Visa application/transaction number
  • Note: Ignore visa application/transaction number if you are applying for a re-entry visa

Put the photos in the same envelope as the application form. Do not staple or attach the photos to the form.



If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 09 November 2017

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