October 1, 2023

Schengen Visa Photo Specifications – 19 Passport Requirements

As a non-European, you must get your Schengen photo specifications right once you apply for a Schengen visa. Otherwise, your Schengen visa will be denied. But, of course, this is different from what you want. So, you should get it right from the beginning to avoid this denial.

The Schengen nations have adopted a common specification for passport photographs while applying for a Schengen visa. This specification is in line with what the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency operating under the United Nations, has stipulated. Thus, you must meet the specifications to obtain a Schengen visa once you apply. This means that your passport must possess a common size, background, and color, among others.

Therefore, in this article, our team has gone into deep research to give you details of Schengen Visa photo requirements. This will be helpful to you whenever you are applying for a Schengen visa from a non-Schengen country.

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is a short-term visa that allows non-Schengen citizens to travel to any Schengen nation. Using this visa, the holder can travel to 26 Schengen countries. Moreover, the holder can still travel to some non-Schengen regions that permit them to do so.

So, who are the Schengen nations?

The Schengen zone comprises 26 nations that agreed on a common border rule. In other words, you can visit these countries with a common visa for a short-term stay. Thus, you can stay in the country for up to 90 days within 180 days. The Schengen countries include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Non-Schengen areas you can visit with a Schengen visa

In addition to Schengen areas, you can also visit some non-Schengen areas with a Schengen visa. The countries include:

  • Albania
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Gibraltar
  • Kosovo
  • Mexico
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Serbia
  • Turkey

Common Schengen visa photo specifications

Your Schengen visa must have the following qualities. They include:

  1. Taken within the past six months.
  2. The photo size should be 35x40mm. Close up of your head and top of your shoulders so that your face takes up 70–80% of the photograph in sharp focus.
  3. Taken with a plain, light-colored background.
  4. It should show both edges of your face clearly.
  5. Must not show shadows or flash reflections on your face.
  6. No red eye.
  7. No sunglasses allowed.
  8. No caps allowed.
  9. Colored lenses are not allowed.
  10. No big accessories that cover some part of your face are allowed.
  11. Digital makeup is not allowed.
  12. It should show both edges of your face clearly.
  13. Must not show shadows or flash reflections on your face.
  14. No red eye.
  15. No sunglasses allowed.
  16. No caps allowed.
  17. Colored lenses are not allowed.
  18. No big accessories that cover some part of your face are allowed.
  19. Digital makeup is not allowed.

Specific Schengen visa photo specifications

In addition to the above-mentioned Schengen visa photo specifications, you must consider the following.

#1 Format and size of photograph

There is a uniform size and format for Schengen visa photographs which must be static and unchangeable. The acceptable size is 35mm in width and 45 mm in height. The photograph must show your face very well, indicating certain facial features. For example, it must contain the tip of the chin to the top of the head, counting both the left and right sides of the face, while the face is positioned in the center of the photo. In addition, more than 70% of your face must be seen in the photograph, including your hairstyle.

You must submit the required size to ensure your visa application is granted.

#2 Focus and Contrast

Another Schengen visa photograph specification that you must consider is contrast. This means that your face must be visible and sharply focused, having a strong contrast. In other words, you must avoid using a photo that is too blurring, too bright, or with poor contrast.

#3 Photo brightness

You must make sure that your photo is uniformly bright. That is, no side will be brighter than the others. In other words, your photos must completely avoid reflections, shadows, and red eyes.

#4 Background of photo

The background must contain only one color, which must be light. Mixed colors will not be accepted.

#5 Quality of photo

You must use quality paper to print the photo. In addition, it must have a printing resolution of at least 600 dpi, as the only accepted form. Otherwise, it will not be accepted.

#6 Head position

Your head must focus on the camera. This means that it must not be turned to either side of the camera. So, make sure that you keep your head straight to the camera.

#7 Facial expression

In addition to keeping your head straight, you must avoid all sorts of expressions. For example, you must not smile at the camera. Instead, focus on it.

#8 Line of sight

The only accepted eye position is to focus on the camera. Thus, when you pose for a photo, ignoring to focus your eyes on the camera, closing them, or putting your hair across your eyes is intolerable.

#9 Glasses

If you must use glasses, then they must show your eyeballs. Otherwise, you should avoid wearing glasses. Therefore, you must avoid wearing sunglasses, dark optical glasses, and optical glasses with frames covering your eyes. Similarly, avoid flash reflection. This will lead to disqualification.

#10 Headwear

Another Schengen visa photo specification is the position of your headwear. You can avoid headwear. However, if you must use headwear, it has to be in a specific position. Thus, you must avoid posing with a hat, headwear that covers your face, or having your face shadowed by headwear, as none of them is allowable. However, religious headwear is allowed.

Read also: Bahamas family reunion visa

Other Schengen visa requirements

So, apart from the Schengen visa photo specifications, there are other requirements you must meet before you can visit a Schengen country. Some of the requirements are listed below. They include:

  1. Documents Required for a Schengen Visa.
  2. Schengen Travel Visa Insurance.
  3. Visa Application Form.
  4. Photo Requirements.
  5. Proof of Accommodation.
  6. Proof of Financial Means.
  7. Flight Itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the exact photo requirements for all Schengen countries?

Yes, the Schengen visa photograph requirements and specifications are the same for every member of the Schengen Area. The areas include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Where can I take a Schengen Visa Photo?

Usually, you can take a photo at any photography studio of your choice. However, it s better to find a studio that has the right Schengen visa photo specifications. Meanwhile, most of them have all of the instructions and usually take these pictures according to the standards specified above. However, take care to ask if they take pictures according to the Schengen visa photo requirements to make sure.

Generally, at least one photography studio near the embassy or consulate will take pictures to conform to the ISCO standards. However, they charge you higher prices for their service.

Is a white background photo OK for a Schengen visa?

Generally, you must take your Schengen visa photo in a background that is not mixed in color. The background should be plain and of a light color – white, blue, or grey is usually acceptable. There should not be any patterns or shadows in the background. In addition, don’t wear clothes that match the background of your photo. This will give more contrast to the photo.

Do I need a photo for a Schengen visa?

If you are applying for a Schengen visa, you must submit two photographs of yourself for identification purposes. These photos are part of your basic requirements for a Schengen visa. In addition, it must meet the Schengen visa photo specification in size, format, and perspective.

Can I smile at my Schengen visa photo?

No, you must not smile. Instead, it would be best if you kept your mouth closed. Focus on the camera. In addition, your focus must be on the camera with your head straight to the camera. Also, your eyes must focus on the camera. This is the right way to pose for a visa.


In conclusion, you must adhere to the instructions above to avoid Schengen visa denial. In addition, you must make sure that your photo meets the Schengen visa photo specifications. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get a Schengen visa. Thus, you will not visit Europe for your short-term stay.

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