What are the photo requirements for a Schengen visa application?

  • 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 Required Documents, and must be of a specific size, format, and perspective.
  • Attach these photos to your application, preferably with a paper clip, (do not staple them directly to the paper or affix them with glue).

Photo Requirements for a Schengen Visa

  • These photos are subject to the following requirements:
    • Passport sized (3.5 x 4.5 cm).
    • Representative of you (i.e. your normal appearance/natural skin tone) and taken recently (within the past 6 months).
    • Taken against a plain white background and contain you alone; no other people or objects in the frame.
    • Capture mainly your face, and just the tops of your shoulders.
    • Your head must be forward-facing, so that all of your facial features are visible (i.e. not obscured by hair or accessories such as sunglasses) covering 32-36mm (70-80%) of the photo (if you normally wear (non-tinted) eyeglasses, you may wear them in the photo, so long as the frames don’t obscure any part of your eyes).
    • You must have a neutral expression, with your mouth closed and eyes opened (if red-eye occurs, it must be digitally removed).
    • Please note, while head coverings worn for religious reasons are acceptable, the entirety of your facial features must be visible, from your chin to your eyes. If there is fabric from a head garment in the frame, it may only cover the top part of your forehead-nothing more.
    • Photographs must be clear and in focus, color neutral and of a normal contrast and brightness.
    • Photographs must be printed at high resolution on high-quality photographic paper.
    • Photographs must be unmarked, containing no scratches, printer marks or wrinkles.
  • If you are applying for a visa online, through an official online visa application portal, you may be asked to scan and/or upload your photos electronically for submission as part of your electronic application. If so, these photos are subject to the same requirements as above. Additionally, because most country consulates/embassies require you to submit a print copy of your application with your online application, you will likely have to submit physical copies of your photos, in addition to the ones you submitted online.
  • Once submitted, these photographs become a component of your biometric identifiers, and are entered into the Schengen Visa Information System (VIS), a system allowing the sharing of visa data across Member States. Once entered, your data remains available for use by the requisite authorities of the Member States for the next 5 years. During this time, these various authorities may use your information for a variety of purposes relating to immigration or asylum, or even use your data to aid in the prevention/investigation of terrorism or other extreme forms of criminality. By submitting these photos, you are therefore consenting to their use for any and all of the above purposes.