Schengen Visa Photo: Complete Guide for Schengen Visa Photo Requirements in 2024

Schengen visa application form.

Photographs are important, as they prove your identity, especially in the case of official documents. Whether it is for your passport, an identity card for your country of citizenship or residence, or a visa of a foreign country, you need to submit passport-size photos. If you do not give much importance to your photographs, this can be a huge mistake. For instance, if you are applying for a Schengen visa and all your documents are in order, except your photographs, the chances of getting your visa application rejected are extremely high. This is because you cannot randomly submit whichever photo you have for your Schengen visa application. Hence, it is important to know the Schengen visa photo requirements before applying for a Schengen visa.

Photo Requirements for Schengen Visa

Schengen visa with flag


The photo requirements for Schengen visa are almost the same for all the 27 Schengen countries. The requirements include the size of the photo, the background, the facial expression, face visibility, quality of the photo, etc. The photo requirements are same for all kinds of Schengen visas, including France Schengen business visa, Italy Schengen tourist visa, Spain digital nomad visa, etc.

Number of Photos: The EU or European Union Council has given a green light for the new digital Schengen visa. However, not all countries have started this process. Hence, you must apply for the Schengen visa through a visa center or the consulate/embassy of one of the Schengen countries. In this case, you must submit 2 passport-size photos for your Schengen visa. It is necessary to ensure that both the photos are identical.

Recency: You cannot submit random photos for your Schengen visa. While you may have several old passport-size photos of yourself at home, you cannot submit them. The photos you need to submit should have been taken within six months of your visa application. Your appearance in the photo should match what you look like in the present.

Color and Background: Your Schengen visa photos should be in color. Black and white photos are not accepted. The Schengen visa photo background color is also important. The background should be a light color, preferably light gray. There should be no patterns in the background.

Head Position and Expression: The head position should be straight. You must ensure that you are looking straight into the camera. Photos with head tilts and side profiles will be rejected. Similarly, your facial features should also be seen clearly. It is important to make sure that your hair or any other accessory is not covering your eyes, ears, or any other part of your face. Also, you should have a neutral expression. Photos where you are grinning or laughing should be avoided. You must not show your teeth, and your mouth should remain closed.

Size: The Schengen visa photo size is very important. Too small or too large photos will lead to the rejection of your visa application. The size of the Schengen visa photo should be 35x45mm. 80% of the photo should consist of your head. The photo should capture all your head (including hair) to the top of your shoulders.

Eyeglasses: Even if you wear eyeglasses daily, it is best to avoid wearing one while taking your Schengen photo. If you want to wear one, make sure that they do not cover your eyes. Go for thin frames rather than thick ones. Also, there should be no glare or reflection on the lens. Do not wear sunglasses while clicking your Schengen visa photo.

Head Gear or Head Covering: Your head should not be covered. You must refrain from wearing caps and hats for your visa photo. However, head coverings for religious reasons are allowed. In short, you can wear a turban or a hijab, per your religion’s rules. But your head cover should not obscure your facial features.

Photo Quality: The quality of the photos you submit is also crucial. The photos should not be blurred. Make sure the photos have good clarity. There should not be any creases or marks on the photo. There should not be any flash reflection on the photos. Photos should have the right lighting. Too dark or too light photos will be rejected. Red eyes and unnatural skin tones should also be avoided.

Digital Alterations: Digital alterations should not be done on Schengen visa photos. Avoid lightening your skin, clearing out marks, or removing red eyes digitally. The photos should reflect what you look like. If the visa officer feels that your photos have been digitally altered, your visa application may get rejected.

Guidelines for Children’s Photos

Each child, including a newborn, needs a separate Schengen visa application. So, if you are visiting a Schengen country with your child, you must submit his/her visa photos and other documents. While the photo specifications are slightly relaxed for kids, there are still some rules that you need to follow.

Newborn to Six Months

  • Photos of babies under six years old can be taken while they are sitting on a baby chair or while they are lying on a flat surface.
  • Place a light-colored sheet behind them before taking their photo.
  • No hands/person supporting the baby should be seen in the photo.
  • Remove toys and other things from around the baby before clicking the photo. No other items should be seen in the photo.
  • Schengen visa rules do not require the baby’s eyes to remain open in the photo. Even if they are open, there is no rule that the baby should look directly into the camera.
  • The baby’s mouth can remain open in the photo.

6 Months to Five Years

  • The kid’s eyes should be open, and the color of his/her eyes should be seen clearly in the photo.
  • The child should be alone in the photo. Do not crop the photo from a group photo.
  • The head of the child need not be straight. His/her expression also need not be neutral.

Checking a Schengen visa photo sample before you submit your own is important. This will help you to know whether your photo follows all the Schengen visa photo guidelines.

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