Photograph Requirements for the Green Card Lottery

For many people applying for the green card lottery the most common scenario that they come across where their application is rejected is when their photograph does not meet the strict standards required by the state department. It should be reiterated that the photograph requirements are extremely strict. Every single aspect has to meet the regulation. This is a guide to getting those photographs perfect. You can easily check if your photo has met the requirements with our free photo validator tool here.

  1. The photograph has to be recent, specifically within the past six months. It is also advisable that the photograph be taken soon enough that there aren’t any major changes to your appearance such as a change in hairstyle.
  2. There should be a photo for each applicant and then attached to the DS-230 form that relates to that person. This means that the diversity visa winner and all dependents should have photographs attached to their corresponding DS-230.
  3. The photograph should be two inches by two inches with the person’s head in the center of the photo. (The head should also take up 50 percent of the photograph’s surface.
  4. Specifically, the state department says, “The head (measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm) with the eye level between 1 1/8 inch to 1 3/8 inches (28mm and 35 mm) from the bottom of the photo.”
  5. The person’s face should be centered in the photo, showing their face clearly and from the front. Neither the head nor the camera should be angled.
  6. It has to be a color photograph.
  7. The background must be white or off-white.
  8. Your ears should be visible if that is possible.
  9. Head coverings or hats are not allowed unless you have a religious reason to wear them. However, veils that cover the face are not allowed whatsoever, even for religious reasons.
  10. Other things that cover the face are only allowed if there is a medical reason for their use.
  11. If the photograph is produced electronically the pixel pattern must be seamless and there can’t be any noticeable dots in the image.

A photographer who is familiar with taking photographs for passports is likely to know how to take a photograph in this style, but it is always a good idea to check the photograph for any errors before submittal.