Photos for UK Visa: A Comprehensive Guide for Applicants

If you are planning to apply for a UK visa, one of the essential requirements is to present a photograph that meets the strict guidelines set by the UK government. Photos that do not conform to these guidelines can lead to visa application rejection, resulting in a loss of time, effort, and money. Hence, it is crucial to know the guidelines and expectations for UK visa photos.

Here is a comprehensive guide that will help applicants understand everything they need to know about photos for a UK visa application.

Key Takeaways

  • UK visa applications require a specific type and size of photograph.
  • The photograph must conform to strict guidelines concerning dimensions, background, and facial expression.
  • Any deviation from the guidelines can result in rejection of the visa application.
  • Requirements for UK visa photos may vary depending on the type of visa and the applicant’s nationality.

1. Types of Visa that Require Photographs

The UK government requires visa applicants to provide photographs for most visa types, including visitor visas, work visas, student visas, and permanent residency visas.

2. UK Visa Photograph Guidelines

The UK government has strict guidelines for visa photographs that all applicants must follow. The guidelines cover a range of factors, including photograph size, quality, color, and background. Here are some of the essential guidelines to consider.

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Size and Quality

  • The photograph should be taken in color and high resolution.
  • The minimum size required for the photograph is 45mm x 35mm or bigger.
  • The photograph must not be more than six months old.

Facial Expression

  • Applicants must view the camera directly and have a neutral expression with a closed mouth.
  • The photograph must show the full face, with both eyes open, free from hair or attire covering the eyes.


  • The background should be plain white or off-white and must not have any pattern or design.
  • There should be no other objects or people in the background.

3. Other UK Visa Photograph Guidelines

In addition to the above guidelines, here are some more essential things to keep in mind when taking a photograph for a UK visa:

  • The photograph must be printed on high-quality paper and should not be blurred or pixelated.
  • The photograph must not have any marks or creases.
  • There should be no red-eye or any other reflection in the eyes.

4. Exceptions to the UK Visa Photograph Guidelines

The UK government may allow some exceptions to the photograph guidelines for applicants with medical or religious reasons. However, these applicants should provide a letter from a certified medical professional or a religious leader stating the reason for deviation from the guidelines.

5. Where to Get Your UK Visa Photograph

UK visa applicants can get their photographs taken at various locations, including photo studios, pharmacies, and post offices that offer passport photo services. It is essential to confirm that the photographer understands the UK visa photograph guidelines and can provide photographs that meet these guidelines.

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In summary, a photograph is a crucial component of the UK visa application process. It is crucial to ensure that the photograph meets the UK government’s strict guidelines to prevent rejection of the visa application. Applicants must take care to follow the guidelines for photograph size, quality, facial expression, and background. By following these guidelines and consulting a qualified photographer, applicants can increase their chances of visa application success.


  1. Can I wear glasses in my photo for a UK visa application?No, glasses are not allowed in photos for a UK visa application, unless the applicant has a medical reason and provides a relevant medical certificate.

  2. Can I wear a headscarf or religious head covering for my UK visa photo?Yes, applicants may wear a headscarf or religious head covering provided that the face is visible from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead and both edges of the face are visible.

  3. Can I use a selfie or a photo taken with a mobile phone for my UK visa application?No, selfies or mobile phone photographs are not acceptable for a UK visa application. The photograph must be a high-quality, professional photo taken in strict adherence to the UK government’s guidelines.

About the Author

Latasha W. Bolt

Latasha is a travel writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a degree in journalism and has been traveling the world since she was a teenager. Latasha is experienced in navigating the visa and passport application process and shares her knowledge and experiences on the blog. Her articles are personal and engaging, providing readers with a unique perspective on the joys and challenges of international travel.

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