Passport Photo vs Visa Photo What Are The Differences

Understanding the differences between passport and visa photos can be confusing. Every country handles its process differently, and you are likely to find tons of different answers. Some countries will allow you to take your photos at home or through a photo booth. And others have very strict guidelines on where and how the photos must be taken.

For a Canadian passport or visa application, all photos must be taken by a professional. These photos can be taken in black and white or in color. On both of these applications, you must also submit two identical photos.

Aside from those similarities, there is a difference in submitting a passport vs visa photo in Canada. To understand what the requirements are, keep reading to make your application process as smooth as possible.

Are Passport Photos and Visa Photos the Same?

Passport and visa photos are not the same. While they do have similar photo requirements, (white background, neutral expression, no alterations), their frame size varies. For a passport photo, you will need a 50mm wide x 70mm photo, and for a visa photo, you’ll need it to be 35 mm by 45 mm.

Can I Use a Passport Photo for my Visa?

Passport and visa photos have different size requirements in Canada. Therefore, you can’t use the same photo for each application. You must have one passport photo that meets those requirements and a different one for your visa application.

Passport Picture Requirements in Canada

  • 50 mm wide x 70 mm frame size
  • Height of face between 31mm and 36mm
  • Neutral facial expression
  • Must be taken within the last 6 months

There are also other requirements for appearance and photo alterations. The person in the photo should avoid wearing white or other light-colored shirts. As per Canada’s guidelines, the background for each photo should be plain white or light, so you don’t want to blend in with the background.

There is no rule on how to wear your hair, you can choose to put it up or leave it down. Glasses may also be worn as long as your eyes are clearly visible and there is no glare.

As far as head coverings, they are not allowed unless it is worn for religious or medical reasons. If you decide to wear a head covering, your face should still be visible without any shadows.

The photo must not be altered in any way. This includes editing the lighting, removing glare from one’s glasses, etc. It needs to be a completely unaltered photo that reflects the subject’s true appearance.

Children and Newborn Baby Photo Requirements

Children must adhere to the same rules as adults when it comes to their photos.

With newborns, they can be seated with a white blanket placed behind them. There shouldn’t be any shadows in the photo, and the Canadian government accepts a small range of expressions for newborns. If you are the parent of a newborn, you must sign the back of their photo and write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (child’s name).”

Can I take a passport photo with my phone?

No, you can’t take a passport photo with your phone as per the Government of Canada guidelines. All photos must be professionally taken at a studio. Canda will not accept any photos that are printed at home or on most paper. The studio or photographer will be able to print out your pics on photographic paper, which will pass the passport photo guidelines.

The studio also most stamp or write on the back of your passport photos to authenticate them. They must write the date the photo was taken and the name and address of their place of business.

If you are applying through the simplified renewal form to renew an adult passport, you are all set to send your photo. If not, you may need a guarantor to sign and write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (insert name).”

Visa Photo Requirements

  • 35 mm by 45 mm frame size
  • Height of face between 31mm and 36mm
  • Neutral expression
  • Must be taken within the last 6 months

Visa photos have a different frame size requirement compared to passport photos. However, their appearance and alteration standards are the same. Your visa photo should be taken in front of a plain white or light-colored background.

Glasses are allowed as long as your eyes are clearly visible, and there is no glare. Unlike passport photos, when taking a visa photo you can wear a hairpiece or cosmetic accessory.

What is a Visa Photo?

A visa photo is needed for temporary resident applications. You can find more information on

What type of photograph is required for a visa?

A visa photograph is a bit smaller than a Canadian passport photo. These photographs should be 35 mm by 45mm, or 1 3/8 inches by 1 3/4 inches.

Can I Use an Old Photo for a Visa?

As long as your photo has been taken by a professional within the last 6 months, you can use it on your application. Any photos that were taken longer than 6 months ago cannot be used.

Where to Get Canadian Passport Photos or Visa Photos?

Visit Photo Studio Calgary for all your passport or visa photo needs. You’ll be able to take a beautiful photo hassle-free in under 10 minutes! All pictures are high-quality taken by expert photographers at an affordable rate.

Join the 81,000+ customers that have chosen Photo Studio Calgary for all their photo needs.