What are the Schengen Visa photo requirements?

When you apply for a visa for any country in the Schengen Area, passport-style photographs are among the Schengen visa requirements you must include with your application. No matter what visa type you apply for, you will always be required to submit two photos, alongside other documents and your passport. Here’s everything you need to know about getting the right Schengen Visa photos.

What photos do I need to include with my Schengen Visa application?

When applying for a short-stay Schengen Visa you must include photographs that meet these requirements:

Two identical photos. Not older than six months, and measuring 35 millimeters across and 45mm in height. These must be in color. No black and white. The head should take up 70-80 per cent of the photo.

Your photos should be on a lightly colored background - light gray is suggested. It must not be patterned, and you should be looking straight at the camera, with a neutral facial expression. You must not smile - keep your mouth closed. You should avoid wearing clothing which matches the background.

When you take your Schengen Visa photos, you should completely avoid reflections, shadows, and red eyes - as well ensuring the brightness in your photographs is evenly spread and there are no shadows on your face.

Is there anything I should ensure about my appearance in my Schengen Visa photos?

When you pose for your Schengen Visa photos you should have your normal haircut and should avoid putting sunglasses, dark optical glasses, optical glasses that have frames covering your eyes, and avoid flash reflection in your glasses. Only photographs featuring optical glasses with no reflections and the applicant’s eyes fully visible will be accepted.

Posing with a hat, headwear that covers your face, or shadowing your face with headwear, is also prohibited. There is an exception made for religious headwear, but your face must be clearly visible from the bottom of your chin to your forehead.

Are there any other Schengen Visa photo specifications I should be aware of?

Your Schengen Visa photos must be printed on high quality paper and printing resolution of at least 600 dpi (dots per inch). It is the only accepted form. It must also reflect your natural skin tone and you should take care not to crease your photograph. Photo booth and professional photographers will use paper that meets these requirements.

Will I need more than two photographs if I need to submit additional documents with my Schengen Visa application?

If you are applying for a visa other than a short-stay Schengen Visa - one that allows you to stay for up to 90 days - you may be asked to submit additional photographs or documents that feature European passport standard photographs. Therefore, it is a good idea to ensure you have some spare pictures.

Are the Schengen Visa photo requirements the same for each country?

The standard passport photograph size and requirements apply to all Schengen Area countries and are uniform.

How can AXA help?

In addition to your photographs, you will need proof you have valid travel and medical insurance for all Schengen Area countries, covering you for the duration of your stay.

AXA’s Low Cost or Europe Travel insurance offers extended coverage wherever you travel in the Schengen area or in the wider EU region. It also provides the mandatory insurance certificate needed for a Schengen Visa. The countries covered include the Schengen Area and all European Union countries (the UK and Ireland included) + Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Schengen Visa photos

Where can I obtain Schengen Visa photos?

You should be able to obtain these from a photo booth or have them taken professionally. You are advised not to try and take your Schengen Visa photos yourself.

What will happen if I mistakenly submit photographs that do not meet the Schengen Visa photo specifications?

Photographs submitted that do not meet the Schengen Visa photo specifications may cause the rejection of your Schengen Visa application.

I already have some photographs I think meet the requirements for Schengen Visa photos - should I submit these?

Submitted photographs must not be older than six months so you need to check they were taken recently and match the Schengen Visa photo requirements.