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 things you must include with your application. You will always be required to submit two photos, alongside other documents and your passport.

What documents are required for a Schengen visa application?

Here’s everything you need to know about getting the right Schengen Visa photos in 2022.

What photos do I need for my Schengen Visa application?

When applying for a short-stay Schengen Visa you must include biometric passport (or e-passport) photographs that meet these requirements:

  • 2 identical photos
  • Not older than six months
  • Measuring 35 mm 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
  • Have a minimum resolution of 400 dpi

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.

Source: French Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

What does a biometric photo mean?

It simply means the standard photographs, fitting the criteria above that show your face and identifying details clearly. They are used by most countries around the world, including the Schengen Area, on official documents such as visa applications.

How should I look in my Schengen Visa photos?

When you pose for your Schengen Visa photos, you should have your normal haircut and should avoid wearing sunglasses or dark optical glasses.

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.

Can I wear glasses, sunglasses, or tinted glasses in my Schengen visa photo?

The requirements for glasses are as follows:

  • eyes fully visible
  • glasses fully transparent
  • no distortion due to reflection from the glasses
  • no shadow

Can I wear hidjab or turban in my Schengen visa photo?

If you keep your head covered because of your religion or belief, then you may keep your head covering on for your photo. The head covering must be plain, in one color only, and must also contrast with the background.

Source: Netherlands Gouvernement

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 400 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 + San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City and with Europa Travel also all European Union countries (the UK and Ireland included).

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Schengen Visa photos

Is a white background okay for a Schengen Visa photo?

It is suggested you avoid a white background on your Schengen Visa photos - with a light gray or similar color the best choice. Patterns are not allowed.

What happens if my photo is rejected?

If your photo does not meet the requirements then you should submit one that does. Failure to do so at an early stage may mean you have to reapply if it is not rectified.

What if I no longer look like my photo?

Even if you have changed appearance - by growing your hair or obtaining glasses - the nature of a biometric photo means you should still be identifiable. Still it is perhaps not a good idea to make drastic changes to your look.