Netherlands Worldwide

Photo requirements for passports and identity cards

Photos used for passports, ID cards and driving licences must meet certain requirements. These include requirements concerning dimensions, photo quality, background, appearance, position, facial expression, glasses, lighting and framing.

Dimensions

  • Photo size
    Standard format: 35 mm x 45 mm (width x height).
  • Width of face
    Between 16 mm and 20 mm from ear to ear.
  • Length of face
    Ages 11 and above: between 26 mm and 30 mm from chin to crown.
    Ages 10 and under: between 19 mm and 30 mm from chin to crown.
From left to right: 1. head not fully visible, 2. head not centred, 3. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. head not fully visible, 2. head not centred, 3. good passport photo

Quality of photo

Requirements for the quality of passport photos:

  • colour photo
  • true likeness and no more than six months old when the application is submitted
  • natural representation
  • sharp image, with sufficient contrast and detail
  • undamaged
  • not a reproduction (copy)
  • unaltered by computer software
  • printed on high-quality, smooth photo paper
  • minimum 400 dpi resolution
From left to right: 1. blurry image, 2. too little contrast, 3. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. blurry image, 2. too little contrast, 3. good passport photo

Lighting

Requirements for the lighting of passport photos:

  • even
  • not overexposed or underexposed
  • no shadow on the face or in the background
  • no reflection on the face
  • no reflection caused by accessories
From left to right: 1. reflection (white spots), 2. shadow on face, 3. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. reflection (white spots), 2. shadow on face, 3. good passport photo

Position

Requirements for the position of the head in passport photos:

  • head facing forward
  • eyes horizontally aligned
  • head not tilted
  • shoulders straight
From left to right: 1. head tilted, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. head tilted, 2. good passport photo

Background

Requirements for the background of passport photos:

  • light grey, light blue or white
  • plain
  • all one colour
  • uniform colour (no fade)
  • sufficient contrast with head
From left to right: 1. non-uniform colour, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. non-uniform colour, 2. good passport photo

Glasses

Requirements for wearing glasses in passport photos:

  • eyes fully visible
  • fully transparent lenses
  • no glare on the glasses
  • no shadow
From left to right: 1. eyes not fully visible, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. eyes not fully visible, 2. good passport photo

Facial appearance

  • head uncovered
  • face fully visible
  • eyes fully visible

Ears do not have to be visible, as long as the width of the face is visible. 

From left to right: eyes not fully visible, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: eyes not fully visible, 2. good passport photo

Expression

Requirements for facial expression in passport photos:

  • neutral expression
  • looking straight at the camera
  • mouth closed
From left to right: 1. mouth not closed, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. mouth not closed, 2. good passport photo

Exception: religion

If a person’s religion or belief system does not allow them to have their head uncovered, they may cover their head. The head covering must be plain, in one colour only and must contrast with the background.

From left to right: 1. face not fully visible, 2. good passport photo
From left to right: 1. face not fully visible, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. face not fully visible, 2. good passport photo

Exception: children under 6

Children under the age of 6 are exempt from the following requirements:

  • Position: ‘eyes horizontally aligned’, ‘head not tilted’, and ‘shoulders straight’
  • Expression: ‘neutral expression’, ‘looking straight at the camera’, and ‘mouth closed’

Please note: If the child needs to be supported, this must not be visible on the photo. The supporting hand can be hidden under the child’s clothing.

From left to right: 1. visible support, 2. good passport photo

From left to right: 1. visible support, 2. good passport photo

Exception: physical or medical reasons

There may be physical or medical reasons that make it impossible for you to comply with the passport photos requirements. If there is any doubt on the part of the body issuing the travel document you may be asked to provide a medical declaration confirming this.

Permitted or not

Passport photos must always be a good likeness of the applicant’s face and must have been taken within the past 6 months.

What else is and is not permitted in photos for passports and ID cards:

What

Permitted (Yes/No)

Beard

Yes

Wig

Yes

Different hair style

Yes

Long fringe

Yes, as long as the eyes and face are still fully visible

Child with eyes closed

No

Glasses for people who wear them only occasionally

Yes. It is up to the applicant whether they want to wear glasses in the photo

Feeding tube

Yes

Lipstick and other make-up

Yes

Facial piercings and tattoos

Yes

Earrings

Yes

Hat

No. Head coverings of any sort are permitted only if a person’s religion or belief does not allow them to have their head uncovered, or if medical treatment has caused a person’s hair to fall out. Head coverings must be plain and in one colour.

The same photo as in the previous document

Preferably not. Photos must have been taken within the last 6 months.

I need to have passport photos made outside the Netherlands

Find out where to have passport photos made by a photographer or how to have them made online