CANADIAN Passport Photos

Canada has the toughest Photo specifications for it’s citizens
because of a facial recognition system being integrated by their
Homeland Security.  Eventually I predict it will become the norm
in the major free travel countries of the world.   

In our area alone Tampa Bay, a very large percentage of photos I have done have been do-overs that others have taken, even some done by commercial photographers and were not accepted.  If you live in Florida and don’t mind several trips to the Post Office, thats fine.

My goal is to do it once, I am the only PMAI Certified Canadian Passport Photographer in Florida.  If you wish to challenge the requirement, here are the specifications to be adhered to:

Print the passport photo specifications for you or your photographer. (PDF, 652.38 KB)

Make sure your photo has been taken within the last 6 months
Note that the passport photo requirements have recently changed, including that your photos must be taken within the last 6 months.

Canadians residing in the United States and abroad

The requirements for passport photos in Canada are different from those in the United States and other countries. Photos must be taken in person by a commercial photographer and must comply with the Government of Canada's Passport Program photo requirements. If not, your application will be rejected.

You must submit two (2) identical and unaltered photos with each passport application.

Consulate General of Canada in Miami

200 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1600
Miami, Florida 33131    
(16th floor of the Southeast Financial Center)
•  Tel: 305-579-1600  •  Fax: 305-374-6774
Hours of operation:    Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Your photos must be:

  • Taken in person by a commercial photographer. Your brother-in-law does not count.
  • Glasses are not permitted...  recent Change in effect NOW.
  • Original photos that are not altered in any way or taken from an existing photo. 
  • What is an altered photo?  An altered photo refers to any photo that has been edited or changed in any way, by any means, and includes, but is not limited to technical corrections or enhancements such as adjustments to color, brightness, contrast and sharpness of the image, cropping around the subject’s head and shoulders (cutting and pasting the subject against a white background), editing of the facial features (changing size or shape of eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc.), editing to improve the appearance of the subject (eliminating wrinkles, blemishes, birthmarks; changing hair color; removing red-eye; removing glare, etc.), changing the background (eliminating shadows, etc.), editing the subject’s clothing (changing colors, etc.).
  • Reflect your current appearance (taken within the last six months)
  • Professionally printed on plain, high quality photographic paper (photos printed at home and photos printed on heavy weight paper are not acceptable).

The following must be included on the back of one photo:

  • The information required by Passport Canada will imprinted on the back of one photo per their requirements.

Extra details

  • IMPORTANT - Hats and head coverings must not be worn, unless they are worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons. However, your full face must be clearly visible and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
  • Your hair must be off your forehead so that eyes are clearly visible.
  • Headwear or nasal cannula - When required for medical reasons, headwear or a nasal cannula may appear in a passport photo — provided that the eyes remain clearly visible. We recommend that you include a signed explanatory letter with your application. The Passport Program may also request that you submit a letter from your doctor.
  • Why can't I smile in my passport photo? The International Civil Aviation Organization recommends that passport photos be taken with a neutral expression for use with facial recognition systems - advanced technology that helps prevent fraud by electronically verifying identity based on each person's unique facial features.

Child photos

  • Child photos must follow the same rules indicated above.
  • Photos must show the child’s head and shoulders only. 
  • Parent's or child's hands must not appear in the photo.
  • For newborn babies, the photo may be taken while the child is sitting in a car seat, as long as a white blanket is placed over the seat behind the child's head. There must be no shadows on the face or shoulders, around the ears or in the background.

Your application will be rejected if your photos do not meet these specifications.  Anything, and I emphasize anything different and it will be rejected.  We do passports for over fifty countries, Canada, and Greece have the toughest specifications and they will not hesitate to reject your application and send back your information with a statement of corrections needed.  Photos are number one on the list of rejection.