Rules for Taking your German Visa Photo

Worldify - Passports arranged in an artful shape
Written by
Gabrielle Soria
Published on
April 29, 2023

It is incredibly important to comply with the German visa photo requirements so that you can prepare your photo for your German visa as smoothly as possible and avoid unnecessary delays. Below, we’ve included everything you need to know about the German visa photo requirements.

Taking Your German Visa Photo

Before we dive in, a few ground rules. Photos must be in color, and taken within the last six months. We advise that you take home at least 6 copies of your photo, as you’ll need them for various applications and purposes during and after your move. They’re always handy to have!

1. Size

Your German visa photo must be 45 x 35mm without frame. You should cut them out of their package, but do not attach them to any paper with glue, staples, or clips.

2. Format

When taking the photo for a visa make sure that your face takes 70 to 80 percent of the whole photo. This corresponds to a height of 32 – 36mm. If your face measures less than 27mm or more than 40mm the photo will be rejected.

Don’t pose too close, too far, or not in a centered position when taking a photo. The photo must show only one person, no other persons or objects are acceptable—even for babies or young children. Avoid shadows on the background of your photo as well.

If your hair has volume, you’ll need to ensure that your entire head (including hair) is visible without reducing the size of the face, if possible. The face must be centered in the photo.

3. Focus

Photos that follow the German visa photo requirements must also have a sharp focus, be clear and have proper contrast. Make sure the photo is not blurred, too light, or lacking in contrast.

4. Lighting

Take your photo with even lightning. It should not be too dark or too light. Shadows across the face, flash reflections, or red eyes must be avoided—also for the sake of a good shot!

5. Background

You should take your photo against a neutral gray or white color. If your face and hair are light-colored, take the picture against a medium-gray background. Take your photo against a light-gray background if you have a darker face and hair.

6. Photo Quality

Your photos must be printed on high-quality paper with a print resolution of at least 600dpi when taken with a digital camera. Your photo must be clean, with natural colors, and not pixelated or damaged in any way. Photos should be in color. 

7. Eyes

One of the most important German visa photo requirements is about the eyes and facial placement. When taking the photo, look directly at the camera and keep your eyes open. Be careful not to cover your eyes with hair or glasses frames. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure there aren’t flash reflections in the lenses. As cool as it is to wear sunglasses indoors, tinted glasses and sunglasses aren’t allowed for these purposes.

8. Head Positioning and Styling

In terms of head positioning, you must orient your face directly at the camera—no tilting or angling allowed. And though they are definitely more flattering, the classic portrait poses aren’t permitted either.

Hats or head covering are generally not permitted—exceptions are only made for religious reasons. If you’re wearing a head covered, your face must be visible from the chin to the forehead.

9. Children

For children aged 9 and under, you should follow these requirements:

The face should take up 50 – 80% of the photo. This means that the face from the bottom of the chin to the crown (the top of the head, not the top of the hair) should measure between 22 and 36mm.

Your photos can be rejected only if the face measures less than 17mm or more than 40mm.

10. Babies and very young children

For children aged 5 and under, the same facial measurements apply as for children aged 9 and under. Children aged 5 and under do not need to have a neutral expression or look directly at the camera, and their heads do not have to be centered in the photo. For babies younger than one year, it is not required to have their eyes open.

⭐️ Worldify tip - German Visa photos:

All of this said, our best recommendation is to take the photos at a photo shop or location (like a DM or Rossman) that offers passport photos. It’s better to have someone who knows the German visa photo requirements than try to achieve the required results yourself.

It’s also a good idea to have a stash of high-quality biometric photographs that follow the German visa photo requirements to use as you complete other applications and German documents.

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