Photo Specification for Immigration Applications

Reasons Immigration Application can be Returned

There are many reasons an immigration application can be returned these reason include:

  • Using an out-dated form
  • Missing signature or date on application
  • Missing information
  • Using wrong application
  • Not meeting requirements for an application
  • Not sufficient supporting documents
  • Not meeting photo specification

There are many other reasons an application can be returned but this article will focus only on application that are being returned for not meeting photo-specification. Each immigration application has different requirements; please see below for specification based on type of application you are submitting.

Photo Specification for Permanent Residence Applications

When submitting any type of permanent residence application you are required to meet the photo specification. Your photographer must ensure the measurements are exactly as requested by CIC, making slight measurement errors the application will be simply returned and will cause delays for your application to be processed. To avoid delays simply take the photo-specification sheet to your photographer to avoid mistakes.

Steps you should take:

  • Check your application how many photos are requested for your application
  • Print the photo specification measurement sheet and provide that to your photographer
  • Your photo should be 50 mm wide X 70 mm high (2 inches wide x 2- 3/4 inches long) and sized so the height of the face measures between 31 mm (1- 1/4 inches) and 36 mm (1- 7/16 inches) from chin to crown of head (natural top of head).
  • The picture must be clear, sharp and focused
  • There should be no shadows, glare or flash reflections
  • Your face and shoulders should be centred and squared to the camera (i.e. the photographs must show the full front view of the person’s head and shoulders, showing full face centred in the middle of the photograph).
  • The background has to be white, there has to be clear difference between your face and the background colour.
  • Photos have to be original meaning it cannot be older than 6 months it has to show your current appearance
  • Your photo has to be printed on a plain high quality photographic paper, you cannot print your picture at home
  • The back of your photo should include your name, date of birth, complete address of the photography studio, date the photo was taken and the photographer must use stamp or handwrite the information
  • If you are child – you follow the same rules, if it is infant they can be placed in a car seat with a white blanket over the car seat behind the child head
  • if you are in wheel chair you can put white blanket over the wheel chair as well

Can I wear glasses for Immigration Pictures?

  • you can only wear eye glasses that will show your eyes clearly
  • sunglasses are not acceptable
  • if your eyes show red on the picture you have to take another picture, red eye is unacceptable
  • hats and head covering cannot be worn unless it is for religious or medical reasons. Your full face must show
  • your hair can be left open as long as it does not cover your face

Sample of Good Photo Specification:

Uniform Lighting

Height of Face Correct

Correct Child Pose

Samples of Bad Photo Specification

No Contrast

Shadows behind ears

Hand behind picture

Photo Specification for Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) Applications

When submitting a temporary application such as visitor visa, study permit or work permit application you are also required to include photographs with meeting specific photo specification. Steps you should take include the following

  • Take the photo specification sheet to your photographer- so they can follow proper instruction to avoid mistakes. If your photographer does not follow instructions the application will be returned and asked for new photographs. So make sure they comply with photo specification
  • Photographs must be printed on quality photographic paper
  • Get two copies of the photo and include that in your application
  • The pictures taken by the photographer must identical cannot be older than 6 months. The picture can be either in black or white
  • The picture must be clear, well defined and taken against a white background
  • If your picture is digital it cannot be altered in anyway
  • Your face in the picture must be square to the camera and with a neutral expression meaning your cannot smile or frown, simply keep your mouth closed
  • Make sure your eyes are visible if you wear eye glasses- so it cannot be tinted and sunglasses are not acceptable
  • You can wear a hairpiece or other accessories as long as it does not hide your natural look
  • You can wear head covering only for health or religious purposes but make sure your face features are not hidden

Photograph and head size specifications

  • The frame size must be at least 35 mm x 45 mm (1 3/8″ x 1 3/4″).
  • The photographs must show the full front view of the head, with the face in the middle of the photograph, and include the top of the shoulders.
  • The size of the head, from chin to crown, must be between 31 mm (1 1/4″) and 36 mm (1 7/16″).
  • Crown means the top of the head or (if obscured by hair or a head covering) where the top of the head or skull would be if it could be seen.
  • If the photographs do not meet the specifications, you will have to provide new photographs before your application can be processed.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you have submitted a permanent or temporary immigration and your application got returned because your photo does not meet specification then contact our office at 416-477-2545. Immigration Canada is very picky when it comes to photo specification to avoid delays simply follow instructions for your application or take the photo specification sheet. If you are not sure then don’t hesitate to contact us at for a consultation. Remember there are many reasons an application can get returned and not meeting photo specification is one of them.

With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!

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