Passport Photo Requirements in Canada

Passport Photo Requirements in Canada
Passport Photo Requirements in Canada (Image: Public Domain Image Courtesy of

When applying for a Canadian passport, an applicant must submit two recent photographs. Canadian passport photo requirements strictly specify appropriate size, appearance and exposure. Noncompliance to these requirements can lead to substantial delays in processing since new, appropriate photos will need to be submitted. All photos for Canadian passports must be taken by a commercial photographer and be signed by a guarantor.


Canadian passport photos must be 70 millimeters tall and 50 millimeters wide, which is larger than standard U.S. passport photos. The subject's head should be centered and take up approximately one quarter of the photo. From the chin to the top of the head, the subject's head must measure between 31 and 36 millimeters. Applicants must submit two identical photos with a passport application.


Passport photos may be submitted in color or black and white. Lighting must be arranged so that no shadows are cast on or behind the subject. Photos that are over-exposed, washed out or too dark will be rejected. The brightness, contrast and lighting should be adjusted to provide a natural appearance of the applicant. High-resolution photos are encouraged. The image must be sharp and have natural lighting.


The applicant must not be smiling or showing teeth in the photo. His expression should be neutral. Eyeglasses cannot be worn if they create a glare that obstructs the appearance of the applicant's eyes. The subject must directly face the camera and the face, shoulders and chest should be included in the frame. The background should be light or white to make the applicant's features easily distinguishable. Headgear, other than for religious purposes, should not be worn in the photo, and must allow for viewing of the entire face.


Canadian law states that all passport photos must be taken by a professional commercial photographer. The photographer must take an original photo. The name of the studio or photographer must be handwritten or printed on the back of the passport photo. The date the photo was taken, not printed, must also be on the back of all Canadian passport photos. The photographer must leave sufficient space on the back of the photo for the applicant's name and guarantor's signature.


One passport photo must be authenticated by a guarantor for the passport application to be processed. The guarantor must be at least 18 years old, possess a valid Canadian passport and have at least a 2-year relationship with the applicant. Guarantors may be contacted by the Canadian government for additional information about the applicant. On the back of the photo, the guarantor must write, "I certify this to be a true likeness of," followed by the applicant's name. Beneath this statement, the guarantor must provide a signature.

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