Photo Requirements for a Certificate of Citizenship


When U.S. citizens become parents of children while abroad from the United States, their children may have eligibility to become derivative U.S. citizens. Parents, or in some cases the children themselves, can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship by completing Form N-600, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service application.The USCIS application includes photo requirements.

Application Process

  • The N-600 application sets forth the USCIS citizenship requirements for foreign-born children with one or both parents holding American citizenship status. Applicants successfully meeting USCIS requirements for a derivative claim can receive U.S. citizenship and the accompanying privileges. The application process includes filing of completed N-600 forms, submission of supporting documents, payment of the application fee and submission of photos. USCIS imposes detailed requirements for acceptable applicant photos.

Photo Specifications

  • The N-600 application materials must include two identical photos of the person to whom USCIS would grant a Certificate of Citizenship. Each photo must be "passport-style," taken against a white or off-white background and show the individual's entire face. The application requires color photos. Additionally, each photo must be sized at 2 inches by 2 inches. In regard to sizing and ratio of face-to-background, USCIS recommends that the individual's head measure at 1 inch to 1 3/8 inches between the top of the individual's hair and the individual's chin. The individual's eyes should be located in the photo around 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches from the bottom edge of the photo.

Cultural Considerations

  • Individuals may wish to wear a traditional head covering or hat in their photographs. The USCIS photo specifications state that an applicant can only wear a headdress in his photo if he is a member of a religion requiring him to do so. Otherwise, all photos must show applicants with bare, unadorned heads.

Photo Submission Requirements

  • Applicants must include specified information on the back of each photo. Using a soft-lead pencil, and not pen or ink, the applicant must write the name of the person applying for the Certificate of Citizenship, which is either the child herself or the parent applying on behalf of a child who is not yet an adult. The applicant must also write her Alien Registration Number, if she has one.


  • Photo Credit American Flag image by dwight9592 from
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