Michigan Immigration & Criminal Defense Attorney

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USCIS Requiring Strict Compliance with Photo Specifications

Many immigration petitions and applications require applicant's to submit passport style photographs.  This seems simple enough and for the last 15 years I have been practicing law it has  never been a problem.  However, in the past year, nothing has been business as usual with the USCIS and the USCIS adjudicators are taking issue with almost anything they can come up with.  

Most recently, I have learned that the USCIS has been sending out Requests for Evidence for applicants who submit passport photos which do not strictly comply with USCIS photo specifications.  The specifications are:

You must submit one color passport-style photograph of yourself and one color passport-style photograph of the bene ciary taken within 30 days of ling this petition. The photos must have a white to off-white background, be printed on thin paper with a glossy nish, and be unmounted and unretouched.

The color passport-style photos must be 2 by 2 inches. The photos must be in color with full face, frontal view on a white to off-white background. Head height should measure 1 to 1 3/8 inches from top of hair to bottom of chin, and eye height is between 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches from bottom of photo. Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious denomination of which you are a member. Using a pencil or felt pen, lightly print your name and A-Number (if any) on the back of the photo. 

The problem is that the United States is the only country in the world that does not use the metric system and that the 2"x2" size is not a standard passport photo size in most countries   Many of the passport photographs I have seen that are produced abroad are smaller than the required 2"x2".  Over the years I have submitted hundreds of cases with passport photographs that did not precisely meet the photo specifications and never experienced a problem.  But that has now changed.  I have learned that the USCIS is now requiring strict compliance with the 2"x2" standard.

To avoid delays in the processing of your immigration application please be sure to inform your photographer of the strict nature of the USCIS photo standards and refer them to this guide for more detailed instruction.