Photo Guidance

Photos are an essential part of your application for a CitizenCard ID. We only accept passport quality photographs.

For a paper or printed application you can get your photos taken in one of many photo booths across the UK or by a professional photographer who specialises in taking passport photos.

For an online application you can upload a digital photo taken by a professional photographer, scan and upload your printed photo taken by a photo booth or upload a self-portrait photo (selfie) taken on a smartphone that follow passport photo requirements.

If the photo(s) you supply are not suitable, your application for an ID card will be delayed. Please read the guidelines below and don't forget - for first time paper or printed application one of your photos needs to be countersigned by your referee.

Photo size

Photo size for a paper or printed CitizenCard application must be 45 millimetres high x 35 millimetres wide and must not be trimmed or cut down from a larger photograph.

For an online application the photo you upload must be in JPG file format, minimum resolution accepted is 640 x 480 or 480 x 640 pixels and maximum file size is 25MB.

Example of acceptable photo for CitizenCard application

The quality of your photo

Your photo must be:

  • for paper or printed application only - printed to a high quality on white photographic paper, such as photos printed by a booth or studio
  • for paper or printed application only - not be torn, creased or have any marks
  • taken within the last month
  • in colour, clear and in focus
  • taken against a plain, light-coloured background
  • unaltered by software i.e. Adobe Photoshop, Instagram/Snapchat filters

What your photo must show

Your photo must:

  • contain no other objects or people
  • be a close-up of your full head and upper shoulders
  • be in clear contrast to the background

In your photo you must:

  • be facing forward and looking straight at the camera
  • have a neutral expression and your mouth closed e.g. don't smile, frown or pout
  • have your eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from glasses (you can't wear sunglasses or tinted glasses)
  • not have hair in front of your eyes
  • not have anything covering your face
  • not have a head covering (unless it's for religious or medical reasons) e.g. hat, cap, any fashion hair accessories or glasses on your head
  • not have any shadows on your face or behind you
  • not have any artificial markings on your face (drawings, fake tattoos or freckles, very heavy makeup)

Young Children (paper or printed application only)

Children aged five and under do not need to have a neutral expression or look straight at the camera. Babies under one don't need to have their eyes open. All other photo standards listed above must be met.

Common photo mistakes

Common photo mistakes

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Important Points For Online Applicants

  • If you need your card right away, make an Urgent application using our paperless online application system.
  • Make sure you follow our photo requirements when you upload your photo.
  • If you don't have a valid Passport (UK or International), Photo Driving Licence (UK or European) or European National ID Card, you need a referee - a professional person validating original document(s) or confirming your details from official records.
  • If applicable, check whether your referee completed the Digital Referee Declaration Form to submit their work details to us.
  • If applicable, make sure that your referee can be contacted by phone and email during office hours at their place of work.


The PASS hologram on each CitizenCard is endorsed by the Home Office, Police, SIA and retailers.

Proof of Age Standards SchemeNational Police Chiefs' Council
Chartered Trading Standards InstituteSecurity Industry Authority

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