What is the change? Chinese consulates across the United States are strictly enforcing photo specifications for visa applications.

What does the change mean? Visa applicants should be sure to follow proper photo specifications when submitting applications. Those who fail to do so risk having their application rejected or unnecessarily delayed.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All Chinese visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for visas at Chinese consulates in the U.S.
  • Impact on processing times: Visa applications may be unnecessarily delayed if applicants do not adhere to the photo guidelines.

Background: BAL has seen an increase in enforcement at Chinese consulates in the U.S., including some cases where applications have been rejected solely because photos do not meet the required specifications.

At U.S. consulates, photos must be in color and taken in the last six months. Digital photos should be between 354 pixels (width) by 472 pixels (height) and 420 pixels (width) by 560 pixels (height). Paper photos should be 33 millimeters by 48 millimeters. The applicant’s face should be centered in the photo with all features clearly visible, and the background should be “white or close to white” with no borders around the edge. Eyeglasses are permitted, but not glasses that are tinted or otherwise obscure the eyes. Head coverings are allowed only for religious purposes and must not obscure the applicant’s face. A complete list of the specifications is available here.

As BAL reported in March, photo specifications vary depending on the country where the foreign national is submitting an application and are likely to be different for applicants applying outside of the U.S.

BAL Analysis: Those with questions about photo specifications should contact BAL or the embassy, consulate or visa center where they are submitting their visa application.

Copyright © 2017 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact