What is the change? Chinese embassy and consulate officials in some countries 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 an application unnecessarily delayed.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Chinese visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for Chinese visas at an embassy, consulate or visa center.
  • Impact on processing times: Visa applications may be unnecessarily delayed if applicants do not adhere to the photo guidelines.

Background: Photo specifications vary depending on the country where the foreign national is submitting an application.

In India, for example, photos must be in color, taken in the last six months and submitted on 35- by 45-millimeter glossy paper. The applicant’s face should cover 80 percent of the photograph. The background must be white and the applicant should not be wearing white clothes. Eyeglasses are permitted, but not thick-rimmed or tinted glasses.

BAL has noticed the strict enforcement of photo specifications at the embassies and consulates in India and Singapore in particular, but applicants should be sure to follow photo specifications no matter where they are applying.

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.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

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