The Blog of Martineau & Mindicanu

Photo requirements in the immigration process

head-onWhether for temporary or permanent residence applications, photos are a very important part of the process although it may sound like a small detail. If your photos do not comply with the government specifications, your process could be delayed by a few weeks.

Photos must fulfill the requirements listed below:

  • Be identical. If, for example, you’re being requested to provide 8 photos, all 8 photos must be the same;
  • Have a white background—no other background color is accepted;
  • They can be color or black and white; but we recommend color photos;
  • The face must be in the centre, the eyes must be fixed on the camera, and the head and shoulders must appear;
  • Measurements are 31 mm x 36 mm from chin to crown (for temporary processes). For most permanent residence applications, the face must measure between 25 mm and 30 mm;
  • The frame size must be 35 mm width x 45 mm height;
  • The facial expression must be neutral (not smiling nor frowning);
  • There cannot be any stain, shadow or reflection;
  • If you have long hair, your face must be completely shown;
  • For children who need to be held for the photo, make sure that the hands don’t appear.

Why are photos so important?
Because your photo will be introduced in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada system in order to verify your identity and must comply with the requirements for that to be possible. A photo that does not comply with the specifications cannot be used because it cannot be digitalized.
What can I do?
In order to avoid any issue, you can:

  1. Determine the number of photos required as per the checklist.
  2. Print out the specifications and bring them along so that the photographer follows them.
  3. Verify that the instructions were followed by measuring the frame and the head’s length.
  4. On the back of the photos put the name of the applicant, the date of birth (yyyy/mm/dd) and the date when the photo was taken. For some applications, one photo must not have anything written on the back; follow the instructions of the checklist that applies to your case.

Other recommendations:

  • Send photos taken within the past 5 months.
  • If the photographer printed all the photos in one page, cut them carefully.
  • Make sure that the photos will be easily found in the application envelope. For example, they can be included in a separate, smaller envelope and attached to the checklist or the main form.

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