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Photographic Requirements



Photographic Image Requirements for New Zealand Travel Documents and Citizenship Applications
The Department of Internal Affairs has revised its photo standards for use in New Zealand travel documents and applications for citizenship. The new photo standards are effective from 1 June 2005.

The revised standards match those set by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). ICAO photo standards have been reviewed to accommodate the introduction of a chip-enhanced ePassport with the potential to use Facial Recognition Technology as part of border facilitation.

The Department will be enforcing the revised requirements and any photos not meeting an acceptable standard will be rejected. The processing of the passport cannot begin until a correctly completed application is received (including photos). Any unacceptable photos will delay the time for your passport to be completed. If you are applying for a passport we recommend that you allow sufficient time for the passport to be processed.

By following the photo guidelines you can avoid application-processing delays by ensuring that acceptable photos are taken first time.

Photos in existing passports, issued before the revised requirements were introduced, will not be required to meet the revised photo requirements.

To download or print out the photographic image requirements and tips for taking travel document and citizenship photos click on the links below. (Please note: the photographic image requirements is a large full colour document. To order a hard copy, contact us.) A written summary of the photo guidelines can also be found on page 3 of the passport application form. *This document is in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. In order to download and print this document you need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.


Photographic Proof of Your Identity
All applicants, including babies, must provide two identical photos of themselves. Both photos must be the same in all ways taking care they are not damaged by staples, pins, paperclips, folding or ink etcetera.

The photos must be:
  • Recent photos, less than six months old
  • A full-front view of face, head and shoulders, looking straight at the camera with eyes open and head straight
  • Without hat, head band or head covering. If you wear these for religious or medical reasons, please state the reason on the Statutory Declaration in the passport application form.
  • In all cases, facial features from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead and both edges of the face must be clearly shown
  • Without sunglasses. Tinted prescription glasses may be worn as long as the eyes are still visible. There must be no light reflection on the glasses. Thick or heavy rimmed frames must be removed
  • A true image and not altered in any way
  • Clear, sharp and in focus with minimum reflective light on the face
  • With a plain, light coloured background (not white or dark) and no background shadow
  • Of high quality colour showing natural skin tones (black and white photos are not acceptable)
  • Printed on high quality photographic paper of high resolution, instant colour film and low gloss coated thermal papers providing the printers are high resolution printing systems
  • Not printed with ink jet printers, on extremely high gloss paper or heavily backed thermal paper
  • Taken with a neutral expression with the mouth closed
  • With eyes open and clearly visible, and no hair across the face or eyes
  • Actual photo size of 45mm height x 35mm width
  • Head size a maximum 80% of the photo (36mm) and minimum 70% of the photo (32mm)
The witness who identifies you on the application form must write your full name on the back of one photo, and then sign and date it.

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Last updated: 22/05/2006