Submitting a Green Card Picture

When you apply for the Green Card Lottery, you will be required to submit a passport style photo of yourself for your application to be accepted. It is very important to ensure that the photo you submit meets the specific standards to avoid having your application denied. This is another reason applying for the Green Card Lottery through the USAGCL Office can be extremely beneficial: we will review your photo before submitting your application to give you the best possible chance of being accepted. When you apply directly through the government website, your photos will be reviewed only once you have applied. This could result in you unknowingly making the same mistake more than once.

If you are legally married and have children, you may also be required to submit individual photos of your family members. This does not include any children that are married or over the age of 21. However, it does apply even if your family does not intend to move to the United States or apply for their own Green Cards.

Photo Requirements:

The requirements for an acceptable application photo are straightforward, but are very specific and very strict. This is why it can be helpful to have the USAGCL Office review your photo before you submit your application.

There are four basic requirements you should make sure your photo meets before applying. Failing to meet these requirements could result in a denied application.

  • The photo must have a clear resolution. This means the photo cannot be retouched, out of focus, stretched or altered in any way.
  • The photo must be recent. It must have been taken some time within the last six months.
  • The photo must have a clear, white background
  • You must be positioned correctly in the photo. The photo must show your face looking forward, directly at the camera, and may not show anything below the shoulders. You must not smile and your face cannot be obstructed by hair, glasses, or any article of clothing.


These are examples of how your photo should look if you want your application to be accepted:

Well-Composed Photos