Where to Take a European Visa Photo in the U.S.


If you have a U.S. passport, you can visit 185 countries without a visa. However, with the Schengen area (which includes 26 nations) things are not that simple. Not all travelers from America can enter visa-free. Read the post to find out who falls into this category, as well as where you can get the right photo when applying for an entry permit.

Who Does Need and Who Doesn’t?

If you live in the United States on a temporary or permanent basis, you DO NOT need a visa if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Your home country has a waiver agreement with the EU, and you can skip the visa procedures
  • You have dual citizenship, one of which belongs to either an EU member state (then you travel with an EU passport) or to any country that has visa-free entry arrangements

However, there are cases when travelers from America must apply for an entry permit in advance if they live in the United States and:

  • Come from a country whose citizens can’t go to the EU without a visa
  • Have been previously denied entry for any reasons

Getting the Right Photo for a Visa

In addition to the standard package of documents (a filled-in form, insurance, proof of accommodation, etc.), you also need a special format visa – 35×45 mm or 3.5×4.5 cm in size. There are many places in the U.S to have your picture taken quickly (you can pay extra to get the photo converted to digital format):

  • Pharmacies (Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS)
  • Postal service agencies (FedEx, USPS)

However, they mostly specialize in photos for the U.S. passport (51×51 mm) and usually don’t work with a smaller format, which is required for a Schengen visa. While you may get a satisfactory result at a chain store if you come across one, it’s still better to use a versatile online tool. Such softwares can guarantee 100% reliable results and will not put your application at risk with a questionable image.

Quick Online Photo Editor

The service is available from anywhere in the world and all you need is a smartphone with decent camera and about $7 USD:

1.Take a photo with your phone. Make sure the camera is 1,5 m away from your face. Stand in a well-lit spot. Don’t take a selfie, those aren’t allowed for any visa applications. Either use a tripod or ask someone for help. Go at it several times to choose the best picture.
2.Upload the file to a European visa photo tool. It’s a clever editor that scans the image, detects areas that need improving, crops it to the right sizes, and changes the background to the right color.
3. Pay for the services and download the result. You’ll get 2 files: one photo in a digital format (for online applications) and a special ready-made template (for printing that will cost you about an extra $0.20-$0.40).

How are the Online Services Better?

  • Fast. The program processes the photo within a few minutes
  • Convenient. Since the service is available 24/7, you can use it at any time 
  • Reliable. Thousands of users have already adjusted their pictures to make them compliant with the specifications. If your application is rejected because of the wrong format, the service will provide a complete refund and a new photo for free. But this case is very unlikely, so you should not worry
  • Simple. The interface is easy to understand for any user. You’ll get what you want in a couple of clicks
  • Cheap. The cost is lower than at any offline center. If you subtract the commute time and price, it’s even more cost-effective
  • Safer. You do everything from home and reduce the risk of exposing yourself to COVID

If you reside in the U.S but need a visa to enter the Schengen zone, it’s best to get everything done in advance. Taking the photo for your visa is yet another risky thing. While going to a chain store to get the pictures done may seem safe and familiar, choosing the online alternative will provide you with a foolproof result that 100% has you looking good as well. Shops may be closed, cameras won’t work: there’s a bunch of complications that may happen and it’s not something you want when applying for a visa.

Always mind the pandemic situation to avoid unnecessary delays on your journey. 


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