Photo Requirements for the American DV Lottery

The submitted image to the DV Lottery must adhere to the following specifications. Photographs submitted for the DV Lottery must be a recent photograph, taken within the last 6 months.

Failure to comply with any of the following requirements may result in disqualification from the DV Lottery.

The digital image must adhere to the following specifications:

  • Dimensions The image dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (the height must be equal to the width). Minimum acceptable dimensions are 600 x 600 pixels. Maximum acceptable dimensions are 1200 x 1200 pixels. Please review photo requirements for specific dimensions.
  • Color The image must be in color (24 bits per pixel) in sRGB color space which is the common output for most digital cameras.
  • File Format The image must be in JPEG file format
  • File Size The image must be less than or equal to 240 kB (kilobytes).
  • Compression The image may need to be compressed in order for it to be under the maximum file size. The compression ratio should be less than or equal to 20:1.

Your photos or digital images must be:

  • In color
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
  • Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
  • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
    Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
  • Eyeglasses are no longer allowed in new visa photos, except in rare circumstances when eyeglasses cannot be removed for medical reasons; e.g., the applicant has recently had ocular surgery and the eyeglasses are necessary to protect the applicant’s eyes. A medical statement signed by a medical professional/health practitioner must be provided in these cases. If the eyeglasses are accepted for medical reasons:
    • The frames of the eyeglasses must not cover the eye(s).
    • There must not be glare on eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
    • There must not be shadows or refraction from the eyeglasses that obscures the eye(s).
  • If you normally wear a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in your photo.

Other Tips:

  • Shadows and Lighting: Clear and in color, reproduces skin tones accurately, and is properly exposed with no shadows
  • Glasses: Glasses not allowed.
  • Photo should be 2”x2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm).
  • Digital alterations and retouching not allowed.
  • Applicant is directly facing camera with a neutral expression, eyes are clearly visible
  • You may not wear hats or head coverings, except for religious or medical purposes and with a signed statement.
  • It is acceptable if the infant or child’s eyes (particularly a newborn’s) are not, or are not entirely, open.
  • Background: Uniform, plain and white or off-white, and free of shadows.

Review the Photo Examples to see examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos. Photos copied or digitally scanned from driver’s licenses or other official documents are not acceptable. In addition, snapshots, magazine photos, low quality vending machine or mobile phone photos, and full-length photographs are not acceptable.

Crop your photo to the right size using our Photo Tool.

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