Can You Wear Makeup on A Passport Photo?

makeup on a passport photo

You better know the rules of wearing makeup on a passport photo. Otherwise, the passport procedure may hinder indefinitely due to wrong makeup even if you’ve submitted your other official documents accordingly. 

So, what’s the rule for women about wearing makeup on a passport photo?

Yes, you can wear makeup on a passport photo. There’s no specific makeup guideline by the US Embassy or Consular, nor a bar in putting on makeup while taking a passport photo. According to the US Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs guidelines for passport photos, we can derive a few essential features of a passport photo, realizing how your makeup should be on a passport photo. Hence, comes the makeup guideline as follows:

  • Apply minimal makeup that doesn’t contrast much with your real-life look on your regular days. 
  • Apply concealer to blur the dark circles under your eyes. 
  • Apply light foundation so it doesn’t alter your skin tone on a passport photo. 
  • Avoid greasy or oily makeup while taking the passport photo. 
  • Avoid too much powder to save your face from an overexposure or pale look on the passport photo. 
  • Avoid too much eyeshadow and contouring. 
  • Avoid fake eyelashes. 
  • Avoid bold lipstick colors, such as bright red, blue, or purple. 

Maintaining these basics would allow you to take a perfect photo for your passport application. You better keep in mind other matters to avoid a non-approval of your passport application due to an inappropriate photo. 

How to Do Makeup for A Passport Photo?

The following tutorial might come in handy in preparing your face for a passport photo. Please note, it’s not an endorsement for any official licensing or permitting photos, but merely a suggestion for a better passport photo:

  • Step 1: Prepare your facial skin properly by cleansing, toning, serum, and moisturizing (oil-free).
  • Step 2: Apply a suitable primer if you need it for your skin. 
  • Step 3: Apply an SPF-free and lightweight foundation as per your skin tone. Blend it with a makeup-blender evenly. 
  • Step 4: Hide your small blemishes, scars, and under-eye dark circles with a concealer. 
  • Step 5: Apply some setting powder to keep the foundation and concealer from loosening. 
  • Step 6: Since contouring poses a risk of glitching the passport photo, you may apply a creamy blush instead.
  • Step 7: Apply eyebrow gel with a brush while setting your eyes with a neutral-tone eyeshadow.
  • Step 8: Apply a natural finish and light coat mascara instead of attaching fake eyelashes. 
  • Step 9: Apply lipstick that matches your natural lip color.

Here’s a passport photo makeup tutorial video for your help:

Passport Photo Makeup Tutorial by TrinaDuhra

Why Isn’t A Bold Makeup Allowed in A Passport Photo?

You should be minimalistic in your makeup while taking a passport photo to verify your facial identity. While making a passport, you take a digital image, which goes through a biometric system for full-face identification, including every feature of your face. 

A practical reason behind this full-face identification is that your passport photo will be verified by the immigration officials each time you travel to a country. The assigned official shall inspect your passport photo while verifying it with your natural face in flesh and blood. 

As per US Embassy or Consular requirements, your face on the passport photo must resemble your current face.

You’re getting a passport for a long validity (5 to 10 years, varying in countries). So, you can realize how important it is to keep consistency between your passport and real images, given every immigration verification you need to pass. 

Any bold, bizarre, or celebrity-like makeup on the passport photo may steal your true identity, making it compulsory for passport officials to reject your passport application, following the ‘minimum makeup’ rules. 

Hence, a minimal makeup look replaces the bold makeup look in a passport photo in most countries. 

Does the Same Rule for Makeup Apply to Jewelry on A Passport Photo?

Like makeup, jewelry on a passport photo should be minimal and modest. A passport photo is an element of an official endorsement for national and international affairs, not a social media trendsetter. However, you’ll be allowed to keep a few jewelry items while taking a passport photo.

Precisely, you can wear the following jewelry on a passport photo:

  • Earrings of small to medium sizes with small studs.
  • Necklaces of simple designs and diffuse colors.
  • Face piercings.
  • Noserings if you wear a nosering regularly. 

Note: The U.S. and many other countries accept permanent tattoos on the face or neck if you keep them while taking a passport photo. 

Facial Poses and Expressions on A Passport Photo 

makeup on a passport photo
Facial Poses and Expressions on A Passport Photo 

Apart from the makeup and jewelry concerns, you should be aware of some other vital elements regarding your facial poses and expressions while taking a passport photo.

The U.S. Passports appoints the following aspects of ‘poses and expressions for a passport photo’:

  • You should face the camera directly with a neutral expression or a gentle smiling face.
  • Your shoulder should be square to the camera, not rotated elsewhere. 
  • Your head shouldn’t tilt backward, sideways, or forward.
  • Neither Your eyes should be gazing down, sideways, or upward, nor they should be closed. 


What makes a passport photo stand out is its simplistic yet standard rules. A passport photo allows a woman to wear makeup, but she needs to oblige by the passport official guidelines for an authentic and appropriate image. 

You can follow the simple makeup tutorial for the passport photo we’ve stated above or develop your own steps to take an appropriate passport photo following the immigration and passport guidelines of the country in which you reside. Make sure to comply with your destination country’s immigration rules too.

Share with us any better information and tips regarding wearing makeup on a passport photo. We’re all ears.   

Mohammad Anique

Mohammad Anique is the editor at WomenMinds who writes informative and helpful blogs on various topics, including beauty, skincare, parenting, etc. He's a bookworm, an animal lover, and an aspiring writer.

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