Many students right now are getting ready to go to the French Consulate this summer to obtain their visa for their up coming study abroad experience. In addition to having all your documents, having correct passport regulation photos is also key. Before going to the French consulate, I went to CVS to have my photos taken…just to have the consulate in NYC ask me to go have regulation photos taken and come back!
My passport photos were too dark. The standard is a color photograph, size 2 x 2 inches that is well lit on a white background within the past 6 months. Your ears should be showing and you can not have any hair clips/ barrettes or any other hair/head accessory visible. Go to a location that is knowledgeable and reputable with passport photos. For my recent passport renewal, I went to AAA. Do not be cheap like me and go to a store that just started doing them or a large chain store which serves several functions. It will cost you more in the long run! Ask your friends, family, or community center if they could recommend you a place in your town that is known for following federal requirements for passport photos.
Just FYI – Your study abroad program does not assist you in getting passport photos for your visa. It’s also a good idea to look how you normally look. For example, if you normally wear minimal make-up, don’t glam up for your passport photos and same in reverse. The photo should be pretty close to how you look on a regular basis.
But the passport photos aren’t just for your visa. During my time in France, I also used the passport photos for my Navigo (public transportation) pass as well as for my carte de séjour. Having passport photos that fit regulation standards the first time around will not only save you money, it will save you time and hassle on your visa day and be useful for other things during your study abroad.
Passport visa budget: $5-10
Fun fact: Passport (EN) and Passeport (FR) are only different by 1 letter.