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Practice Note
Big Change! The Photo Used for Immigration Application Will be Changed to Passport-Style Photos

A big change in the photographs used in immigration application is about to happen.


USCIS advises on July 28, 2004 that, starting Monday, August 1, 2004, USCIS will begin accepting photographs in the Department of State (DOS) standard style (frontal view) for all benefits applications. There will be a transitional period during which the currently used 3/4 profile style photos will continue to be accepted by USCIS for those cases currently requiring that format. USCIS will also announce a cut-off date after which only the DOS standard style photos will be accepted.  The cut-off date is expected to be September 1. USCIS will not send RFEs for DOS-style photographs on pending cases. USCIS also advised that it will issue a public notice regarding the new photos and applicable deadlines, and that it expects to generate new photo specifications in approximately another six months, as DHS develops them to deal with new facial recognition software.


The following information on changes in photograph requirements has been received from the Nebraska Service Center and California Service Center, respectively.


From the Nebraska Service Center:

Passport-Style Photo To Replace ADIT-Style Photos


To comply with an agreement that requires the adoption of International Civil Aviation Organization standards for all travel documents by October 26, 2004, USCIS service centers will transition from ADIT-style photos to passport-style photos for all USCIS documentation, not just travel documents. The USCIS expects to publish a Federal Register notice in the near future requiring the submission of passport-style photos on and after a target date (expected to be August 1, 2004). Until the target date, the NSC will accept either ADIT-style or passport-style photos. On and after the target date, we will only accept passport-style photos.


From the California Service Center:


On or about August 1st, 2004, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will adopt the Department of State's photograph standard (passport photos) for all documents/applications or petitions filed with the agency.

This means that USCIS will change from 3/4 profile photographs to full frontal photographs (commonly called passport style photographs) for all documents that it produces. Information regarding photograph guidelines can be found at the Department of State web site at:



Detailed information about this new photograph standard are being produced with USCIS. Public notice materials will be released in the coming days. You are encouraged to check the USCIS web-site for additional information.  You should start submitting the new photographs with applications and petitions filed at the California Service Center (CSC) now.


For applications and petitions currently pending with the CSC, please do not submit new photos unless you are requested to do so. However, you should send in passport style photographs with all future applications or petitions that require photographs.

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