It Is Ok to Smile Again – but Not Too Much

Washington, D.C. – May 22, 2019: The Department of State (“DOS”) announced today that it is updating its guidance regarding photographs for visa processes. Under the latest guidance, it is permissible for applicants to show a faint smile, with no teeth showing.

The guidance, set out at 9 FAM 303.6-2(A)(1) (U) “Photo Standards”, is copied below:

The applicant must be shown in full frontal view, with full head, from crown of the head to the tip of the chin and from hair line side-to-side, with the eyes wide open and have a neutral facial expression. A natural smile, as shown in Photo Examples on Travel.State.Gov, can be considered a neutral facial expression.


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