Acceptable visa photos

Your visa photo must be less than 6 months old and clearly identify you. It must also meet all of our technical requirements.

Meeting our photo requirements

If your photo does not meet all of our requirements we will ask you for a new photo. We cannot process your visa application until we receive an acceptable photo.

Visa photos are not passport photos

Visa photos are different to passport photos. Use the photo examples on this page to check your photo is correct and meets our requirements.

Do not use the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs website or other online tools to check your photo as those tools are for passport photos only.

Using a professional photographer

Your photo is more likely to be accepted if you use a professional photographer or business that takes passport photos. Give the photographer our instructions to make sure get a photo that meets our requirements.

Technical requirements for professional photographers PDF 453KB

Paper applications

The photo you submit with a paper application must be 35 mm wide and 45 mm high. Further instructions are on the paper application forms.

Online applications

The photo you submit with an online application must be between:

We are unlikely to accept your photo if it is not the right size.

Acceptable visa photo dimensions.

Online photo error messages

If there is an issue with your photo you will receive an error message when you submit your visa photo online. To help you, we have provided a list of online errors and how to fix them.

Uploading a visa photo — error messages

Taking your visa photo

Your photo must:

Be in portrait (not landscape)

Acceptable photo - portrait.   Incorrect photo - landscape.

Be of you (not a photo of a photo or your travel document)

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - travel document.   Incorrect photo - captured image.

Have even lighting with minimal shadowing

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - heavy shadow.   Incorrect photo - bright.   Incorrect photo - dark.

Be in colour, showing natural skin tones

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - filtered.

Be in focus (not blurry)

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - blurry.

Not contain red-eye

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - red eye.

Be an original photo (not changed by photo-editing software)

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - altered.

Not be a selfie

Acceptable photo.  Incorrect photo - selfie.

Be taken 1.5 metres from the face

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - too close to camera.

Be taken against a plain, light-coloured (but not white) background with no patterns or objects

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - patterned background.   Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - background objects.

Only contain plain clothing patterns

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - Hawaiian shirt.

Be of one person

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - two people.

We need to clearly see your face

Face the camera and keep your head straight

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - facing away.

Keep your eyes open and mouth closed

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - mouth open.   Incorrect photo - eyes closed.

Do not smile or frown

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - smiling.

Show your face clearly and that long hair is tucked behind your ears

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - hair obscuring face.

Position yourself in the middle of the photo

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - face too close.   Incorrect photo - face too far away.

Remove sunglasses and hats

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - sunglasses.   Incorrect glasses - hat.

If you wear prescription glasses

Make sure your eyes show clearly through the lenses, with no reflected light

It may be easier to remove them.

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - glasses obscuring face.   Incorrect photo - reflected light on glasses.

If you wear a head covering for religious or medical reasons

Make sure that your face and hairline can be seen in the photo

Acceptable photo.   Incorrect photo - head covering obscuring face.