U.S. Department of State Home U.S. Department of State Home TRAVEL.STATE.GOV U.S. Department of State Banner Applicant Entry System v12.01.00

Photo Validation Instructions

Please refer to the Instructions for the 2017 Diversity Immigrant Visa program (DV-2017) for technical specifications and compositional specifications for the digital image. You will use one of the following methods to enter the image into eDV:

  • Take a new digital image.
  • Use a digital scanner to scan a submitted photograph.
Specific instructions are included for both methods.

Photograph File Name

Clicking the 'Browse' button will allow you to look for and choose the file which is storing the photograph, and after you choose the file its name will appear in the box above.

Back To Welcome Page

Photo Requirements

The submitted image must adhere to the following specifications. Photographs submitted must be a recent photograph, taken within the last 6 months. Please be advised that failure to comply with any of the following requirements may result in disqualification from the lottery.

Image Acquisition
  • The image file may be produced by acquiring an image with a digital camera or by digitizing a paper photograph with a scanner.
  • Digital enhancement or other alterations or retouching are not permitted.
  • The original aspect ratio of the image must be preserved. (No image stretching is allowed.)
Compositional Specifications


  • The image must contain the full face, neck, and shoulders of the entrant in frontal view with a neutral, non-smiling expression and with eyes open and directed at the camera.
  • The image must not contain any parts of the body below the entrant's shoulders.
  • The image must not include other objects or additional people.
  • The entrant must be vertically oriented in the image.
  • The image must be from a recent (within 6 months) photo of the entrant.

    Head Position

  • The subject must directly face the camera.
  • The head must not be tilted up, down, or to the side.
  • The head height (measured from the top of the head, including the hair, to the bottom of the chin) must be between 50% and 69% of the image‚Äôs total height. The eye height (measured from the bottom of the image to the level of the eyes) should be between 56% and 69% of the image's total height. The diagram below shows these measurements on a correctly-proportioned image.

Photo Template

Well-Composed Photos
Well-Composed Photo #1 Well-Composed Photo #2
Well-Composed Photo #3

INCORRECT: Photo Was Retouched INCORRECT: Image Was Stretched
INCORRECT: Photo Was Retouched INCORRECT: Image Was Stretched
INCORRECT: Not Facing Camera INCORRECT: Image Not Portrait View
INCORRECT: Not Facing Camera INCORRECT: Image Not Portrait View
INCORRECT: Head Too Small INCORRECT: Head Too Large
INCORRECT: Head Too Small INCORRECT: Head Too Large

  • Subject must be surrounded by a plain, light-colored background with no distracting shadows on the subject or background.

INCORRECT: Background Not Plain
INCORRECT: Background Not Plain
  • The entire face must be in focus.
  • Fine facial features must be clearly recognizable.
  • Pixels or dot patterns must not be perceptible.

INCORRECT: Not In Focus INCORRECT: Visible/Coarse Pattern
INCORRECT: Not In Focus INCORRECT: Visible/Coarse Pattern
INCORRECT: Resolution Too Low
INCORRECT: Resolution Too Low

    Decorative Items
  • Photos in which the person being photographed is wearing sunglasses or other items that obscure the face are not acceptable.
  • Eyeglasses are acceptable in a photo only if the lenses are not tinted and there is no glare, shadows, or rims/frames obscuring the eyes. Glare on eyeglasses can usually be avoided by a slight upward or downward tilt of the head.

INCORRECT: Glare On Glasses
INCORRECT: Glare On Glasses
    Head Coverings and Hats
  • Hats or head coverings are only allowed if worn for religious reasons AND if they do not obscure any facial features.
  • Photos containing tribal or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are unacceptable.
  • Photos of military, airline, or other personnel wearing hats are not acceptable.
    Brightness, Contrast, and Color
  • Color must reflect natural skin tones.
  • Brightness and contrast must accurately represent the subject.

INCORRECT: Improper Color INCORRECT: Too Dark
Improper Color Too Dark
INCORRECT: Contrast Too High
INCORRECT: Contrast Too High

    Exposure and Lighting
  • Photo may not be over-exposed or under-exposed.
  • Shadows must be avoided on the face or background.

INCORRECT: Over-Exposed INCORRECT: Shadows On Face
Over-Exposed Shadows On Face
INCORRECT: Shadow On Background
INCORRECT: Shadow On Background