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Netherlands Passport Photo Requirements 2018

Criteria for accepting passport photos in Dutch travel documents

The photo is intended to identify the applicant. Applicants for travel documents are therefore required to submit a colour passport photo that shows a true likeness of themselves. A photo will be accepted only if it meets all the criteria specified below, unless one of the exceptions in the Passport Regulations applies.



The passport photo must be 35 by 45 mm (width x height).
Width: from ear to ear, between 16 mm and 20 mm.
Height: from age 11: from chin to crown, between 26 and 30 mm.

up to age 11: from chin to crown, between 19 and 30 mm.


The photo is in focus and is a true likeness and natural representation of the applicant. The photo shows sufficient contrast and fine features of the face, and the facial colouring is natural.

By high-quality, smooth photo paper, we mean paper intended for printing photos. The paper contains no raised surfaces or any other tangible or visible irregularities that might distort the appearance of the applicant.

The photographer needs to know that the photo must be 400 dpi and judge whether the photo looks as if its minimum resolution is 400 dpi.

The photo appears in black and white on the travel document, but is stored in colour on the microchip.



Natural representation

In focus, sufficient contrast, discernible fine facial features


Not a reproduction (copy)

Not manipulated

Printed on high-quality, smooth photo paper

Minimum 400 dpi resolution


The background colour must be light grey, pale blue, or white. The background must be even, in a single colour, and without shadow or merging colours.

There must be sufficient contrast between the head and the background. Insufficient contrast reduces the clarity of the photograph in the travel document.

Light grey, pale blue, or white

Uniformly lit

One colour only

No merging of colours

Sufficient contrast between head and background



The eyes and the whole face must be entirely visible. Hair that falls over the eyes (or parts of the eyes such as the eyelids) or otherwise hides part of the face can be an obstacle to human or electronic facial recognition.

The width of the face (from ear to ear) cannot be determined if the sides of the face are covered. This does not mean that the ears themselves must be visible.

No shadows, especially around the eyes and no reflections from accessories such as ribbons and earrings should be visible on the face.

Head covering is permitted only for religious, philosophical, or medical reasons (see Exceptions).

Face entirely visible

Eyes entirely visible

Eyebrows visable



The head and the shoulders must appear straight from the front. If the head is tilted backward, forward, or to one side, or the face is pointed to the side, human or electronic facial recognition may be obstructed.

Support may not be visible on the photograph, so the supporter’s hands should be hidden beneath the subject’s clothes.

Eyes on a horizontal line
Head not tilted to one side

Shoulders straight
No visible support



If the applicant’s face is to be recognised successfully by human or electronic means, the applicant must be photographed looking straight at the camera with a neutral expression and a closed mouth.

Applicants may not smile broadly or open their mouths – which does not mean that they have to look surly or sullen.

Neutral facial expression

Looking straight at the camera

Mouth closed




The eyes must be entirely visible on the photo. This means that eyes may not be hidden in any way by eyeglasses and /or lensses.

Reflection in the lenses or on the frame must be prevented as far as possible. If it is not possible to prevent reflection, the applicant must take off the glasses.

Eyes entirely visible

Eyebrows visible

Fully transparent lenses

No distortion caused by reflection from the eyeglasses

No shadow



The face and the background must be uniformly lit. Underexposure or overexposure, shadow, and reflection must always be prevented.

The face may not contain white spots, as sometimes caused by a flash. Reflection can be caused by glowing skin, sweat, eyeglasses, jewellery, etc.

Uniformly lit

Not overexposed or underexposed
No shadow on the face or the background

No reflection on the face
No reflection caused by accessories



The applicant must appear in the middle of the photograph. The head must be fully visible. Only if an applicant has a high hairstyle may some of the hair not be shown.

Head fully visible

Head centred


If the applicant can demonstrate religious or philosophical reasons for covering the head, all the acceptance criteria described in the Guidelines are applicable, except:
– category 4 APPEARANCE OF FACE ‘head uncovered’.


If the applicant is a child younger than six years, minimum requirements apply to the passport photo. The minimum requirements are all the acceptance criteria in the Photo Matrix Guidelines except:
– category 5 POSTURE ‘eyes on a horizontal line’, ‘head not tilted to one side’, and ‘shoulders straight’; – category 6 EXPRESSION ‘neutral expression’, ‘looking straight at the camera’, and ‘mouth closed’.


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