Visa Applicants at Chinese Consulates: Comply with Photo Requirements

The Chinese Embassy rolled out new photo requirements last December for visa applications processed at consulates in the U.S. Over the past few weeks, our firm has become aware of stringent enforcement of these specifications at various consulates nationwide. This anecdotal evidence, gleaned from both our clients and fellow immigration law firms, compels us to remind applicants of the importance of complying with the requirements. Failure to do so could result in a delay in processing, at best, or an outright rejection of a visa application, at worst.

Photo Specifications

According to the Chinese Embassy, photographs for all types of visa applications submitted by foreign nationals to Chinese consulates in the U.S. must adhere to the following:

  • Photos must be in color, with a “white or as close to white” background.
  • Photos should not have borders.
  • Photos must have been taken within the six months prior to submitting visa applications.
  • With respect to an applicant’s face in the photo:

    -The face must be centered.

    -While an applicant may wear eyeglasses, no tint or other obstruction of the face is permitted.

    -While an applicant may wear a head covering for religious purposes, the covering cannot obscure the applicant’s face.

  • For digital photos:

    -The width must be between 354 pixels and 420 pixels.

    -The height must be between 472 pixels and 560 pixels.

The Chinese Embassy’s full list of requirements, which includes examples of unacceptable visa photos, is available here.

Our Thoughts

The requirements apply to all Chinese visas, and enforcement of the requirements has been consistent since their rollout in December. Visa applicants at Chinese consulates in the U.S. should take the requirements seriously and prepare accordingly so as to preempt any unnecessary delays in processing stemming from unacceptable photographs. Applicants in the U.S. with related questions should contact the Chinese consulate with jurisdiction over their residence. As always, we invite our current and potential clients to reach out to us with any and all inquiries.

Former U.S. Consular officer, Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.

Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).

He will use his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past twenty years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, P.C.

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