Whether you’re applying for a United States passport for the first time or looking to renew an existing passport for an upcoming trip, you’ll be required to submit two identical passport photos along with your application. There are few exceptions to this, such as if you’re renewing a passport within 10 years of its original issue date.
There are strict TSA ID requirements in place for passport photos, however, so you’ll want to make sure you follow these before you submit. Otherwise, you could end up having your application rejected.
Typically, the best way to make sure your passport photo is taken and printed correctly the first time around is to have it professionally done. The good news is that most pharmacies and even grocery stores that offer a photo center have qualified and experienced photo technicians available to take and print your passport photo in as little as a few minutes.
CVS is one example of a popular pharmacy that offers passport photo services. If you’re thinking about heading to your local CVS to have a passport photo taken, there are a few things you should know before you go!
Does Your CVS Offer Passport Photos?
Start by confirming that the CVS near you offers passport photos as part of their services. Most CVS locations with a photo center should offer this service, but it’s always best to confirm before you visit. You can do this by checking out the website of the specific CVS store you have in mind, or give them a call directly. You should not have to make an appointment in advance to have a passport photo done, but it never hurts to call and make sure that a trained photo technician will be available at the time of your visit.
Preparing For Your Passport Photo
Before you head to CVS to have your passport photo done, there are a few things you’ll want to make sure of. For starters, keep in mind that you are not permitted to wear a uniform of any kind in a passport photo—so if you were planning on having your photo done after work, you may want to bring a change of clothes. If you want to learn more about passport photo requirement before you go to the store you can reach our passport photo guide.
You’ll also want to make sure that any headgear or glasses are removed prior to your photo unless you are wearing them for religious or medical reasons. If this is the case, you’ll need to obtain a signed note from your doctor or a signed statement of your religion to submit with your passport application.
Aside from this, there isn’t much else you need to worry about when having your passport photo taken at CVS. Your trained and experienced photo technician will be able to ensure all the specific requirements are met, such as conforming to background and white-space restrictions.
What to Expect From a CVS Passport Photo Service
When you arrive at your local CVS, head back to the photo center and let the employee working there know that you need a passport photo. If there is nobody at the desk (as is sometimes the case if workers are stocking shelves or helping other shoppers), your best bet is to head to the front registers and letting the person there know that you need help at the photo desk. From there, he or she should be able to phone a photo technician to meet you back by the photo center.
Next, the photo technician will likely ask you to step in front of a neutral backdrop so that the photo can be taken. If you are wearing any headgear or glasses that are not required for medical or religious reasons, you will be asked to remove these for the photo. Before the picture is taken, you will be instructed by the photo technician to maintain a neutral appearance on your face. As inclined as you may be to smile for your picture, this is unfortunately not permitted in passport pictures!
Once your photo is taken, your CVS photo technician will upload it into a computer and use a special program to make sure it conforms to the strict standards and regulations in place for passport photos. If needed, the technician can make small edits or may even ask you to have the photo re-taken until all requirements are met.
From there, the photo technician will print out two copies of your passport photo and place them in a protective envelope if you don’t have your passport holder on you. You can pay for your passport photos at the photo center or take them to one of the from registers after you’ve completed any other shopping you may need to do. After all, you simply need to include your passport photos with your application and drop it in the mail.
Saving Money on Your CVS Passport Photo
As far as professional passport photo services go, CVS is pretty reasonably priced. At most stores, you’ll pay around $16 for two passport photos. However, CVS is frequently offering discounts and running promotions that can save you money on these and other photo services. Before you head to your local CVS for a passport photo, be sure to check the CVS Photo website for current promo codes. At the time of this writing, the CVS website is offering a coupon for $2 off passport photo services that you can redeem by printing out or showing the coupon on your phone at the register.
While $16 may seem like a lot of money to pay for two identical pictures, it is actually quite reasonable when you consider all the strict requirements that must be met when submitting a passport photo. CVS uses KODAK Biometric ID software to verify that all photos taken will conform to these requirements, which can save you a lot of time and hassle. And of course, submitting your photos correctly the first time will also save you the cost involved in having to re-submit an application.
When it comes to having your passport photo taken, consider visiting your local CVS if they offer these photo services. The entire process can take just a few minutes and can save you a lot of hassle and stress when applying for a new passport or renewing an existing one. From there, you can submit your passport application with confidence.