Wife and Kids had their US Visa biometric and photo submission today. For adults the Visa Application Center takes photos, however for children below 14, they ask for photographs in a prescribed format.

It completely missed my mind that we had to keep the photographs of the dynamic duo ready, and that the photos needed by the US VAC is an unusual 2inch X 2inch. With the appointment less than a day away, we checked with the local studio who said that the ‘Urgent photo’ quality is usually not accepted by the US visa folks, and the usual one would take at least a day more.

Thankfully it was my weekly off and i read the US visa photo guidelines and found that they were much more relaxed and even had an Adobe flash based online tool to crop photos. It does not work on my computer anymore since it requires the prehistoric Internet Explorer. Thankfully there were some other steps I did that may help you if you intend to take some urgent prints.

  1. I took some quick high res photos of both my kids on a white cloth background. Getting the younger 11-month brat to pose was quite a challenge. Between a few tantrum-filled frames we found a couple of acceptable ones.
  2. It was nice to find a tool that helped trim the photo to US visa specs.
  3. The photo needed some more work since it had a shadow, and few fold-marks of the cloth in the background. That’s when i found this genius website – https://remove.bg . That completely makes the background transparent or fills it with a shade of your choice
  4. Now the trick was to get the photos printed in the correct size. I used Pages (Mac equivalent of MS Word), you could use any word processor that allows you to insert images. Turn the Ruler feature on from the ‘View’ menu which will help you insert and resize the image to the correct one.
  5. Luckily I had some good stock of Kodak photo paper at home, and I use a HP Ink-tank Deskjet printer which gives terrific photo quality prints. I used it to take the photos and carefully cut the photos to the correct size.

The visual results were comparable or perhaps even better than a studio print. The photos were checked just once at the US visa center and immediately approved!

From a day that began with anxiety, it was nice to see that we cleared the first round. Now it’s time to get anxious for the actual interview round.. fingers crossed.