Ready for your upcoming international trip? One of the first items on your to-do list is likely getting a passport (or renewing your passport) or, in some cases, getting a visa*. The first thing you’ll need to do to start the process is get your photo taken. But this photo is decidedly not like any old selfie on your camera roll.

WorldStrides’ experts on passports and visas have seen their fair share of mistakes. (Seriously. We’ve seen some doozies!) These passport photo errors can slow down the process of getting your passport or visa in time for travel. So before you flash those pearly whites for the camera, read our comprehensive guide to Passport and Visa Photos. Whether you are headed to the drugstore or doing it at home, these rules will help you ensure a perfect passport photo every time.

(Oh and don’t flash those pearly whites. That’s one of the most common passport photo mistakes!)

Can't see the guide? Download it here.

*Wondering if you need a travel visa? Requirements for travel visas are based on where you are traveling, and the nationality of each traveler. WorldStrides will notify program planners if their travel destination requires a visa for American citizens. Please note rules for visa photos vary by country. Our tips here are primarily focused on China, whose standards are particularly strict. However, we recommend you read the rules for your visa needs carefully to ensure compliance.