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How to Get Biometric Photos in Turkey


Ken Grubb

When applying for a residence permitwork permit, citizenship, or a driving license, you must provide one or more biometric photos. Usually, you must also scan one of them and upload it to an online application system.

What is a Biometric Photo?

A biometric photo is an ordinary photograph you can have taken at any photoshop. The photo must be of a specific width and height (determined by the government organization which requires it). It must display enough detail of your facial features so it can be scanned by a device that records, from the photo, the relative distances between your facial features. The measurement information from these photos is stored in a database so it can later be compared with your real face.

A practical example of the use of biometrics is when you enter a country with your passport. You present your passport (which has your facial biometric information stored in a chip) to the border official. A facial recognition scanner then scans your face and compares the measurements of your facial features to data stored in your passport. In that way, they can know it's really you.

The key thing to know is that a biometric photo is just a high-quality photo of your face. It would be more accurate to call it "a high-quality photo suitable for biometric measurement of your facial features." But that would be even more confusing, so they just call it a "biometric photo."

Where Can I Get a Biometric Photo?

You can have a biometric photo taken at any photography studio in Turkey. Just say "biometric photo" in English, and they'll know what you need.

It takes maybe five or ten minutes to get the photo taken, and maybe 30 minutes for them to print it, so after you have it taken, go have a coffee and come back to get it.

Biometric Photo Standards

You must submit a photo which meets the biometric photo standards for a residence permit. The immigration office has put out a Word document which explains exactly how your photo must be.

Immigration Office Biometric Photo Standards Download

Download the above document and take it with you to the photo studio when you get your photo taken. If your photo isn't right, your residence permit won't be approved. The immigration office will send you a message to bring them a proper photo.

Here are immigration office guidelines for a good biometric photo, taken from that document: 

1. The face and hairstyle must be centered on the photograph and completely visible. Contrast must be controlled well, details must be sharp and clear enough. The height of the face must be between 32 mm and 36 mm and comprise between 70% and 80% of the photograph.

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2. There must not be spots or distortion on the photograph, colours must be neutral and the photograph must reflect the natural colour of the face.

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3. Your photograph must be taken while you are looking at the camera directly, eyes must be open and clearly visible, and hair must not cover the eyes.

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4. Head must be upright and must not be facing any other direction, person must not smile or have any other expression, and mouth must be closed. Right and left features of the face between tip of the chin and hairline must be completely visible.

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5. Background of the photograph must be without a pattern or shadow, for the ones who have dark hair it must be white and for the ones who have fair-hair it must be midtoned grey.

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6. Light must be projected on the face equally, there must not be any reflection, shadow, or "red eye" on the photo. 

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7. Eyes must be clearly visible, there must not be any reflection on the glasses, sunglasses or coloured glasses must not be worn, frame of the glasses must not cover the eyes.

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8. Except for the accessories that the person has out of necessity such as eyeglasses, objects such as hats, caps, or pipes must not be used.

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9. For the photographs of the persons who wear a head covering, the face must be visible between the tip of the chin and forehead, there must not be any shadow on the face, and the colour of the scarf must be different than the colour of the background.

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10. For the photographs of the minors there must not be anyone else or any object in the photo and also attention must be paid to the other points above.

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Assistance and Support

Turkey Central Forums: Do you have a question? Search our forums to see if it's already been answered. If it hasn't, feel free to open a new topic.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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