Immigration & Checkpoints Authority - APPLES

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority

Application for
Passport On-line Electronic
System (APPLES)

How to take a digital photograph for submission via APPLES?

Guidelines on Taking Photograph

How do I prepare a scanned digital image of my photograph?


How to take a digital photograph for submission via APPLES?

Step 1: Choosing a Digital camera

  • Select digital cameras with resolution of at least 2.0 megapixel. This is to ensure good quality picture suitable for passport printing.
  • If you are a beginner, choose a digital camera with automatic mode for auto setting on focus, exposure and white-balance. A close-up or macro setting is optional.

Step 2: Set-Up

The first step to a successful photograph begins with a careful setup.

You should ensure that you:

  • Select a plain white wall or drop screen as a background.
  • Position subject and lighting such that there are no distracting shadows on the face or background
  • Position the camera at subject’s eye level and approximately 0.5 to 2 meters away from the subject. (This specification may vary depending on the focus length of the camera)
  • Avoid directing the camera’s flash onto the face to eliminate the “red-eye” effect and the tendency of “half-closed” eyes.

Step 3: Taking the Picture

A successful photograph should also present the subject accurately.

As such, you should ensure that:

  • Subject is framed full face, front view with eyes open. (Use the zoom or macro feature zoom in on the subject if necessary
  • Make sure that the photo presents the full head from top of hair to bottom of chin and center the head within the frame.
  • Ensure that facial features are clearly evident in the photo
  • No alternation, removal, amendment or enhancement of the photo image is performed. This includes removal or addition of birth marks, moles or tattoos
  • Headgear worn in accordance with religious or racial custom is acceptable as long as it does not hide the facial features
       Sample Photo

Other notes: 

  • Brightness and contrast should be adjusted to present
    the subject and background accurately
  • Photos without proper contrast or colour may obscure
    unique facial features
  • Spectacles should be worn if normally used by the subject
  • The glare on spectacles can be avoided with a slight upward
    or downward tilt of the head
  • The photographs should not have discernible pixels or dot patterns

Step 4: Transferring the photo from camera to computer

  • You will need to refer to your digital camera manual for instructions.
  • Depending on the digital camera and storage device, some may require an external reader connected to the computer before you can transfer the photo image from the removable storage devices to the computer.

Guidelines on Taking Photograph

a) You should face the camera directly

  Incorrect   Correct
Image 1   Image 2


b) Facial features should be clearly evident in the photo

  Incorrect   Correct
Image 3   Image 4


c) Spectacles should be worn if normally used.   There should be no reflection on the eyeglasses.

  Incorrect   Correct
Image 5   Image 6


d) Background should be plain white

  Incorrect   Correct
Image 7   Image 8


 e) Facial image is too big. Shoulders not entirely visible/hair cropped off

  Incorrect   Correct
Image 9   Image 10


f) The photograph should have an even exposure

  Incorrect   Correct
Image 11   Image 12


How do I prepare a scanned digital image of my photograph?  

In order to prepare a digital image of your photograph using a scanner, you would require: 

A scanner

Compatible software installed in your computer (PC)

A recent passport sized colour photograph that meets the following specifications:

(i) Sharp and clear, 35mm wide by 45mm high without border and taken within the last 3 months;

(ii) Taken full face with you looking directly at the camera with head straight and eyes open with no hair across and/or covering your eyes/ eyebrows. Both edges of your face and the top of your shoulder must be clearly shown. You must not look over any shoulder and your head must not be tilted;

(iii) Taken with the image of your face measuring between 25 mm and 35 mm from chin to crown of head;

(iv) Taken without wearing any hat or other head covering, unless you habitually wear a hat or head covering in accordance with your religious or racial custom. If any such hat or head covering is worn, the photograph must still be a full frontal view of your head and shoulders, showing your facial features in entirety with eyes open and clearly visible;

(v) If you wear glasses, the photograph must show your eyes clearly with no flash reflection off the glasses. The frames shall not cover any part of your eyes. Tinted glasses and sunglasses are not allowed;

(vi) Taken with uniform lighting with no flash reflections, no shadows, no uneven bright spots on the face and no red eyes;

(vii) Of white background, except that where if your hair, hat or head covering is white, the background must be light grey;

(viii) The photograph must show you alone with no chair back, toys or other persons visible;

(ix) The photograph must be printed on high quality paper at high resolution with a matt or semi-matt finish with no ink marks or creases.

To Prepare a Digital Image of Your Photograph

Step 1: 

Obtain a colour photograph of yourself that meets the specifications listed above.

Sample Photo

Step 2:

Place your photograph face down on the glass bed of the scanner.

Step 2

Step 3:

Once you are ready, you can either scan the image or use the preview function to view the image of your photograph. You would need to specify the area to be scanned by using your mouse to click and drag over the area that should be scanned.

Step 3
Note: This is to avoid a situation where the whole page is scanned resulting in only a small image of yourself.

Step 4:

Once the scan button is clicked again, you will be able to view on your monitor a clear image of your photograph.

Step 4

Step 5:

You can then use the existing tools available in your scanning software to:

adjust the resolution / clarity of the image

to adjust the size of the image to 400 by 514 pixels

file size not more than 150 Kbytes

Step 6:

Once you are satisfied with the scanned image of your photograph, you may then save the image under a given name with the file format specified to “.jpg” extension.



No alteration, removal, amendment or enhancement of the photo image of the passport applicant's natural facial features are allowed. This includes removal or addition of birth marks, mole or tattoo etc. that constitutes the permanent facial feature of the applicant.

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