Alana Vandagriff | 

The Savvy Traveler's Guide to Getting Cheap or Free Passport Photos

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Let’s face it — getting a passport photo isn’t the most exciting part of planning a trip. But it is one of those things you just gotta do. So if you have to do it, you might as well find the cheapest, most convenient place to get it done. We researched prices and got the full scoop on where to find the best deals on passport photos.

Whether you choose CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, or even AAA for your passport photos, the good news is you have quite a few options. Combine these retailers’ base prices with a photo coupon and you’ll make the deal even sweeter.

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Keep these passport photo requirements in mind.

A Passport photo in front of a Passport booklet

The U.S. Department of State outlines the following key requirements for passport photos. If your passport photo doesn’t meet these guidelines, you run the risk of them rejecting your passport application.

  • Size and Composition: The photo must measure 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm), with your head in the center and measuring between 1 – 1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

  • Quality: The photo should be clear, in color, and printed on matte or glossy photo-quality paper, with a full-frontal view of your face.

  • Background: The background of the photo should be plain white or off-white.

  • Appearance: You should be directly facing the camera with a neutral facial expression and no teeth showing. Both of your eyes must be open.

  • Clothing: You should wear the clothing you normally wear daily. Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except for religious clothing that is worn daily.

  • Glasses and Head Coverings: As of November 1, 2016, they no longer allow eyeglasses in passport photos. Head coverings or hats are not allowed unless worn for religious reasons, and even then, they must not cover up your face.

  • Date Taken: Have the photo taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance.

1. Rite Aid passport photos cost the least of all the drugstores — just $8.99 for two prints.

Rite Aid passport photos may not be as well-known as those from CVS and Walgreens, but at $8.99 for two prints, their base price costs 47% less. And don’t forget about Rite Aid photo coupons, which can make this deal even sweeter.

2. CVS passport photos cost $16.99 for two prints (sometimes there’s a $2-off coupon).

You’ll pay $16.99 for two prints at CVS, but you can often find CVS photo printing coupons that take the price of CVS passport photos even lower. I’ve seen coupons good for $2 off in-store passport photos.

Another perk for CVS is that you can get your photos taken while you’re picking up your prescription or grabbing some CVS deals under $1. The whole process takes about 10 minutes or less.

3. Walgreens passport photos are $16.99 for two prints, and they’ll be ready in an hour or less.

Regularly priced at $16.99 for two prints, Walgreens passport photos cost the exact same as CVS passport photos. And just like CVS, Walgreens often has photo coupons available, especially if you’re a myWalgreens member. You could also use your rewards to knock off the price.

Related: Jump to all the latest Walgreens photo coupons.

4. AAA Plus and Premier members get free passport photos, and non-members will pay $12 for a set of two.

You might not immediately think of AAA for passport photos, but if you have a membership, you’re in for a treat. AAA Plus and Premier members get passport photos for free as part of their membership benefits. Check out how the costs break down for other membership levels, and for non-members, too:

  • Classic Member: $8 for a set of two photos

  • Plus Member: First two sets are free for you and each of your children (ages 15 and under)

  • Premier Member: All sets are free for you and each of your children (ages 15 and under)

  • Non-Member: $12 for a set of two photos

If you don’t have a membership yet, this might be the push you need to join. Besides the free passport photos, AAA offers numerous other travel-related perks that could save you money in the long run.

Related: Check out these other AAA discounts members can snag.

5. DIY passport photos can save you money, but you’ll need to keep the requirements in mind.

If you’re up for a little DIY, you can take and print your own passport photos at home for just the cost of photo paper. However, know that your photo must meet the stringent requirements set by the U.S. State Department. Any mistakes could delay your passport application.

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