Chicago i‑card photo submission

Many students and employees who need to use an i‑card have the option of submitting their own i‑card photo. Submitting your photo online is not required—you can always get your photo taken and i‑card printed at the Chicago ID Center. Read on for a summary of who can submit their photo online and how to take a good i‑card photo.

Who can submit a photo?

Most active on-campus students and employees need i‑cards, so they can submit their i‑card photos. Read more about eligibility on the main Submit your photo online page.

What is a good i‑card photo?

A student poses for a photo that his friend is taking.

You'll get the best results with a friend or family member taking your picture from a short distance, then cropping the photo to a smaller square size. No photos of photos! Your submission should look very similar to a passport photo. You're allowed three attempts before you'll have to visit the ID Center to get your photo taken. Carefully read through and follow all the photo requirements to give your photo the best chance of being approved!

Quick tips for success

  • Sit or stand in front of a background that's a light color and completely plain—with no other shapes, objects, pets, or people.
  • Face the camera straight-on and centered.
  • Capture from the top of your head to the outer edge of your shoulders.
  • Wear your prescription eyeglasses if you'd like, as long as there is no glare over your eyes.

Your photo should look just like one of these:

A smiling person wearing glasses, from the top of the head to the top of the shoulders.
A smiling woman, from the top of her head to the top of her shoulders.
Another smiling woman, from the top of her head to the top of her shoulders.
A smiling man wearing glasses, from the top of his head to the top of his shoulders.
Another smiling woman, from the top of her head to the top of her shoulders.

Here are just a few examples of rejected photos—learn why by reading the reasons listed beneath each one:

A person from the top of the head down to the waist, sitting in a cluttered bedroom.
  • Not on a plain, light-colored background
  • Too zoomed out
A person in a silly pose with a dark blue background, with red and blue lighting.
  • Silly pose
  • Unnatural lighting
  • Not on a plain, light-colored background
  • Object (hand) in picture
A person from the top of the head down to the chin.
  • Too zoomed in
A person not centered in the frame and with another person visible.
  • Other people in picture
  • Face not straight-on/centered
A person in front of a textured background.
  • "Texture" in background

If you qualify and your photo follows all of the photo requirements, you're ready to Submit your photo online!