Photo FAQs

Photo Submission for Incoming Students

Q: What happens if I don't submit a photo electronically?

Your picture will be taken as part of registration. Follow the instructions provided by your Registrar.

Q: Who is eligible to submit a photo using the ID Card Photo Submission Application?

All incoming students (including DCE Summer School students and degree seeking DCE Extension School students) are eligible to submit a photo using the ID Card Submission Application.

Q: When can I submit my photo?

You can submit your photo as soon as you have received your official acceptance into a degree or diploma program (or have received notification from your Program Office). You must have your Harvard ID number and you must have set up your Harvard PIN before accessing the ID Card Photo Submission Application.

Q: What are the ID Card Photo requirements?

A photo will be suitable for a Harvard University ID card when it meets the following criteria:

Q: How do I edit my photo to meet the ID Card photo requirements?

You can use any photo editing software.  If you don't have one;,, and are free on-line photo editing software which you can use without downloading.

Q: Where can I pick up my Harvard ID card?

Before you arrive on campus, your Registrar's Office or Program Office will inform you where and when to pick up your Harvard ID card.

Q: What do I need to bring with me to pick up my Harvard ID card?

You must bring a government-issued photo ID, in order to receive your Harvard ID card. Examples of government issued ID cards are:

  • Passport
  • Driver's license
  • State issued ID card
  • US Military ID card
  • Green card
  • Naturalization certificate

All identifications need to include full name, date of birth, a photo, and an expiration date in the future. This validation is a Harvard University security requirement.  You will not be able to pick up your ID card without this documentation.

Q: Can I ask someone else to pick up my Harvard ID card?

No, your first ID card needs to be picked up in person so that we can validate your identity and your photo.  You must bring a government-issued photo ID, in order to receive your Harvard ID card.

Q: Can my ID card be mailed to me?

No, the ID Card Office does not mail ID cards.

Q: If I already have an image in the system, can I submit a new photo?

Yes, if you are an incoming student you can upload a new image; however, if your Harvard ID card has already been printed, there will be a fee for producing a replacement ID card with the new image. The fee is the same as a lost ID card fee: $25 (this also applies if you have a new photo taken in an image capture station).

Photo Capture

Q: Where do I go to have my image captured?
There are several image capture stations located throughout the faculties. You may go to the station that is most convenient for you. The locations, hours of operation and contact information are listed on our Locations page.

Please note: Image capture ordinarily involves the use of a flash. If you have epilepsy or any other medical condition that would prevent the use of a flash, please come to the Campus Service Center, where we will best be able to accommodate your needs.

Q: What do I do if I can't come in to have my image captured?

Having your image captured for your Harvard ID card is a condition of employment for all employees, and a condition of enrollment for all students. New incoming students should use the ID Card Photo Submission Application. There are several image capture stations around campus, with sufficiently varied hours to accommodate nearly all Harvard affiliates. With rare exceptions, if you are in eastern Massachusetts, you are expected to have your picture taken at one of these stations.

However, we realize that there are some people for whom coming to an image capture station poses an undue hardship (e.g. employees stationed far away from the Harvard campus, traveling scholars, people with a physical disability etc.) 
If this is the case, please contact the Campus Service Center at (617) 496-7827, or email:

Q: I don't like my old photo. May I have a new one? 

Of course. Simply come to any of our image capture stations and we will take a new photo for you. The next time a card is made for you, it will have the new photo. Please note that for security reasons, a new card is not automatically produced when a new image is captured. If you have a currently valid card and want a new one with the new image, you must return the old card before a new one is generated.

  • There is no charge for simply having a new image captured.
  • There is no additional charge for a new image when replacing an old card due to loss, theft, expiration, or change of name.
  • There is a $25.00 charge for replacing a valid, properly functioning card with a new image.

Photo Use: 

Q: What is the University's policy on how images may be used? 

The goal of our office in regard to privacy concerns is to strike a healthy balance that enables departments and faculties to use images of their affiliates for internal Harvard purposes while at the same time respecting the privacy concerns of the individual.

We believe in preventing inappropriate or questionable uses of our images and data. We have developed our system and policies to prevent database sweeps by criteria such as race, religious affiliations, physical attributes or other such characteristics, and to reject requests for images that run counter to expectations of individual privacy.

At the same time, we recognize the importance of traditional internal publications such as facebooks, departmental directories, organizational charts and newsletters. Such publications serve to foster a better sense of community, promote greater interaction between affiliates, and provide well-earned recognition of achievements.

Advances in technology have provided the University with new challenges and opportunities. Computers have reduced the cost of producing publications, thus allowing departments to do things they could never have afforded to do earlier. Networking allows for the creation of World Wide Web pages and online directories that use images and personal data. This technology carries risks--if a person has access to an online system, he or she can nearly always copy the images and data available to them with a few mouse clicks. Yet it can also allow for greater protection of privacy than printed publications through tighter access controls. We strive to be at the forefront of privacy issues and to remain as flexible as possible in accommodating the wishes of Harvard's affiliates, ensuring that long-standing principles are preserved as new applications are developed.

The official policy is documented in the General Guidelines for Distribution of Photo ID Cards and Digitized Images. The original version was drafted in the summer of 1993 prior to the implementation of the current ID system and was approved by the Office of the General Counsel. It has since been amended to enable greater flexibility in addressing the privacy concerns relating to electronic directories and the World Wide Web.

If you have any further questions about privacy issues, feel free to contact us directly.

Q: May I have a copy of my image? 

Of course. You may obtain your image in one of two ways:

  • Online access
    If you have a Harvard University PIN number, you may use our online Image Request Form for Individuals to obtain a copy of your image. The image is delivered straight to your web browser in standard JPEG format, but depending on your settings, your browser may convert it to another format (e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer may convert it to a Windows bitmap file).
  • Other distribution methods
    Please contact
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