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Photo and signature

If you are between ages 14 and 74, your Health Insurance Card usually displays your photo and your signature. A fee applies for having your photo taken, which depends on which service point you go to. In addition, your photo must meet certain specifications.

Temporary measure to renew the Health Insurance Card

To renew your Health Insurance Card, you must mail your completed and signed renewal form to us, without going through the SAAQ service outlets. In most cases, you do not need to provide a photo: we will use the one on file.To find out more, read the news release.

Photo to be provided or taken on the premises

Depending on the service point, you will have to provide a photo or have one taken on the premises. A fee applies, which is not reimbursable.

Health network service point (CLSC)

You provide your photo

Fee: Varies according to the pharmacy or the photographer taking your photo

Services offered

  • Registration for health insurance
  • Card renewal
  • Card replacement
  • Correction of the identity appearing on your card
SAAQ service outlet

You have your photo taken on the premises

You can make an appointment online and avoid waiting on-site for your photo to be taken

Fee: See Cost of renewing a licence on the SAAQ website

Services offered

  • Renewal of your card and driver’s licence
  • Replacement of your card and driver’s licence

You can renew or replace your Health Insurance Card only or along with your driver’s licence.

Photos sent by mail are refused

We cannot accept photos sent by mail and destroy them. Unless you are in one of the categories of exempt persons, you have to go to a service point, where your identity will be checked.

7 photo specifications

For your photo to be accepted, it must meet certain specifications. Otherwise it will be refused, and you will have to start over.

  • Face centered, facing the camera straight on
  • Shoulders visible
  • Hair and decorative items do not cover your eyes or a portion of your face, nor cast any shadow or reflection

  • Eyes open and clearly visible
  • No red-eye effect

  • Mouth closed
  • Not smiling

  • No eyeglasses worn top of your head
  • Eyes clearly visible, that is, no frames or glare masking them
  • No tinted eyeglasses
  • Visually impaired persons are the exception. They may wear dark or tinted eyeglasses. Persons suffering from photophobia or light intolerance must provide a medical certificate in order to wear dark or tinted eyeglasses.

  • Your entire face visible, without any shadows
  • Unless worn daily for religious or medical reasons, no hat or head covering is worn

  • Photo format: 7 cm high by 5 cm wide (2 ¾ in. by 2 in.)
  • Colour photo
  • Solid white or light coloured background
  • Printed professionally
  • Not overexposed or underexposed
  • Correct contrast

  • Photo dated on the back with a date stamp

Exemptions for photo or signature

Some persons are exempt from providing a photo, signature or both.

  • Photo and signature: You do not have to go to a service point to be identified. However, you still have to mail us your completed form and any required documents. Original documents will be returned to you.
  • Photo only: You have to go to a service point to be identified.
  • Signature only: You have to go to a service point to be identified.

  • Insured persons requesting a replacement of their damaged, lost or stolen card. The new card will display the same photo, signature and expiry date as those on the card being replaced.
  • Persons who, because of their state of health, are unable to provide their photo, their signature or both. A medical certificate is required to justify the exemption.
  • Persons temporarily outside Québec who nevertheless remain covered by the Health Insurance Plan. These persons must still sign and mail back their card renewal notice.
  • Children under age 14
  • Persons age 75 and over. They can choose to provide their photo and signature or not on their card. If they do wish to have a card displaying their photo and their signature, they have to go to a service point.

If you are unable to provide your photo or your signature, you must include with your form a medical certificate for the exemption of a photo or signature (French only) filled out by a physician. You will have to pay the fee for obtaining this medical certificate, which must contain the following information:

  • Your identity information: Your first and last names, date of birth, and, if applicable, your Health Insurance Number
  • The nature of your illness
  • The duration of the impairment (permanent or temporary, with approximate duration)
  • The type of exemption (photo, signature or both)
  • The physician’s identity: first and last names, and professional number
  • The physician’s signature and the date

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