5 steps to getting a Canadian passport

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Congratulations on being a new Canadian citizen! You will realize that the next step, especially if you regularly travel abroad, is applying for a Canadian passport. While you can leave Canada using your old passport from your home country, you will need a Canadian passport be allowed back into the country (if you have dual citizenship and need to travel to Canada immediately, you may apply for a special authorization).

The Canadian passport is among the top 10 passports in the world. According to Montreal-based financial firm Arton Capital’s Global Passport Index, Canada ranks fourth together with countries such as Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. With your Canadian passport, you can go to 114 countries visa-free! Being a holder of a Canadian passport is also a great way to show that you are now a proud canuck.

You are eligible to apply for a Canadian passport if you are a Canadian citizen, aged 16 years old or older. Parents or guardians may apply for their young children.

Here’s how to apply for your first Canadian passport:

Step 1: Fill-out the Application Form.

Use your computer to fill it out and then print it. Don’t forget to sign each page of the application!

Step 2: Gather the necessary documents and have your passport photos taken

Submit:

  1. The filled-out application form
  2. Original proof of Canadian citizenship
  3. Identification. It has to be issued by the government (or equivalent abroad) and valid (not expired). It has to show your name, sex, date of birth, photo, and signature. Find examples here: Documents to support your identity – adult passport applications. It can be originals or photocopies. (Original documents will be returned to you).
  4. Two identical passport photos (Print the specifications here: Passport photos)

You will need extra documents if you changed your name, omit your place of birth on your passport, or change the sex designation.

As always, documents have to be in French or in English. Documents not in French or English must be translated by a certified translator.

Step 3: Get a guarantor and two references

The guarantor and references help IRCC to confirm your identity. They may be contacted when your application is being processed.

The Guarantor

Requirements:

  • Canadian citizen, 18 years old or older
  • Must have known you for at least two years
  • Can be a family member
  • Can be anyone living in your address
  • Must have a valid Canadian passport or expired for no more than one year (on the day you submit your application). The person should have applied for their Canadian passport at 16 years old or older.

If you are applying for your child: The Guarantor must have known you for at least two years and must know of the child. You cannot sign as a Guarantor of your child’s application but the other parent can (as long as they meet the requirements above).

The guarantor has to:

  1. Sign the “Declaration of Guarantor” section in your application.
  2. Write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant name)” on the back of one of your passport photos and sign it.
  3. Sign all photocopies of any supporting identity documents.

If you can’t find a Guarantor: Complete form PPTC 132 (Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor). You can get it from any passport office or contact the Passport Program. The Form must be declared before a person authorized by law to administer an oath or solemn declaration. The same person must also sign your Form.

Two References

Requirements:

  • Not your Guarantor.
  • Must be 18 years old or older.
  • They must have known you for at least two years.
  • They are not family members.
  • A person listed as a reference on the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor cannot be listed as a reference on the passport application.

The References must:

  • agree to using their name and contact information for your application
  • be available to be contacted and in your time zone (so they can be contacted easily).

Step 4: Submit your application and pay the fees

You can submit your application by mail or in person at the passport office. You can also have it picked up but you have to pay an additional fee: Expedited Services. If you need your passport right away, you have to apply in person. There is also an additional fee. The basic fee for passports are (as of 2018):

5-year adult passport – $120
10-year adult passport – $160
Child passport (0-15 years old) – $ 57

By Mail:

You can use a traceable mail service or courier so that you can track your application package.

Address if sending by mail:
Government of Canada
Passport program
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0G3
Canada

Address if using a courier:
Government of Canada
Passport program
22 de Varennes Street
Gatineau, Quebec J8T 8R1
Canada

How to pay your fees:
You can pay by:

  • Credit card or prepaid card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) or
  • Certified check or money order (postal or bank)
    • Must be in Canadian funds
    • Made payable to the “Receiver General of Canada”
    • Exact fee must be indicated.

Debit cards, cash or personal checks are not accepted.

In person:

Go to your nearest passport office or Service Canada receiving agent. It is best that you bring the application personally. A third party or family member can bring it for you (as long as they have the proper identification) but they must be able to answer information about your application. If not, the passport officer can refuse your application. If you can’t submit the application yourself, read Who can submit the application in person on my behalf?

If your application is urgent or express, it is a must that you submit it yourself.

How to pay your fees:
You can pay by:

  • Credit card or prepaid card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) or
  • Debit card (INTERAC ® Online)
  • Certified check or money order (postal or bank)
    • Canadian funds
    • Made payable to the “Receiver General of Canada”
    • Exact fee must be indicated

They don’t accept cash or personal checks.

Step 5: Receive your passport

By Mail:

If you applied by mail, the passport and any original documentation you submitted will be returned to you by mail.

In person:

If you chose pick up service, and paid for pick up service, the pick up date is written on your receipt. You can pick it up yourself or an authorized representative. The representative must have a valid identification and written authorization from you.
 
Article as of October, 2018. As this is only a guide, please check with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada before applying. Go to Applying for a new passport. Requirements and fees are subject to change.

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