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As a Canadian citizen, one of the most important things you’re entitled to is a passport. Not only is it an official form of government identification, but it also allows you to travel to most countries in the world. You might still need a visa to enter some destinations, but just about every country views Canada highly, so travelling can be easy.

Since you can’t really travel outside of Canada without a passport, it’s in your best interest to apply for one right away. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any trips planned in the near future, getting a passport takes time, so you want to have things done in advance. Here’s how to apply for a Canadian passport.

Canadian passport eligibility

Canadian citizens who are 16 years old or older can apply for a Canadian passport. Canadian citizens under the age of 16 are also eligible for a passport, but it can only be done by one of the following people:

  • One of the child’s parents
  • The child’s legal guardian
  • The custodial parent

If you’re renewing your Canadian passport, your current passport must be the following conditions:

  • Not damaged
  • Not reported lost or stolen
  • Issued with a 5 or 10-year validity
  • Issued when you were at least years old
  • Must have the same name, date of birth and place of birth you’re requesting on your new passport
  • Must have the same gender identifier you’re requesting on your new passport
  • Expired on or after February 1, 2019

Canadian passport required documents

The first thing you need to do is fill out the Adult General Passport Application form. This is an editable PDF so you can fill it out before printing it which will save you time. You’ll also need the following documents before you can apply for a Canadian passport.

  • Proof of citizenship (birth certificate, citizenship certificate)
  • Identification document (Must have name, date of birth, photo, signature)
  • 2 identical passport photos 
  • Any valid Canadian travel document issued in your name

Get a guarantor and two references

As part of your Canadian passport application, you need a guarantor and two references. Your guarantor must sign one of your passport photos, the application, and any supporting documents. In addition, your guarantor must meet the following conditions:

  • Must have known you for at least 2 years
  • Be available to contact
  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to provide information in their passport
  • Must have been at least 16 when they got their passport
  • Hold a 5-year or 10-year Canadian passport

As for your references, they need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have known you for at least 2 years
  • Must agree to you using them as references on your application.
  • References need to be available to contact 
  • References can’t be your guarantor or part of your family, including your extended family.

How to apply for a Canadian passport

With your documents in place, you just need to submit your documents and pay your fees. Most people will apply at a passport office or a Service Canada receiving agent, but due to COVID-19, it’s recommended you apply by mail.

Applying for a Canadian passport in person

Submit your documents at a passport office or a Service Canada receiving agent. Note that you need to be at least 16 years of age or older if you’re applying in person. Your passport is normally mailed to you, but if you want to collect it in person, there’s an additional fee.

You’re allowed to send someone on your behalf to pick up your passport, but you’d need to give written consent and they’d have to provide a valid ID.

New passports may be picked up by a third party if they provide written consent from the applicant, as well as valid identification.

Canada passport fees

How much you pay for your passport depends on which passport you’re getting and if you need any expedited services (in person only). The following are the Canada passport fees:

  • 5-year adult passport – $120
  • 10-year adult passport – $160
  • Child passport (15 years or under) – $57
  • Urgent pickup (by the end of the next business day) – $110
  • Express pickup (2 to 9 business days) – $50
  • Standard pickup (on or after 10 business days) – $20

The pickup fees are in addition to the passport fees. That means if you needed a 10-year adult passport with urgent pickup, it would cost you $270.

You must pay with a credit card, prepaid card, debit card, certified cheque, or money order. Cash and personal cheques are not accepted.

Applying for a Canadian passport by mail

When sending your documents in by mail, it’s recommended you get a tracking number or use a courier to ensure your documents are delivered in a timely manner. Send everything to the following address:

Address for mail:

Government of Canada
Passport program
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0G3
Canada

If using a courier:

Government of Canada
Passport program
22 de Varennes Street
Gatineau, Quebec J8T 8R1
Canada

As for payment, there’s a fees section that you would fill out on the application. Remember, expedited pickup services are not available when applying by mail.

Getting your passport

When applying in person, you’ll get a pickup date on your receipt, so you’ll know exactly when to get it. 

If you applied by mail, your passport and original documents will be returned to you. It’s possible that things come in two packages.

With your passport in hand, you can now travel outside of Canada. If you plan on making frequent trips to the United States, it may be worth your time to apply for a NEXUS card.

One final thing that’s worth mentioning. If you’re renewing your passport or applying for an emergency Canadian passport, it’s a slightly different process.

How to Apply for a Canadian Passport

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