**Disclaimer, I am not an employee of the Canadian Government and have no inside knowledge of policy and procedures. You should call your local office if you have any specific questions.
Getting an emergency Canadian passport can be a stressful process but depending on your location and circumstances, it can be pretty easy. Regardless of your situation, there are currently two passport options available to Canadians. A 5-year passport will cost $120 while a 10-year passport is $160. Obviously getting a 10-year passport is the better value.
If you’re still on Canadian soil, it’s a relatively straightforward process. For those who have lost or had their passports stolen overseas it can be a frightening situation but don’t worry, everything will be alright.
Image courtesy: James Nord / Flickr
Urgent and express service Canadian passports
If you require a rush on your passport, you have two options available to you with an additional fee charged on top of the regular cost of your passport.
- Urgent pick-up (end of the next business day): CAN$110
- Express pick-up within 2-9 business days: CAN$50
You must show up in person when applying for urgent services. Don’t even think about sending someone in your place, you won’t get a passport this way. Of course, you’ll also need to bring a completed application, proof of citizenship or immigration status, 2 references, and 2 passport photos signed by your guarantor.
Even if your flight is in three days, you might still be able to get an emergency Canadian passport in 24 hours or less. Assuming you show up at the passport office as soon as it opens with your documents in hand, there’s a good chance you could get your passport by the end of the day. Note that this is not available at all passport offices so you should call your local one before arriving.
When requesting urgent service, you must show proof of travel in the form of a travel itinerary that’s been paid in full. Alternatively, if you’re travelling due to a medical emergency, you should bring some kind of note showing the illness or death of the family member.
Many people find travel deals but will only book if they can get their passports in time. This obviously just pisses off the passport office since they have much more important things to deal with.
Emergency Canadian passports on a weekend or holiday
Getting an emergency Canadian passports on a weekend or holiday is extremely difficult. Some offices offer emergency service, however, you need the number of the standby person. The problem is, this number is not openly disclosed and there is no set number that works Canada-wide. For example, if you live in Toronto, there might be a guy on standby on weekends. You would have to get that number from the Toronto office sometime during the week. If you’re finding out on Saturday that you need a passport for Sunday, you’re probably out of luck.
The only number I’ve found for weekend/holiday service is 1-800-567-6868. This is listed right on the government of Canada website.
If you do find an office with weekend service, make sure you have everything ready to go. As you can imagine, this kind of service is going to cost you a small fortune. It costs $335 in addition to the regular passport service fee. In many situations, it’ll be cheaper to just re-book your airline ticket for a different date (if that’s an option).
There are a few “positive” things about getting an emergency passport on a weekend or holiday. The specific instructions are given to you because passport employees will basically be waiting for you to show up with your documents. They might be opening the office just for you. As a result, you may get your passport in a few hours.
If by chance your whole family requires emergency weekend service; you’ll only be charged the $335 once. Any additional applications submitted by members of the same family at the same time will only be charged the urgent pick-up fee of $110 each.
Temporary Emergency Canadian Passport
If you’re currently in a country outside of Canada and your passport gets lost or stolen, you need to immediately report it to the police or tourist police. If you haven’t already, contact some friends back home to assist you. You’ll mainly need them to be references similar to urgent services they need to be available when called. Note that family members aren’t permitted as references.
With your police report in hand, locate and head to the closest Canadian Embassy or consulate. You’ll also need your references, passport photos and contact information ready to go. You can speed up the processing time if you have a scanned copy of your passport and your travel itinerary handy, but generally speaking, you’re still looking at 2-4 days.
Often when applying for a temporary Canadian passport (white) you’ll be required to apply for your regular passport at the same time. You’ll also have to pay an exchange fee since that temporary Canadian passport must be returned in person or by traceable mail. If someone back home has access to your birth certificate and photo ID, you can ask them to bring it to the local passport office so your new passport will be valid for 5 years; otherwise, it may be valid for just 2 years.
If you’ve lost all your ID, now would be a good time to request a letter stating your identification and that you’re in the process of getting a new passport. This will help you for ID purposes if you’re getting a money transfer from someone.
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As you can imagine not having a valid passport or losing your passport can be a real pain. When travelling always be sure to store digital versions of your travel documents in your e-mail so you can access it any time; don’t forget to include emergency contacts of your credit and debit cards. Without a valid passport, you won’t be able to travel, so any upcoming flights will need to be rescheduled while you wait for your emergency Canadian passport.