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Passport 101: Canada

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Before heading to the airport to begin your vacation, it’s important to make sure that you have all the important documents you will need to travel abroad. Double checking that your passport is up to date and valid for crossing international borders, will alleviate stress in preparing for your trip and allow you to travel with as little worry possible.

All travelers, including infants, must have their own passport. For those who do not yet have a passport, make sure to apply for one several months in advance of your trip to avoid delays in receiving your documentation. The average processing time for a Canadian passport depends on how you submit your application. The processing time for any application submitted in person at a passport office is typically 10 days. When applying through a Service Canada receiving agent, or applying through mail, the processing time is typically 20 days.

Applying for an Adult Passport

In order to apply for a passport for the first time, you must be a Canadian citizen and at least 16 years old. Below are several things you will need to do in order to apply for a passport:
● Complete the Adult General Passport Application Form (PPTC 153).
● Provide proof of Canadian citizenship (original documentation only).
● Provide identification.
● Provide two identical passport photos. The name and address of the photographer as well as the date that the photos were taken must be on the back of one of the photos.
● Provide any valid Canadian travel document that is issued in your name.
● You must have a guarantor sign your passport application, one of your passport photos, and all copies of supporting identity documents.
● You must also have two references on your application that have known you for at least two years. These references cannot be family members.
● Submit application and pay fees.

All documents submitted must either be in English or French. Extra documents may be needed when applying for a passport if you want to change your name, replace a lost or stolen passport, wish to omit your place of birth, or want to update your gender identifier.

Applying for a Child Passport

If you are getting a passport for your child, below is a list of things that a parent or guardian will
need to provide:
● A completed Child Application Form (PPTC 155) filled out by a parent or guardian.
● Proof of Canadian citizenship for your child (original documentation only).
● Two identical passport photos with the name and address of the photographer as well as the date that the photos were taken must be on the back of one of the photos.
● Proof of parent parentage or guardianship.
● All documents that refer to the custody of, mobility of, or access to the child.
● Any valid Canadian passport or travel document issued in the child’s name.
● Application fee

Renewing Your Passport

For those who already have a passport, check to make sure that your passport will be valid for at least six months after returning home from your trip. If not, it is recommended that you renew your passport several months before your trip departure. To renew your current Canadian passport, follow the guidelines below:
● Complete the Adult Simplified Renewal Passport Form (PPTC 054).
● Submit your current passport.
● Provide two identical passport photos with the name and address of the photographer as well as the date that the photos were taken must be on the back of one of the photos.
● Include two references on your application.
● Submit your application and pay fees.

Protecting Your Passport

During your trip, we recommend that you take several steps to ensure the safety of your passport:
● Carry your passport on you while traveling through airports, and between different destinations. Do not put it in your checked luggage.
● Make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate concealed place in your luggage.
● Use a passport cover to keep your passport concealed at all times.
● All travelers should carry their own passport. If you are carrying multiple passports, try not to keep all of them in one place to minimize the impact of a single theft.
● Try to carry your passport in the same place to avoid losing track of your document.
● When in private, check regularly to make sure that you are still carrying your passport.

To view detailed instructions and guidelines on how to apply for or renew a Canadian passport, visit

If you live outside of the United States and Canada, you may require further documentation for traveling such as a visa. Check with the nearest embassy of the country you are traveling to in order to determine whether or not this applies to you.

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