Whether you were born in Canada or you are a new Canadian immigrant who just moved to the country, you will understand the importance of obtaining your passport. Many people think this is a tricky process, but the process is actually a lot simpler than you think. Getting a Canadian passport is not complicated once you understand the requirements.
Below are seven steps for how to get a Canadian passport.
1. Prove of Citizenship
The first step for how to get a Canadian passport is to prove your Canadian citizenship. Requirements include submitting documents to prove you are indeed a Canadian. You will need to bring your original birth certificate or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship. You can get a copy of your birth certificate from the statistics office of your place of birth. If you were born outside Canada, you would need to verify your citizenship. For instance, you are most likely a Canadian if you were born outside Canada by Canadian parents.
Besides the Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, you can use the certificate of naturalization, retention of Canadian citizenship, or registration of birth abroad. Being married to a Canadian citizen or living in Canada as a permanent resident does not give you automatic qualification to Canadian citizenship, nor does being adopted by Canadian parents. You have to apply for Canadian citizenship.
2. Fill your Application Online
All the steps for how to get a Canadian passport is outlined in the Passport Canada website. On the website, you will find whatever you need, including detailed information, to complete your passport application. The website details the requirements for the different types of passports, for instance, how to apply for a Canadian passport if you live abroad, or how to go about applying for your ‘child’s passport.
Among complications that could jeopardize your application include pending court cases, previous criminal conviction, or incarceration. Depending on the nature and severity of your record with the law, you might have problems with your passport application.
3. Fill Out the Appropriate Forms
This step is very critical in terms of how to get a Canadian passport. Once you get to the Passport Canada website, make sure you fill the correct forms. There are different forms for various ages and circumstances. For instance, you will need to fill PPTC 153 if you live in Canada and are 16 years and above. If under 16 years, the correct form is PPTC 155, to be filled by a legal guardian or a parent and submitted on your behalf.
If you live outside Canada, but you are a Canadian citizen, PPTC 040 is the correct form for you. Once you have identified the appropriate forms, fill them out and strictly follow the instructions therein. ‘It’s important to have all supporting documents with you as you fill out the application.
4. Get Two References and a Guarantor
A section of your application should be filled and signed by a guarantor. You will also need the names of two references you have known for at least two years. These should be people who agree to be contacted should there be a need to verify your identity. Guarantors should be Canadian citizens of at least 18 years. They should also have a valid Canadian passport or one ‘that’s not more than a year old since its expiration by the time you lodge your application.
A family member can also be your guarantor. References cannot be your guarantor. They must be 18 years old and above. They should not be members of your family or family members of a spouse. The references ‘don’t have to be Canadian citizens. Should you have difficulty obtaining a guarantor, go in person to your local passport service station and fill out PPTC form 077.
5. Submit an Identity Confirmation Document
You will need to submit at least one valid, government-issued document that confirms your identity. The document should include your photograph, name, gender, date of birth, and your signature. You can submit a bunch of identity verification documents if you ‘don’t have one that meets this criterion.
For instance, a military identification, your ‘driver’s license, an employee identification card if you work for the government, and a nondriver’s identification card. Where original documents are required, once your application has been processed, they will be returned to you. All copies of documents must be copied on both sides, then signed and dated by your guarantor.
6. Provide Two Identical Passport Photos
Get a couple of good passport photos taken by a professional, or at least someone who knows their craft. On the backside of the photos, make sure there is a date, the address and the name of the photographer or the studio where it was taken.
The passport photos must also clearly show your face. Besides, your facial expression should be neutral (no smile) and should be taken under uniform lighting. Other specifications include the right material (photographic paper) and paper size.
7. Submit Your Application
Once you have duly completed your application and have counterchecked everything, pay the relevant application fee and submit it by mail or by courier. You can also submit your application in person by visiting the Passport Canada office in your region, a participating Canada Post Office, or a participating Service Canada Center. Once your new passport is ready, it will be mailed to you. So, make sure you have a valid postal address.