Backgrounder on passport services
June 13, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Current Situation
Over the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of passport applications was relatively low, due to a reduction in travel following the imposition of public health restrictions and travel advisories. With the easing of restrictions and the resumption of travel, Service Canada has experienced an increase in passport applications across the country. In the first two years of the pandemic, only 20% of normal passport volume was received (from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021- 363,000 passports, and from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 - 1,273,000 passports issued). Since April 1, 2022, over 542,000 applications were received. As a result, Service Canada is experiencing increased passport processing times and is prioritizing those travelling imminently.
What Canadians Need To Know
- Passport applications should be submitted well in advance of making travel plans.
- Anyone travelling within two business days must go to a passport office (Service Canada Centre – Passport Service) offering urgent pickup service. No appointment is needed and a proof of travel or need is required.
- Anyone travelling within 45 business days must go to a passport office (Service Canada Centre – Passport Service) with a proof of travel.
- All other clients should apply at any of the over 300 Service Canada Centres.
- Mail is also available however not recommended at this time due to the high volume of mail-in applications.
- Applying in-person also allows the applicant to have their documents reviewed in-person and to take their documents home with them instead of sending them in the mail. This also reduces application time.
- Information on how to apply and obtain a passport application form can be found online on Canada.ca.
Common Errors to Avoid When Applying for a Passport
- The Guarantor must sign the back of one photo for Child and Adult General applications.
- For Child applications:
- The applicant is generally a custodial parent or legal guardian of the child.
- All parents, including all legal guardians, are requested (and may be required) to participate in obtaining passport services for the child.
- When completing a child form, the relationship between parents must be indicated and the bottom of Sections 2 and 5 must be signed.
- An applicant who does not know the current whereabouts of the other parent(s) or legal guardian(s) is asked to contact the Passport Program.
- If applicable, all documents (including separation agreements, divorce judgment, orders, etc.) pertaining to the child that refer to custody, decision-making responsibilities, access, parenting time and/or mobility are required to be submitted.
- For Adult General applications:
- The Guarantor must sign and date a copy of the applicant’s ID.
- Indicate the requested passport validity - 5 or 10 years - on the form.
Checking on the Status of a Passport Application
- Due to the high number of status requests, it takes three or more days to process a request.
- A status request can be submitted online on Canada.ca.
- If a request has already been made, Canadians should not submit another one.
Transfer of an Application File for the Issuance of a Passport
- At the request of the applicant, the Passport Program may transfer an application file for the issuance of a passport between its issuing authorities within Canada.
- A transfer can be requested by contacting the Passport Program, or by visiting a passport office.
- Clients will not be charged for expedited or transfer fees, if a complete application is submitted and we do not meet the service standard.
- If clients have been charged expedited or transfer fees and the service standard has not been met with their application, they can request a refund through the website by submitting a complaint to the Passport Program.
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