CIMM - Passport and Travel Document Services - Dec 2, 2020
- Approximately 70% of all Canadians hold a valid passport and approximately 45 million passports were issued over the last ten years.
- Throughout the pandemic, the program continued to process applications to respond to urgent passport needs. Since March 19, 2020, more than 208,000 passports and travel documents have been issued. This represents a reduction of 87% compared to same period last year.
- Essential passport services abroad continue to be provided to Canadian citizens despite COVID-19 related restrictions. Since January, 1, 2020, more than 75,000 passports have been issued abroad.
- As of July 31, 2020, domestic passport mail-in services resumed and in-person appointments became available for Canadians in need of a passport in less than 30 days.
- As of November 23, 2020, appointments can be scheduled for applicants who need a passport in the next 60 days, as opposed to 30.
If pressed on passport processing in Hong Kong:
- Our office in Hong Kong has been fully operational amid the global pandemic and civil unrest. There has been no disruption to immigration or consular operations in Hong Kong, which includes passports. The office continues to provide passport services to our clients and IRCC is ready to support urgent application processing if and when it is required.
- As of October 31, 2020, IRCC Hong Kong has issued nearly 5,000 passports to Canadian citizens so far this year. Over the same period last year, our office issued 9,600 passports to Canadians.
- Due to COVID-19, IRCC’s Passport Program has seen impacts on its service delivery networks both domestically and abroad.
- Between mid-March and July 31, 2020, Canadians with urgent travel needs applying from Canada were able to receive in-person passport services, but only with a scheduled appointment.
- As of July 31, 2020, in-Canada passport mail-in services resumed and in-person appointments became available for Canadians in need of a passport in less than 30 days.
- Through these measures, the Passport Program is able to respond to current passport demands domestically with more than 90% of domestic in-person applications processed within service standards.
Domestic passport services
- Service Canada has processed all domestic applications received on or before July 31, 2020 and is processing new applications as they are received with minimal delays.
- Domestic walk-in passport services are unavailable at Service Canada offices in order to protect the health and safety of clients and employees.
- The Department is working closely with Service Canada to explore the feasibility of resuming in-person services for those without a scheduled appointment, based on capacity, processing limitations and public health guidelines.
Passport services abroad
- Due to country-specific restrictions, most IRCC offices overseas providing passport services abroad have reduced operating hours or have limited the majority of services to mail-in or drop-off options; however in-person services continue to be available for clients with urgent travel needs.
- Since January 1, 2020, more than 75,000 passports have been issued by our missions abroad.
- IRCC continues to work with Global Affairs Canada to ensure gradual passport service resumption for missions overseas affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Resumption timelines and activities are dependent on individual country conditions and will take into consideration local health and safety measures.
Travel documents (refugee travel documents and Certificates of Identity)
- Travel document services have been reduced to critical services only for urgent travel needs.
- Since March 19, 2020, over 10,000 travel documents have been issued as a critical service.
- The Department is currently reviewing options to resume mail-in services and an alternative to in-person services to support the resumption of non-critical services.
Supporting facts and figures
- In 2019-2020, approximately 2.5 million passports and travel documents were issued.
- Given the global disruption in travel due to the pandemic, the Passport Program has seen a significant decrease of 85% in applications received from April until October 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019.
- Prior to the pandemic, the Program was anticipating approximately 2.5 million applications for 2020-2021. This forecast is being monitored and revised on an ongoing basis as the situation evolves.
- The Passport Program is financed from passport and other travel document services fees, and receives no funding through parliamentary appropriations.
- The program is administered jointly by several federal departments. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has the overall accountability for program policy, finances and operations. Employment and Social Development Canada, through Service Canada, provides service delivery in Canada. Global Affairs Canada, through its missions outside of Canada, is responsible for service delivery abroad.
- IRCC is responsible for the issuance of Canadian travel documents to facilitate travel for Canadians, stateless permanent residents and protected persons. IRCC is also responsible for refusal, cancellation and revocation of passports on all grounds except for terrorism and national security, which is the responsibility of the Minister of Public Safety.
- The Program has an extensive service delivery network in Canada and abroad, including 34 dedicated Passport Offices and over 300 Service Canada receiving agent sites across Canada, 207 Global Affairs Canada points of passport service abroad, and 2 mail-in processing centers.
- The program operates under a 10-year business cycle, matching the introduction of the 10-year passport in 2013.
- The Program’s Revolving Fund is expected to be self-sustaining over the 10-year business cycle, meaning Program expenditures are intended to be offset by revenues generated from passports and other travel document services fees.
- On March 19, 2020, the Program reduced domestic passport and travel document services, including the closure of all Service Canada offices and the Certificate of Identity and Refugee Travel Documents Office.
- The program’s service standards are:
- In-person passport services at a passport office: 10 business days
- In-person passport services at a Service Canada receiving agent (temporarily unavailable): 20 business days
- Passport services by mail (domestic): 20 business days
- Urgent service (domestic): Next business day
- Express service (domestic): 2-9 days
- Passport services for the United States: 20 business days
- Passport services for abroad: 20 business days
- Travel documents services (Non-Canadians): 20 business days
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