About official passports

What is the difference between a special (green) and diplomatic (red) passport?

Special passports (green cover) are issued to people holding office, such as members of Parliament, senators, members of provincial cabinets, and to people employed by the Government of Canada in a non-diplomatic capacity travelling on an official mission or to a post abroad.

Diplomatic passports (red cover) are issued to high-ranking Government of Canada officials and diplomats, as well as representatives and delegates of the Government of Canada to international governmental organizations and international conferences of a diplomatic nature.

What is the advantage of using an official passport?

An official passport tells international border officials that the bearer is travelling on official business and is representing Canada abroad. The official passport is not designed to give any advantages to the bearer.

Can I use my regular passport instead of an official passport when travelling on government business?

When travelling on official business, travellers must use their special or diplomatic passport, unless a special authorization has been granted by the Passport Program.

Can I use my official passport for personal travel?

No. When travelling for personal reasons, travellers must use their regular (blue) passport, except in the following circumstances:

  • The Governor General and the Prime Minister of Canada and their authorized dependents, as well as members of the Privy Council, may travel for personal reasons using their diplomatic passport;
  • In keeping with the principle that a traveller must travel with only one valid Canadian passport, in the event that a traveller completes an official trip immediately followed by a personal trip (or vice-versa), the traveller is authorized to complete the full trip using the special or diplomatic passport;
  • Holders of special or diplomatic passports who are posted abroad (diplomats and their dependants) are authorized to use their special or diplomatic passport when travelling for personal reasons.

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