References and guarantors for Canadian travel document applications

References and guarantors help confirm your identity when you apply for a passport or travel document. We may contact them when we process your application.

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References

You need 2 references for your travel document application.

Your references must

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • have known you for at least
    • 2 years for passport applications
    • 6 months for certificate of identity and refugee travel document applications
  • agree to you using their name and contact information for your application

To avoid delays, make sure your references are available if or when we need to contact them.

  • For example, they’re not travelling outside of the country.
  • If they’re in a different time zone, it may take longer to contact them, which could delay your application.

We may ask for additional references at any time.

Who can’t be a reference

Your reference can’t be

  • your guarantor
  • a family member, such as a
    • spouse or common-law partner
      • Whether you’re the opposite or same sex, you’re considered common-law partners if you’ve lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least 1 year, but you aren’t legally married.
      • However, if a marriage or common-law relationship has ended, your former spouse or partner can serve as a reference.
    • parent, step-parent, foster parent, or a parent’s spouse or common-law partner
    • mother-in-law or father-in-law
    • child (biological, adopted, foster, or stepchild), or your child’s spouse or common-law partner
    • son-in-law or daughter-in-law
    • sibling (brother, half-brother or stepbrother, or sister, half-sister or stepsister), or your sibling’s spouse or common-law partner
    • brother-in-law or sister-in-law
    • grandparent (biological, adopted, step or foster grandparent), or your grandparent’s spouse or common-law partner
    • grandmother-in-law or grandfather-in-law
    • grandchild (biological, adopted, step or foster grandchild), or your grandchild’s spouse or common-law partner
    • grandson-in-law or granddaughter-in-law
    • anyone else who’s related to you or your spouse or common-law partner by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, adoption or guardianship and lives at the same address as you
      • For example, if your aunt, uncle or cousin lives with you, they can’t be a reference.

Guarantors

You need a guarantor for your travel document application. As long as they meet these requirements, your guarantor can be anyone, including a family member or member of your household.

You don’t need a guarantor if you’re renewing your passport. You only need a guarantor if you’re applying for a passport for the first time or you aren’t eligible to renew your passport.

Although most of the guarantor section on the form can be completed by you or your guarantor, the following 4 fields must be completed by your guarantor:

  • Signature of guarantor
  • Signed at
  • Date
  • I have known the applicant for (number of years)

In addition, your guarantor must

  • write on the back of 1 of the passport photos “I certify this to be a true likeness of (your name or the child’s name)”
    • They must also sign the back of the same photo.
  • for an adult application, sign and date the photocopies of each supporting identification document (ID) you submit to confirm your identity
    • This only applies to photocopies of ID and is not needed if you submit original documents.

Your guarantor can’t charge you money for this. You also can’t help the guarantor do any of the tasks listed above. Contact us if your guarantor needs help.

Guarantor requirements for a regular (blue) passport submitted in Canada

Your guarantor must

  • have known you for at least 2 years
    • If the guarantor is for your child’s passport, they must have known you for at least 2 years and must know of your child.
  • be available if we need to contact them
  • be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older
  • provide the information needed that’s in their passport
  • have been 16 years of age or older when they applied for their own passport
  • hold a 5-year or 10-year Canadian passport that, on the day you submit your application, is
    • expired for no more than 1 year, or
    • valid, meaning it isn’t or wasn’t
      • expired
      • damaged
      • inaccessible
      • suspended or revoked
      • reported lost or stolen
      • found and returned
      • destroyed by us
      • requested to be returned

If you’re the parent or legal guardian that is applying on behalf of a child, you cannot sign as guarantor on the child’s application. However, the other parent or legal guardian (not submitting the application) can sign as long as they meet the requirements.

If the child is adopted and needs a guarantor

If the child was placed by provincial family services for adoption, until the adoption is final (probationary adoption), the child’s guarantor can be the

  • provincial director of family services
  • director of the family services agency
  • director of the incorporated institution (in Quebec)

Find out what to do if you can’t find a guarantor.

Guarantor requirements for a regular (blue) passport submitted outside Canada

Your guarantor can be anyone who meets the basic guarantor requirements for a regular (blue) passport in Canada, including a family member or member of your household.

Occupation-based guarantors

You may also use an occupation-based guarantor for an application submitted outside Canada, as long as that person is

  • registered/licensed with the appropriate local authority to practice their profession
  • currently working in that field
  • practicing one of these professions:
    • judge
    • dentist
    • pharmacist
    • veterinarian
    • police officer
    • notary public
    • lawyer/notary
    • medical doctor
    • dean/head of university or college
    • signing officer of a
      • bank or trust company
      • financial institution that offer a full range of banking services (cash withdrawals, deposits and savings)
If your occupation-based guarantor is retired

You can use them if their professional association still has your guarantor’s name on their list.

Find out what to do if you can’t find a guarantor.

Guarantor requirements for military personnel applying for a regular (blue) passport

If you’re Regular Force personnel, Regular Military Force officers may act as guarantor for you and your dependants if they have known you personally for 2 years or more. These officers include

  • NDHQ directors
  • base commanders
  • commanding officers
  • NDHQ career managers
  • NDHQ directors general
  • personnel administrative officers
  • any other commissioned officer (captain and above) with access to service records
    • Instead of indicating the number of years they have known you, they must write, “through service records which I have verified.”

Military police can only act as guarantors if you’re military personnel. They must have personally known you for at least 2 years.

Find out what to do if you can’t find a guarantor.

Guarantor requirements if you’re applying for a certificate of identity or a refugee travel document

Your guarantor must

  • live in Canada
  • be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen
  • be available to verify your application
  • have personally known you for at least 6 months
    • If the guarantor is for your child’s documents, they must have known you for at least 6 months and must know of your child.
  • be an occupation-based guarantor, and
    • be registered/licensed with the appropriate local authority to practise their profession
    • currently work in that field

Your guarantor must be a member of one of these groups:

  • mayor
  • pharmacist
  • postmaster
  • optometrist
  • veterinarian
  • notary public
  • dentist, medical doctor or chiropractor
  • principal of a primary or secondary school
  • senior administrator or teacher in a university
  • professional engineer (P. Eng. or Ing. in Quebec)
  • senior administrator in a community college (in Quebec, a CEGEP)
  • judge, magistrate or police officer (municipal, provincial or RCMP)
  • professional accountant (member of APA, CA, CGA, CMA, PA or RPA)
  • lawyer (member of a provincial bar association), or notary in Quebec
  • minister of religion authorized under provincial or territorial law to perform marriages

You can only use retired occupation-based guarantors if their name still appears on the listing provided to us by the relevant association.

If you can’t find a guarantor

You must

  • complete the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form
  • find someone who can administer an oath to swear to and sign the form
    • This person doesn’t need to know you personally.
    • If you’re in Canada, this can be a
      • notary public
      • justice of the peace
      • commissioner for oaths
    • If you’re outside Canada, this can be a
      • Canadian or British diplomatic or consular representative
      • Qualified local official, such as a civil servant or member of Parliament

Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form

The Statutory Declaration in Lieu of a Guarantor form is not available online. To get the form

You can’t use the same references on the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form that you included on your passport or travel document application.

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