For every Canadian over the age of 3, the Canada passport is valid only for five years. The government-issued identification is given out to citizens to facilitate international travel. When a Canadian passport is within 12 months of expiring, it's time to get a new one. There is no procedure for "extension" and the renewal process has been, for many years, exactly the same as the process for obtaining the original. However, recent changes have streamlined renewals for qualified applicants. For many, there will no longer be a need for references or a guarantor. But even without the new cut down form and lightened regulations, renewal is a fairly straightforward process.
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Things you need
- Passport renewal form
- Government issued photo identification
- 2 identical passport style photos
- 1 guarantor (for some)
- 2 personal references (for some)
- Certified check or money order
- Proof of citizenship
- Proof of legal name change, if necessary
Go to Passport Canada (see Resources) to verify the current passport fees and print out the appropriate form. Many people will be able to take advantage of the new, simplified form. Read the guidelines on the website to find out if you qualify.
Complete the application form and make two photocopies of a valid document that supports your identification. This can be a driver's license, a government-issued health care card or provincial identification card. Make sure you copy both the front and the back of the ID.
Have two new passport quality and style photos taken. On the back of one of the new pictures write the following, "I hereby certify this photo to be a true and accurate representation of (your name)."
Choose someone who has known you for at least two years to act as your guarantor.
Ask your guarantor to verify the statement on the back of the photo by adding their signature and the current date. They must also sign the photocopies you made of your government issued identification. Make sure they sign all the copies, verifying both the front and the back. Then the guarantor must then fill in part 2 of the application form.
Purchase a money order or obtain a certified check for the amount of the current passport fees.
Gather your application, your photos, the check, the signed photocopies, birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, your old passport and any travel document you have been issued by the Canadian government and place everything in an envelope.
Mail the parcel or take it to your nearest Passport Canada office. Passport renewals can be mailed to Canada from the United States or from within Canada. Elsewhere, you should take your application package to your nearest Canadian Consulate or Embassy. If you choose to apply through the mail, don't forget to include a postage-paid return envelope.
Tips and warnings
- In addition to a guarantor, you will need the names and addresses of two other people who have known you at least two years to list as references.
- If your old passport was issued from Canada within the last six years, has not been reported stolen or missing, is not damaged and is in your current legal name you are eligible for simplified renewal. You do not require a references or a guarantor.
- Current passport processing time is two to four weeks. Be sure to apply for your passport well before you need it.
- All documents must be issued under the same name. If you have legally changed your name, you must get a new passport as your old one is no longer valid.
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