Canada is a country of 33 million people and we all seem to love to travel. Almost 60 percent of us own passports.
A Canadian passport allows you, as a Canadian citizen, to exit and enter Canada to and from other countries. Issued by Passport Canada they are valid for 5 years (unless it is a child under 3, they are valid for 3 years).
Since travel rules have changed so much in the last 10 years they are the easiest document to own to prove citizenship and can be one of the documents required if you are traveling into the US.
Passport Canada is trying to make it easy to get a passport and are trying to make the long lines at the Passport office disappear.
One of the best things that Passport Canada has done is to make the forms available online. Not only can you download the forms but you can fill them out on your own computer and everything that you fill is put on the QR-code on the form.
Print off you form, take it to the passport office and you will be fast tracked through the system.
Having the QR-code on the form that you have filled and downloaded means that the officer at the passport office only needs to scan the QR-code and it is recorded.
The time that they needed to take to laboriously type in all your details is no longer needed.
The other big change for the Canadian Passport is that the rules of who can be your Guarantor have been greatly expanded.
They have to be a Canadian Citizen 18 years or older that have a valid Canadian Passport or one that has expired for less than one year. They must have been 16 or older when they applied for their own passport and have known you for at least 2 years. The biggest change? They can be a member of your own family.
Read through the requirement carefully before selecting your Guarantor.
You will also need to have 2 Reference who are not your relatives, or your guarantor and who have known your for at least 2 years. They might be contacted to confirm your identity so make sure that they are not traveling themselves.
Of course you still need your passport photos that should be taken at a reputable place that is familiar with the requirements that the photos need as they can be rejected by Passport Canada. You will also need other documentation that you can read about on the Passport Canada site.
With the form filled out and printed from your computer, your Guarantor having filled in their declaration, your proper documentation you will be stream lined through the passport office.
We were there on a busy Friday afternoon and were in and out in 20 minutes. The passports were mailed to us the following Friday using Canada Post Express Post even though we were told that it would be 10 business days until we could expect to receive them.
If you need your passports even faster you can pay extra fees for urgent or express service, you need to ask at the passport office. For forms and further information go to Passport Canada.
Getting your Canadian passport quickly and relatively easily is a great first step to your exciting travel adventures .
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Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2012