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Changes Coming to Passport Program

On July 1, 2013, the Government of Canada will roll out major updates to the passport program. Before setting sail, taking flight, or hopping across the border, review these changes to keep cool at customs.

The largest of the forthcoming changes is the introduction ePassports, which have added security features and new images on the inside pages. In testing in Canada since 2009, the chips in these passports are used in more than 100 countries and no tampering has yet been reported. The chip verifies the information found on page two, and it doesn’t collect information about traveller’s habits or destinations.

As passports become more of a necessity -- required by most Canadian’s to enter the United States – both five and 10-year options will be made available to anyone older than 16. The hope is that this will speed up turnaround times by extending the time between renewals. Younger travellers will be issued five-year passports only.

The last major change -- and probably the least exciting -- is to the passport pricing structure. Granted, fees have held steady since 2001, but new passports will start at $120 for 5 years and $160 for 10. Other fees apply for express service (two-nine days) and one-day service -- go with a 10 year passport and avoid a last-minute fiasco.  

The Government of Canada has supplied some insider tips on making the renewal process as seamless as possible. Expecting an influx of renewal requests on and after July 1, they suggest:

  • Renewing on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, when most passport offices are quietest
  • Filling out the PDF application on a computer, which can detect some errors and speed up your visit to the office
  • Double checking all accompanying documentation -- you won’t be issued a passport if any information is missing, including proof of parentage for children

Click here to learn about the new ePassport, or click here for information about the updated fee structure.

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Deal Expert, Toronto
Thursday, May 23, 2013
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Brendan McGeagh