OTTAWA — The rush to travel amid eased restrictions has created a bottleneck of long wait times for passport renewals, which makes the latest announcement from the federal government welcome news for many travellers, and their travel agents.
Effective March 31, Canadians in Canada and abroad can now use the simplified process to renew an expired passport, as long as it was issued within the last 15 years.
The simplified process is also available to individuals who had their passport lost, stolen or damaged.
Both updates are a change from the usual procedure. Previously the simplified renewal process wasn’t available for passports expired longer than a year, or those that were lost, stolen or damaged.
With the simplified renewal process, applicants don’t need to have a guarantor or to provide their original documents, such as proof of citizenship or photo identification. They only need two photos, two references, their completed form and the applicable fees.
More details can be found here.
While this should help speed things up somewhat at the passport office, the government still recommends that Canadians apply early and not finalize any travel plans until they have received their new passport.
“As international travel resumes, we need to continue to modernize and improve our passport services to make sure we meet the needs of Canadians. Simplifying the renewal process will make it easier and faster for Canadians to get their passport, and is another step toward greater modernization while prioritizing the health and safety of Canadians and our employees,” said Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
The expansion of the simplified renewal application process for Canadian passports comes as more and more COVID travel restrictions lift.
The latest, effective starting today, April 1, sees the lifting of the pre-arrival test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers coming into or returning to Canada. Random testing for arrivals is still in place. Unvaccinated travellers are still subject to all the usual requirements, including the pre-arrival test, the on-arrival test and the day 8 test, plus quarantine.