|Date first issued||1 July 2013 (biometric passport)|
|Type of document||Passport|
|Eligibility requirements||Canadian citizenship|
|Expiration||5 or 10 year validity for adults (age 16 years and older), and 5 years for children.|
The Canadian passport is the passport issued to citizens of Canada. It enables the bearer to exit and re-enter Canada; travel to and from other countries in accordance with visa requirements; facilitates the process of securing assistance from Canadian consular officials abroad, if necessary; and requests protection for the bearer while abroad.
All Canadian passports are issued by Passport Canada, a special branch of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. They are normally valid for five or ten years, except those of children under age three which are valid for three years. As of July 2009, 56.2% of Canadians held a valid Canadian passport. Although held by individuals, all Canadian passports remain property of Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada (the Government of Canada), as stated on the inside front cover of the booklet.
- 1 History
- 2 Rights to a passport
- 3 Types of passports
- 4 Visa requirements
- 5 Physical appearance
- 6 Passport Fees
- 7 Changes
- 8 Visa free access to the United States
- 9 Notable cases of misuse
- 10 Gallery of historic images
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The first Canadian passports were issued in 1862, following the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the United States demanded more secure identification from Canadians wishing to cross the border. They took the form of a Letter of Request from the Governor General. These documents remained in use until, in 1915, Canadian passports were first issued in the British format, a ten section single sheet folder.
The modern form of the Canadian passport came about in 1921. At that time, Canadians were British subjects, and Canada shared a common nationality code with the United Kingdom; thus, Canadian passports were issued to those British subjects resident in or connected to Canada. This arrangement ended in 1947, when the Canadian Citizenship Act was granted Royal Assent and the designation of Canadian citizenship was created. As of July the following year, Canadian passports were issued to Canadian citizens only, and by 1985 the first machine-readable passports were distributed, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.
In the 2008 federal budget, Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced that electronic passports would be introduced by 2011. A pilot project began in 2009, with e-passports being issued to special and diplomatic passport applicants. The e-passport roll-out was pushed back to 1 July 2013.
Rights to a passport
The issuance of passports falls under the Royal Prerogative, rather than an Act of Parliament; they are issued in the name of the reigning monarch, as expressed in the passport note. However, the authority to issue passports is granted to Passport Canada, a Special Operating Agency formerly under the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and now Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under the authority of the Canadian Passport Order, an Order in Council that specifies grounds for which Passport Canada can issue or renew a passport.
Applicants must complete the required forms, which include the necessity of two passport photos and affirmation from a guarantor. Rules regarding renewals of passports and the eligibility of guarantors were last updated 1 October 2007, whereafter applicants may renew the passport using a shorter application form if: they are resident in Canada when they apply; lived in Canada and were at least sixteen years of age at the time of their previous application; and are in possession of a Canadian passport that was issued under their current name after 31 January 2002, is valid for five years, and not damaged or reported lost or stolen. Further, a guarantor may be a Canadian who currently holds a valid, or no more than one year expired, five-year Canadian passport; has known the applicant for more than two years; is eighteen or more years old; and were sixteen years of age or older when they applied for their own passport. For citizens abroad, passport applications are forwarded back to a passport centre by the local embassies, high commissions or consulates.
Passport Canada may revoke a passport or refuse to issue or renew a passport on grounds set out in the Canadian Passport Order, including such grounds as failure to submit a complete application, misrepresentation in obtaining a passport, and criminality. However, whether a Canadian passport may be revoked or refused on the basis of national security concerns has been questioned. In July 2004, Abdurahman Khadr was denied a Canadian passport by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the explicit advice of her Foreign Affairs Minister, Bill Graham, who stated the decision was "in the interest of the national security of Canada and the protection of Canadian troops in Afghanistan." The government invoked royal prerogative in order to deny Khadr's passport, as national security was not at that time listed in the Canadian Passport Order as a ground for refusal, though, shortly thereafter, on 22 September 2004, section 10.1 was added to the Order, which allowed the Minister to revoke or refuse a passport due to national security concerns. Khadr sought judicial review of the minister's decision to refuse his passport, and on 8 June of the following year, the Federal Court ruled that the government did not have the power to refuse to issue Khadr's passport in the absence of specific authority set out in the Canadian Passport Order, but stated in obiter dicta that if the order were to be amended (as it had been after the fact), Khadr would likely not be able to challenge the revocation. In 2006, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Peter MacKay, again denied Khadr's application, this time invoking section 10.1 of the amended Canadian Passport Order Section 10.1 was later challenged in Federal Court by Fateh Kamel, whose passport had also been refused for national security reasons. On 13 March 2008, the Federal Court declared section 10.1 of the Passport Order to be unconstitutional and therefore invalid, though the court suspended its declaration of invalidity for six months in order to allow the government time to amend the order. The federal government launched an appeal at the Federal Court of Appeal and a ruling handed down on 29 January 2009 overturned the lower court decision in March 2008. The court unanimously agreed the denial of passport service on national grounds is in compliance with the Charter, citing the limitation clause as its main decision point. Kamel launched an appeal in 2009 to the Supreme Court of Canada but the court declined to hear his case and thus ended the legality challenge to the Canadian Passport Order. In 2010, Kamel attempted to re-apply for a Canadian Passport but was once again refused by the Minister on grounds of national security. He sought judicial review but was dismissed by the Federal Court and subsequently, by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2013.
Following the passage of he Constitution Act of 1982, which patriated Canada's constitution and entrenched a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, legal scholar A.J. Arkelian argued that Canada’s existing passport regime was now unconstitutional due to its basis in Crown prerogative. Traditionally, legal authority to issue passports is founded on the exercise of the Crown prerogative relating to foreign affairs. Certain legal tenets follow, namely: that passports are issued in the name of the Sovereign; that no person has a legal right to be issued a passport; that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in exercising the prerogative has complete discretion to refuse to issue or to revoke a passport; and that the latter discretion is not subject to judicial review. However, Section 6(1) of the Charter provides that “every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.” The only applicable limitation is the general one in section 1 which subjects Charter rights “only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” The right guaranteed in section 6(1) is a right to travel, and that means the right to travel to and from somewhere else. All such destinations are immediately and effectively precluded by absence of a Canadian passport. By guaranteeing the freedom of movement, Arkelian argues that Section 6 (1) of the Charter renders unconstitutional the basis of existing passport law in Crown prerogative, and obsolete the notion of absolute executive discretion over passport issuance and hence the right to travel.
Types of passports
Before 1947, there were two types of passports: those issued to people who were born British subjects and those issued to people naturalized as British subjects.
Today, there are five types of Canadian passports:
- Regular Passport (navy cover)
- These documents are issued to citizens for occasional travel, such as vacations and business trips. They contain 36 pages (29 pages available for visa labels and stamps). They can be issued to adults (age 16 years and older) with a validity of 5 or 10 years.
- Temporary Passport (white cover)
-  These are issued on behalf of Passport Canada to Canadians with an urgent and proven need for an interim passport while abroad.
- Emergency Travel Document (1 page)
-  Emergency travel documents are one-use documents issued to Canadians for direct return to Canada or to another Canadian mission where full passport services may be obtained. The document contains details of the person, photo, travel details and expiry date of the document.
- Special Passport (green cover)
- These are issued pursuant to the Order Respecting the Issuance of Diplomatic and Special Passports to people representing the Canadian government on official business, including Privy Councillors, Members of Parliament, provincial cabinet members, public servants, citizens nominated as official non-diplomatic delegates and Canadian Forces members who are posted abroad. Since January 2009 special passports have been issued as electronic passports, in preparation of the full implementation of the ePassport program.
- Diplomatic Passport (maroon cover)
- These are issued pursuant to the Order Respecting the Issuance of Diplomatic and Special Passports to Canadian diplomats, top ranking government officials (including lieutenant governors and commissioners of territories), diplomatic couriers, and private citizens nominated as official diplomatic delegates. Since January 2009 diplomatic passports have been issued as electronic passports, in preparation of the full implementation of the ePassport program.
|Depictions of the different types of Canadian passports|
Visa requirements for Canadian citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Canada. According to the "Henley Visa Restrictions Index 2013," holders of a Canadian passport can visit 170 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival, and Canada is currently ranked 4th in terms of travel freedom.
Regular passports are deep navy blue, with the Royal Arms of Canada emblazoned in the centre of the front cover. The words "PASSPORT•PASSEPORT" and the international e-passport symbol () are inscribed below the coat of arms, and "CANADA" above. The bilingual cover is indicative of the textual portions of Canadian passports being printed in both English and French, Canada's two official languages. The standard passport contains 36 pages, with 29 available for entry/exit stamps and visas.
New security features, similar to those on banknotes, have been added with increasing frequency since 2001. Microprinting, holographic images, UV-visible imaging, watermarks and other details have been implemented, particularly on the photo page. As well, the photo is now digitally printed directly on the paper (in both standard and UV-reactive ink); previously, the actual photo had been laminated inside the document.
- Photo of the passport holder
- Type (P) (for Passport)
- Issuing Country (listed as "CAN" for "Canada")
- Passport No.
- Given Names
- Nationality (Canadian/Canadienne)
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth (The city and country are listed, even if born inside Canada)
- Date of Issue
- Issuing Authority
- Date of Expiry
- Signature of the passport holder
The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone.
The passports contain a note from the issuing authority addressed to the authorities of all other states, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that state and requesting that they be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. The textual portions of Canadian passports are printed in both English and French, the official languages of Canada. The note inside of Canadian passports states:
- In English:
- In French:
- "Le ministre des Affaires étrangères du Canada, au nom de Sa Majesté la Reine, prie les autorités intéressées de bien vouloir laisser passer le titulaire librement, sans délai ou entrave, de même que lui prêter l'aide et la protection dont il aurait besoin."
Place of birth
Passport applicants may request, in writing, that Passport Canada not list the country of birth on their data page.
Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan
In response to the government of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) modification to the requirements for the issuance of Chinese visas to Canadian citizens born in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan the PRC will not issue visas to Canadian passport holders whose place of birth is inscribed as being Hong Kong HKG, Macau MAC or (city name) TWN. Accordingly, passports issued to Canadians born in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan now only list the place of birth, without an accompanying three-letter country code, unless upon request.
|Location||Document||Adult (16 and over)||Children (0 to 15)|
|Canadian in Canada||5 year 36-page passport||$120||$57|
|Canadian in Canada||10 year 36-page passport||$160||–|
|Canadian abroad||5 year 36-page passport||$190||$100|
|Canadian abroad||10 year 36-page passport||$260||–|
In September 2003, Le Devoir printed a piece calling on Passport Canada to give individual Canadians the choice of which official language appeared first in their passports, English or French. The Passport Office initially claimed that this was not allowed under international norms, but it was shown that Belgian passport applications asked Belgian citizens which of their country's three official languages (Dutch, French or German) should appear first in their passports.
In 2008, Passport Canada announced that it would be issuing more secure, electronic passports to Canadian travellers starting in 2012. The e-passport will have an electronic chip encoded with the bearer's name, gender, and date and place of birth and a digital portrait of their face.
On 7 April 2010, Passport Canada announced that in 2012, Canada will begin issuing electronic passports, or ePassports, to all its citizens. Passport Canada states that "the use of ePassports will allow Canada to follow international standards in the field of passport security to protect the nation's borders and maintain the ease of international travel that Canadians currently enjoy. At the same time, Passport Canada will start offering the option of a 10-year validity period as well as the current 5-year validity period."
Subsequently in September 2011, Passport Canada announced that the electronic passport will be ready by the end of 2012, however this was pushed back once again to 2013 when the organization found significant delay due to increased in passport application for revised entry policies to the United States in late 2000s and a lengthy consultation process was needed to survey public reactions to the new passport changes.
As of 1 July 2013 all new Canadian passports issued are ePassports .
All ePassports are issued with 36 pages as opposed to a choice of 24 pages or 48 pages before.
Visa free access to the United States
Previously, Canadians were able to enter the United States by presenting a birth certificate (or other proof of Canadian citizenship) along with a form of photo identification (such as a driver's licence or provincial health card). In many cases United States border agents would accept a verbal declaration of citizenship.
Under the United States Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, as of 23 January 2007, all Canadians entering the United States via air are required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card. As of 1 June 2009, all Canadian citizens (16 years or older) require a passport, NEXUS card or enhanced driver's license to enter the US via land or water. In addition, each holder of Canadian passport is entitled to 180 days or 6 months visa free stay in the United States.
Notable cases of misuse
- In 1940 Frank Jacson, a Spanish national, traveled to Mexico City on a fraudulent Canadian Passport to assassinate Leon Trotsky
- In 1961 Konon Molody used a fraudulently obtained passport of deceased Canadian Arnold Lonsdale. Using this identity he engaged in espionage activities in the United Kingdom.
- In 1968 James Earl Ray used a Canadian Passport, obtained using a forged baptismal certificate in the name of Ramon George Sneyd, to temporarily escape capture following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He was in possession of two Canadian passports at the time of his arrest at London's Heathrow Airport.
- In 1973, Mossad agents killed a waiter in Norway in the mistaken belief that he was a senior operative for Black September. The use of false Canadian passports by the killers prompted a diplomatic crisis in relations between Canada and Israel, resulting in a commitment by Israel not to misuse Canadian passports in the future. It also resulted in a redesign of the Canadian passport to improve its security features.
- In 1979, six American diplomats were smuggled out of Iran using false Canadian passports with secret approval of the Canadian government.
- In 1997, Israeli secret service personnel again botched an assassination bid while using 'Canadian passports'. The attempt against Khaled Mashal in Jordan resulted in the arrest of the would-be killers. The Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy eventually received an apology and a written assurance that Mossad would desist from using Canadian passports.
- Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian al-Qaeda Millennium Bomber who attempted to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999/2000, evaded deportation by Canada and travelled freely to and from Canada by using a Canadian passport he obtained in March 1998 by submitting a fraudulent baptismal certificate; he used a stolen blank certificate, filling it in with a fictitious name.
- In 2007, a former Canadian bureaucrat pleaded guilty to selling at least 10 fraudulent passports to individuals overseas.
- A Russian spy involved in the Illegals Program used a Canadian passport to travel to the United States to deliver payment to Russian sleeper agents. The passport was issued to a man known as Christopher Metsos, however, following the public revelation of the spy ring Passport Canada revoked the document, saying it had been issued by the Canadian High Commission in Johannesburg, South Africa to a man assuming the identity of a deceased Canadian child.
Gallery of historic images
Special passport issued for the purpose of attending the 1936 Vimy pilgrimage. One of more than 6000 issued.
- Passport Canada
- Canadian Passport Order
- Canadian nationality law
- Visa requirements for Canadian citizens
- Visa policy of Canada
- List of diplomatic missions of Canada
- "About ePassports - Passport Canada". Passport Canada. 2013-03-02. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Passport Canada: History of passports". Ppt.gc.ca. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Merriam Webster Dictionary: Passport; Merriam-Webster, Incorporated; 2005". Merriam-webster.com. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Kevin Bissett THE CANADIAN PRESS (23 July 2009). "''Passport regulation complicates American travel to Canada'', Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press, published 23 July 2009". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Wagner, Jonathan (2006). A History of Migration from Germany to Canada, 1850–1939. UBC Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-7748-1216-0. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
- Passport Canada: History
- Budget 2008: Responsible Leadership for Uncertain Times[dead link]
- "Special and Diplomatic Passports go Electronic". Ppt.gc.ca. 5 January 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Order amending the Canadian Passport Order / Décret modifiant le Décret sur le" (PDF). Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "CTV News: ''Khadr lawyer says passport denial violates rights''; 6 December 2005". Ctv.ca. 6 December 2005. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Khadr v. Attorney General of Canada". Decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "CTV News: ''Ottawa again denies Khadr's passport application''; 30 August 2006". Ctv.ca. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Department of Justice Canada: Canadian Passport Order". Laws.justice.gc.ca. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Sean Gordon Quebec Bureau Chief. "Gordon, Sean; ''Toronto Star'': Can't deny terrorist's bid for a passport, judge rules; 14 March 2008". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Canada (Procureur général)c. Kamel". Decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- No passport for terrorist, court rules[dead link]
- Fateh Kamel v. Attorney General of Canada
- Kamel v. Canada (Attorney General)
- Arkelian, A.J. "The Right to a Passport in Canadian Law." "The Canadian Yearbook of International Law," Volume XXI, 1983. Republished in November 2012 in Artsforum Magazine at http://artsforum.ca/ideas/in-depth
- "Passport Canada: Annual report for 2003–2004; Public Works and Government Services Canada; ISBN 0-662-37458-4". Ppt.gc.ca. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Order Respecting the Issuance of Diplomatic and Special Passports
- "Passport Canada Business Plan 2006–2009" (PDF). Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Requisition form for diplomatic or special passport issuance to department of national defence members". Ppt.gc.ca. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Official Travel", Special and diplomatic ePassports (Passport Canada), retrieved 23 November 2011
- "Commissionners of the Territories". Ainc-inac.gc.ca. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "International Visa Restrictions". Henley and partners. August 2013. Retrieved August 2013.
- Passport Canada "The ePassport". Retrieved 10 August 2011
- Travel Report for China – China
- See Veffer v. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Court of Appeal, 25 June 2007
- Canada's new passport fees, Passport Canada, retrieved 30 June 2013
- Demande de Passeport (PDF)
- "The ePassport".
- "Biometric passports to be ready by end of 2012". Ottawa Citizen. 14 September 2011.
- "About ePassports". Passport Canada. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative[dead link]
- "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative". Cbsa-asfc.gc.ca. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Embassy of the United States Ottawa, Canada – Home". Amcits.com. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Visa policy of the US". Retrieved 1 November 2011.
- "James Earl Ray's fake Canadian passport". CBC News. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- Mueller, Karl P. (2006). Karl P. Mueller, ed. Striking first: preemptive and preventive attack in U.S. national security policy. Rand Corporation monograph series. 375 of MG. Rand Corporation. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-8330-3881-4. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
- Singer, David (1998). Ruth R. Seldin, ed. American Jewish year book, 1998. American Jewish year book 98. Verlag für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG. pp. 192, 193. ISBN 978-0-87495-113-4. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
- "Government's Sentencing Memorandum; U.S. v. Ressam". 20 April 2005. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
- "Former government worker forged passports". CBC News. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- "Canada cancels passport of accused Russian spy". CBC News. 26 July 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- "Dedication of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial 26 July 1936". Veterans Affairs Canada. 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
- Official site
- History of Canadian Passports
- Simplified Passport Renewal Program
- New Passport Guarantors Policy
- Travel Reports & Warnings – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Directory of Canadian Government Offices Abroad – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada