Canadian passport

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Canadian passport
Cover of a Canadian e-Passport.  Cover is navy blue colour with a gold-coloured crest.  Text reads "CANADA" above the crest and "PASSPORT" and "PASSEPORT" below
The front cover of a Canadian e-passport (with chip EPassport logo.svg).
Date first issued
  • 1862 (letter of request)
    1921 (booklet)
  • July 1, 2013 (biometric)
Issued by  Canada
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Canadian citizenship
Expiration 5 or 10 years after acquisition for adults (age 16 years and older), and 5 years for children under 16[1]

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.[3][4]

All Canadian passports are issued by Passport Canada, an independent government agency under the purview of the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. They are normally valid for five or ten years for persons 16 years of age and older, and five years for children under 16.[1] In 2012, the passport possession rate of Canada was at 67 percent. Passport Canada predicted that the possession rate would reach 70 percent by 2013 and 23 million Canadian passports would be in circulation.[5] Although held by individuals, all Canadian passports remain property of the Queen of Canada (the Government of Canada), as stated on the inside front cover of the booklet.[3]

Canada is a member of the Five Nations Passport Group, an international forum for cooperation between the passport issuing authorities in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to "share best practices and discuss innovations related to the development of passport policies, products and practices".[6]

Passport Canada began issuing biometric passports, also known as electronic passports or e-passports, to Canadian citizens on 1 July 2013.[3]


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 of Canada. These documents remained in use until, in 1915, Canadian passports were first issued in the British format, a ten section single sheet folder.[7]

The modern form of the Canadian passport came about in 1921. At that time, Canadians were British subjects, and Canada shared a common nationality 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. Beginning in July the following year, Canadian passports were issued to Canadian citizens only.[8]

Between 1947 and 1970, Canadian citizens could only apply for passports by mail to Ottawa. Requirements were simple, and applicants claiming birth in Canada did not have to provide proof of birth. The lax security has led to numerous cases of misuse of the passport, so the Canadian Government tightened the application requirements from 1970. At the same year, the first three Passport Canada offices were opened in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.[3]

In 1985, the first version of machine-readable passports (MRP) was issued, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards. An amended version came into circulation in 1991, with additional security features and more stringent processing requirements. By 1993, a newer version of MRP was introduced, which contained unique features to prevent replication or alteration.[3]

Since December 11, 2001, children are no longer included in parents' passports, and passports are issued for one person only.[9]

In 2002, Passport Canada began to issue an updated version domestically, which includes the digitally printed photo of the bearer embedded into the identification page of the booklet, holographic images, bar-coded serial number, and a second hidden photo of the bearer that could only be viewed under ultraviolet light. Canadian diplomatic missions abroad adopted this version in 2006.[3] In March 2010, the passport was upgraded, including a new design of the identification page and more anti-counterfeit elements, such as the new colours of Optically Variable Ink and addition of laser perforated number. The cover, watermark, personalization technique and holographic laminate are same with the 2002 version. The 2010 version was also the last revision of MRP prior to the release of e-passports.[9]

In the 2008 federal budget, Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced that biometric passports ("e-passports") would be introduced by 2011.[10] A pilot project began in 2009, with e-passports being issued to special and diplomatic passport applicants.[11] The e-passport roll-out was pushed back to 1 July 2013.

Rights to a passport and application procedures[edit]

The issuance of passports falls under the Royal Prerogative. They are issued, in the name of the reigning Canadian monarch (as expressed in the passport note), according to the Canadian Passport Order.[12] This Order in Council specifies grounds for which Passport Canada, a Special Operating Agency under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), can issue or renew a passport.

Passport requirements[edit]

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all Canadian citizens have the right to enter Canada. Although there is no requirement for a Canadian citizen to use Canadian passport when entering or leaving Canada, under the new visa regulations all visa-free passport holders (except for U.S. citizens and nationals) will be required to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before boarding a flight to Canada, starting from 10 November 2016.

As the eTA is used for the sole purpose of immigration screening for non-Canadian visitors entering Canada on a temporary basis, all Canadian citizens are automatically barred from applying the eTA. Hence a de facto passport requirement will be in place by then, because a Canadian citizen who travels on a visa-free, non-Canadian passport will be prevented from boarding the commercial flight to Canada unless he or she can present a valid Canadian passport during check-in.[13] The only exceptions to this rule are when a Canadian citizen travelling on a U.S. passport, as Americans do not need an eTA to enter Canada, or when a Canadian citizen travelling on an eTA-required passport but enters Canada by sea or through one of the land ports of entry from the U.S.


In order to apply for a passport, applicants must complete the required forms listed below and submit them along with two passport photos and previous valid travel documents issued by the Canadian Government.

In addition, those who are ineligible to renew their passports through simplified renewal precedures need to submit other documents to prove their identity and citizenship:

  • the original proof of citizenship; and,
  • another valid identity document that was issued by a federal, provincial/territorial/state government authority or equivalent outside Canada. The document needs to include their name, sex, date of birth, signature and photo. Several pieces of identification that meet all of these requirements when combined may also be used.

Application forms[edit]

Canadian citizens in Canada, the U.S. (including American Samoa, the Midway Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) or Bermuda are required to submit the following forms if they have a guarantor with a Canadian passport:[14]

  • PPTC 153 for adults 16 years of age or older
  • PPTC 155 for children under 16 years of age

Canadian citizens in the U.S. or Bermuda who do not have a guarantor with a Canadian passport need to use the following forms:[14]

Canadian citizens applying from countries other than Canada, the U.S. or Bermuda are required to use the following forms:[14]

Canadian citizens over 16 with a Canadian passport may elect to renew the passport without a guarantor by using the simplified renewal application forms:

  • PPTC 054 for applicants in Canada, the U.S. and Bermuda; or,
  • PPTC 482 for applicants in other countries;

If they meet the following requirements:[14]

  • they are in possession of a Canadian passport that is valid or has been expired for no more than one year;
  • the passport have been issued when the applicant was at least 16 years of age;
  • the passport has the same name, sex, date of birth and place of birth on the application form;
  • the passport is/was valid for five or ten years; and,
  • the passport is not damaged or reported lost or stolen.

All applicants are also required to include two references, who are:

  • over 18 years of age;
  • have known the applicant for over two years; and,
  • not family members of the applicants.

Applicants born outside of Canada between February 15, 1977 and April 16, 1981 inclusive, to a Canadian parent may also be required to complete form PPTC 001 to confirm Canadian Citizenship, as a clause of the 1977 Citizenship Act stated that a Canadian citizen born outside Canada who did not file for the retention of Canadian citizenship before his or her 28th birthday may lose it on that date. The clause was repealed on April 17, 2009 when the amendment of Citizenship Act went into effect.

Other forms[edit]

To list additional prior addresses, or if there is insufficient space to list two years of employment history, an applicant must attach a separate page with this information or complete form PPTC 056.

To list additional identity documents, or additional references with an application, an applicant must attach a separate page with this information or complete form PPTC 057.

If an applicant would like to request a Canadian Passport without a Place of Birth listed, they must complete form PPTC 077.

If an applicant has not known an eligible guarantor for at least two years, they must complete form PPTC 132 "Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor". This form must be obtained directly from a Passport Canada office.[15]

If a passport is lost, stolen, inaccessible, damaged or found, an applicant must complete form PPTC 203.

Applicants requesting a certified true copy of Canadian travel document (including passports) must complete form PPTC 516.

Passport photos[edit]

Two passport photos taken by a professional photo studio are required as a part of the application package. Passport Canada has a strict guideline for passport photos. Submitting unacceptable photos will result in the rejection of one's application.[16]

  • Must be taken within the last six months before application
  • 5 cm X 7 cm (2 in X 2 3⁄4 in)
  • Taken with a light-coloured or white background
  • Natural skin tone must be visible
  • Head height between 31 mm and 36 mm (1 1⁄4 in X 1 7⁄16 in)
  • Front centre view with shoulders and squared face
  • Blank expression, mouth closed, eyes open
  • No reflections of flashlight
  • No shadows or glare of any kind (including on glasses)
  • No tinted glasses of any kind (including sunglasses)
  • No head wear of any kind, unless wearing for religious purposes (such as hijabs)
  • Other parts of the body, such as hands or feet, must not be in the picture
  • Alteration of any kind from the original picture is prohibited
  • Printed on professional-grade photographic paper

Both colour and B&W photos are acceptable.

For extra security, the photos must contain the stamped or handwritten address of the studio and the exact date they were taken. In addition, a declaration and signature made by a guarantor is required, as he or she must certify the photos are true likeliness of the applicant.

Guarantor of identity[edit]

Canadian passport issuing system is modeled after the United Kingdom, where all first-time passport applications are required to be "countersigned" by a person who works in a recognized profession.[17] Australia and New Zealand have similar policies. The use of a guarantor is to serve "as a security measure in the entitlement process and as a point of departure for the future investigation of statements made on the application form".[18]

A guarantor must complete the following duties free of charge:

  • Complete the relevant part in the application form;
  • Certify the passport photos to be the true likeliness of the applicant; and,
  • Sign and date the photocopies of each document submitted the applicant, if applicable.

Rules regarding the eligibility of guarantors were last updated on 12 August 2013. For passport applicants in Canada, only a Canadian passport holder can be a guarantor. For Canadian citizens living abroad (including the U.S.) who do not have a Canadian guarantor, an employment-based, non-Canadian guarantor may be used for application.

A guarantor can be a Canadian citizen who:[19]

  • is 18 or older;
  • hold a five-year or a ten-year Canadian passport that is valid or has expired within the last year from the date the application was submitted;
  • have been 16 or over when he or she applied for his or her current Canadian passport;
  • know the applicant personally for at least two years (to know an applicant personally means that the guarantor is able to confirm applicant's personal details) and well enough to be sure that statements made in the application form are true;
  • provide the requested information contained in the passport issued in his or her name by completing the declaration of guarantor section of the application form by hand; and,
  • can be reached by the Passport Program for verification.

A Canadian passport holder guarantor does not need to reside in the same country as the applicant.

To qualify as an employment-based guarantor, the person must:[19]

  • work and/or reside within the U.S., or the area of accreditation served by the Government of Canada office abroad where the application is submitted;
  • know the applicant personally for at least two years;
  • be registered or licensed with the appropriate local authority to practice one of the following professions:
    • Dentist
    • Medical doctor
    • Dean or head of university or college
    • Judge
    • Lawyer or notary
    • Notary public
    • Pharmacist
    • Veterinarian
    • Police officer
    • Signing officer of a bank or trust company, or of a financial institution that offers a full range of banking services (cash withdrawals, deposits, savings); and,
  • can be reached by the Passport Program for verification.

An applicant who is a Canadian citizen but is unable to find a guarantor can elect to complete PPTC 132, also called "Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor". Such form can only be obtained from a passport office, a Canadian mission abroad, or through telephone. The form must be sworn to or declared before, and signed by, a qualified official authorized by law to administer an oath or a solemn declaration. If completed outside Canada, a qualified official can include Canadian or British diplomatic or consular representatives, or qualified local officials (for example, civil servants or members of Parliament).[19]

Passport fees[edit]

Canadians in Canada can submit their applications in person through a passport office, a Service Canada location, a Canada Post receiving agent, or can submit their applications by mail. Canadians in the U.S. or Bermuda can apply only by mail. Canadian living in other countries or territories are required to apply through the nearest Canadian diplomatic posts abroad. Expedited services (urgent, express and standard pick-ups) are only available through a passport office in Canada.

All fees are payable in Canadian dollars only.

Current Passport Fees (as of 1 July 2013)[2]
Location of applicant Age of applicant Type of passport Normal application fee Urgent pick up (by the end of the next business day)

Additional $110

Express pick up (based on date of travel indicated on application form - within 2-9 business days)

Additional $50

Standard pick up (on or after 10 business days)

Additional $20

Replacement of a valid lost or stolen passport
In Canada 16 years and over 5-year passport $120 $230 $170 $140 Additional $45 service fee for replacing a valid lost or stolen passport.
10-year passport $160 $270 $210 $180
0–15 years 5-year passport $57 $167 $107 $77
Outside Canada 16 years and over 5-year passport $190 N/A N/A N/A
10-year passport $260 N/A N/A N/A
0–15 years 5-year passport $100 N/A N/A N/A

Refusal and revocation of passports[edit]

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. 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.[20] Khadr sought judicial review of the minister's decision to refuse his passport and,[21] 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, Khadr would likely not be able to challenge the revocation.[22]

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.[23] 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 Canadian Passport Order to be unconstitutional and therefore invalid,[24][25] 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. The court unanimously agreed the denial of passport service on national grounds is in compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, citing the limitation clause (Section 1) as its main decision point.[26][27] 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.[28]

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.[29] Kamel did not appeal the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Proof of Canadian citizenship[edit]

A Canadian passport serves as the proof of holder's identity and nationality status outside Canada. Contrary to popular belief, however, a Canadian passport itself, be it valid or invalid, is only a prima facie proof of Canadian citizenship. Conclusive proof of Canadian citizenship, as dictated by the IRCC, only includes the following documents:[30]

  • Canadian citizenship certificate;
  • Canadian citizenship card;
  • Birth certificate from a Canadian province or territory;
  • Naturalization certificate as a British subject in Canada (issued before January 1, 1947);
  • Registration of birth abroad certificate (issued between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977); and,
  • Certificates of retention (issued between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977)

Although the provincial or territorial birth certificate is accepted by IRCC as valid proof of citizenship, Section 3(2) of the Citizenship Act declared that a child born in Canada to either parent who was a diplomatic or consular officer or other representative of a foreign country, or an employee in the service of such person, is not a Canadian citizen if neither parent was a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident at time of the child's birth. Such persons may be issued Canadian passports, as their provincial or territorial issued birth certificate are considered as proof of citizenship. Under the Act, however, they are legally not Canadian citizens even if they hold a valid Canadian passport.

The ambiguity on the enforcement of the Act can create hardship for Canadian passport holders who assumed they were Canadian citizens. Deepan Budlakoti, a stateless man born in Ottawa to Indian parents who were employed by the Indian High Commission at the time of his birth, was twice issued a Canadian passport under the assumption that he was a Canadian citizen by virtue of being born in Canada.[31] His Canadian passport, however, was cancelled after his criminal convictions in 2010 brought the investigation by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which concluded in 2011 that he was not a Canadian citizen, but a permanent resident. His appeals to the Federal Courts, and subsequently to the Supreme Court of Canada to recognize him as a Canadian citizen, were denied.[32] The Indian government claims that he had lost his Indian citizenship by obtaining a Canadian passport, as Rule 3 of Schedule III of the Citizenship Rules, 1956 of India states that "the fact that a citizen of India has obtained on any date a passport from the Government of any other country shall be conclusive proof of his/her having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of that country before that date".[32] Budlakoti, therefore, is stateless, regardless of the fact that he had held a Canadian passport.

Types of passports[edit]

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 or children under 16 with a validity of 5 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.[33] This passport contains 8 pages and is valid between six months and one year.[9]
Emergency Travel Document (1 page)
Emergency travel documents are one-use documents issued to Canadians for direct return to Canada.[9] The document contains details of the person, photo, travel details and expiry date of the document.[33]
Special Passport (green cover)
These are issued pursuant to the Order Respecting the Issuance of Diplomatic and Special Passports[34] 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[35] and Canadian Forces members who are posted abroad.[36] Since January 2009 special passports have been issued as electronic passports, in preparation of the full implementation of the ePassport program.[37]
Diplomatic Passport (maroon cover)
These are issued pursuant to the Order Respecting the Issuance of Diplomatic and Special Passports[34] to Canadian diplomats, top ranking government officials (including lieutenant governors and commissioners of territories),[38] 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.[37]

Physical appearance[edit]

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 (EPassport logo.svg)[39] 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. The size dimensions of a closed Canadian passport are 3.5" (width) and 5" (height).

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.

Personal Data Page of a Canadian passport, from 2002 to 2010

Data page[edit]

  • Photo of the passport holder
  • Type (P)
  • Issuing Country (listed as "CAN" for "Canada")
  • Passport No.
  • Surname
  • Given Names
  • Nationality (Canadian/Canadienne)
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Place of Birth (the city and three-letter country code are listed, even if born inside Canada)
    • Note: Province or State is required on the application form, if applicable, but is not listed in the passport.
  • Date of Issue
  • Issuing Authority
  • Date of Expiry

The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone.


From 2002 until May 2015, all Canadian passports contain two signature spaces: one is on the data page where a scanned signature is printed along with other personal details, the other is a blank signature block on page 3. After the applicants have received the passport, those over 16 must also sign in the signature block in ink.[40]

Children under 16, however, must leave their passport's signature block empty. The child or the parent should never sign the passport, as a signed children's passport is considered invalid. Before 2015, passport issued to children contains the wording "Signature Not Required/non requise" on the data page.[41]

As of May 2015, the passport bearer's scanned signature is no longer printed on the data page. Adult applicants, however, must still physically sign page 3 in the passport book when they receive it.[42]

Passport note[edit]

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 English and French, the official languages of Canada. The note inside of Canadian passports states:

  • In English:
"The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada requests, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely, without delay or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."
  • 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[edit]

The place of birth is inscribed under the following format: CITYNAME UTO, whereas "UTO" is the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code of the country of birth. The first-level administrative country subdivisions of birth, such as the Canadian province or the U.S. state, is not mentioned as a part of place of birth, so Canadian citizens born in Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon can have the same inscription as place of birth: PORTLAND USA. Exceptions to this format are listed below.

A passport applicant may request, in writing, that Passport Canada not list the place of birth (city and country) - or country of birth - on their data page, by filling out PPTC 077. The applicant must indicate his or her awareness that omitting this information could cause one difficulties at international entry points or when applying for visas.[43]

Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan[edit]

In response to the Chinese government's modification of requirements for the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens born in Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan, Canadian passports issued to Canadians born in Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan are now issued only with the place of birth and not the three-letter country code. Visas will no longer be issued to Canadian passport holders whose place of birth is inscribed as Hong Kong HKG, Macao MAC, or (city name) TWN.[44]


Since April 1976, the policy has been that Canadian citizens born in Jerusalem have their birthplace identified only by the city's name, with no national designation, due to the unresolved legal status of Jerusalem.[45]


Canadian citizens born prior to 14 May 1948 may have their birthplace identified as Palestine if they were born in what was the British Mandate of Palestine (including Jerusalem).[46]


Official languages[edit]

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 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.[47]


In 2008, Passport Canada announced that it would be issuing 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."[48]

In September 2011, Passport Canada announced that the electronic passport would be ready by the end of 2012, however this was pushed back to 2013 when the organization found significant delay because of an increase in passport applications 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.[49]

All Canadian passports issued on or after 1 July 2013 have been ePassports.[3]

All ePassports are issued with 36 pages as opposed to the previous choice of 24 or 48 pages.

Visa free access to the United States[edit]

Canadians used to be 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, since 23 January 2007, all Canadians entering the United States via air have been required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card.[50] Since 1 June 2009, all Canadian citizens (16 years or older) have required a passport, NEXUS card, enhanced driver's licence, or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card to enter the U.S. via land or water.[50]

In most circumstances, Canadian citizens do not require visitor, business, transit or other visas to enter the United States, either from Canada or from other countries. Moreover, Canadian citizens are generally granted a stay in the U.S. for up to six months at the time of entry. Visa requirements only apply to Canadians who fall under visa categories E (investors), K (fiancé(e)s or spouses and their children of U.S. citizens), V (spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents), S (informants), A (Canadian government officials travelling on official business), G (Canadian diplomats working for international organizations in the U.S.) and NATO (Canadians working specifically for the NATO), and they must apply for a visa before entry in the same manner as other nationalities.[51][52]

Canadian students are exempted from the visa requirements if they hold a valid form I-20 or DS-2019 and have paid their SEVIS registration fees, which enables them to travel to the U.S. under F-1 or J-1 statuses.[53]

Lawfully working in the United States[edit]

Main article: TN status
See also: H-1B visa

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian citizens can legally work in the U.S. under simplified procedure, known as TN status, if their professions are under NAFTA regulations and they have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer. Obtaining TN status does not involve getting a physical visa, instead the applicant is required to apply and receive TN status with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry. The TN status is good for three years once approved and can be renewed indefinitely if working for the same employer, however it may be revoked each time the applicant enters the U.S. TN status also does not facilitate the process of obtaining lawful U.S. permanent residency and cannot be used to live in the U.S. permanently.[54]

Canadians who want to work in the U.S. with intention to immigrate to the U.S., or who are ineligible for TN status, can also work under the H-1B status. Unlike other nationalities, they are exempted from obtaining the physical visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. Apart from the visa exemption, other procedures are the same with all foreign nationals.[55]

First Nations[edit]

See also: Indian register

Under the Jay Treaty signed by the U.S. and Great Britain in 1794, all American Indians may travel freely across the international boundary between U.S. and Canada. First Nations born in Canada are entitled to freely enter the U.S. for employment, education, retirement, investing, or immigration. In order to qualify, all eligible persons must provide documentation of their First Nations background at the port of entry. The documentation must be sufficient to show the bearer is "at least 50% of the American Indian race".[56][57]

Notable cases of misuse[edit]

Since its introduction, the Canadian passport has been a favorable target of counterfeiters, criminals and agents of foreign governments. The reasons for such high number of misuses include the relative lax issuance process before 1970,[3] the lack of anti-counterfeit features in early non-MRP versions, and Canadian passport's high number of visa-free countries. In 2015, a fake or altered Canadian passport can cost as much as US$3,000 on the black market, almost three times higher than fake or altered EU passports.[58]

  • In 1940, Frank Jacson, a Spanish national, travelled to Mexico City on a fraudulent Canadian passport to assassinate Leon Trotsky[59]
  • 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.[59]
  • In 1962, three American fugitives who were convicted with narcotics-related charges obtained Canadian passports to escape to Spain. At the same year, Australian government also found a Soviet spy ring that was using Canadian passports.[59]
  • In 1968, James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr., used a Canadian passport, which was obtained with a forged baptismal certificate in the name of "Ramon George Sneyd", to temporarily escape capture following his completed assassination.[59] He was in possession of two Canadian passports at the time of his arrest at London Heathrow Airport.[59] Before Ray's arrest, he was able to turn his passport in, which has incorrectly spelled his fake last name as "Sneya", to the Canadian Embassy in Portugal, for a replacement under his correct alias. The arrest of Ray triggered an investigation launched by the Royal Commission on Security in 1969, which recommended much more stringent application requirements and the establishment of Passport Canada offices.[3]
  • In 1973, Mossad agents killed a waiter in Lillehammer, 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.[60]
  • In 1980, six American diplomats were smuggled out of Iran using authentic Canadian passports containing forged Iranian visas 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.[61]
  • 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.[62]
  • In 2007, a former Canadian bureaucrat pleaded guilty to selling at least 10 fraudulent passports to individuals overseas.[63]
  • 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.[64]

Visa requirements[edit]

Visa requirements for Canadian citizens

Visa requirements for Canadian citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Canada. According to the 2016 Visa Restrictions Index, holders of a Canadian passport can visit 172 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival, and the score of Canada is ranked[65] 6th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, South Korea and Switzerland).[66]

Foreign travel statistics[edit]

According to the statistics these are the numbers of Canadian visitors to various countries per annum in 2014 (unless otherwise noted):

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi Data for 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f Counting only guests in tourist accommodation establishments.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Data for 2013
  4. ^ a b c Data for 2011
  5. ^ a b c d e Data for arrivals by air only.
  6. ^ a b c d e Data for 2010
  7. ^ Data for 2007
  8. ^ a b c Data for 2009


See also[edit]


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External links[edit]