Applying for a Canadian Passport

April 12, 2007 at 9:29 pm 44 comments

canadian passport

Late last year, it was all over the news how Canadians would now need a passport when traveling by air to the U.S. as of January 23, 2007, as a way of enhancing security at U.S. borders.  Before this, Canadians only needed to show either their birth certificates or Citizenship cards.  We also watched on the news how long the lines were at passport offices all over Canada.  

So when I learned that Reggie’s senior jazz band made it to the Essentially Ellington Competition in New York, I knew we had to get started right away on applying for his passport. 

Since I am always very busy and he’s always on the internet anyway, I told him to search on how to apply for a Canadian passport. 

He found the Passport Canada website and he started to fill out the application on line.  He didn’t finish filling up the application in one sitting but he was able to save his document on line and he would get back to it when he had the chance. 

It was the first week of March when he asked me for my maiden name.  It was one of the questions asked.  I looked at his application just to see how it’s coming along and I checked the information he had typed on there.  He was filling up the Adult Passport Application (for Canadians 16 years of age or over).   So that was interesting to know that he’s applying as an adult. He needed two references who are not his relatives and have known him for at least two years.  He wrote down the names of his band director and a classmate.  I told him that maybe scrap the classmate and I’d ask a family friend instead. 

He also needed at least one document to support his identity and it must include the bearer’s name and signature.  There was a list of documents that could be used, which includes driver’s licence and provincial health care card.  Since he doesn’t have a driver’s licence, I thought that he could use my health care card.  But upon reading the requirements again, I realized that he is not the bearer of that card and his name is just there because he is my dependent. 

So I called the Passport Office the next day, to ask if he could use his Social Insurance Card.  As I expected, the line was busy and I was on hold for quite a while.  Instead of playing music in the background, the passport office has recorded messages about applying for a passport.  And when I heard that it would now take 45 days to process the application, I counted the days until he has to leave and I calculated close to 45 days.  I started to get worried.  What if he doesn’t get it back before he has to leave? 

I finally talked to a representative after 20 minutes and I asked if he could use his SIN card.  Yes, he said.  I further explained that this is the SIN card I had applied for him when he was still little because he needed one for the college fund I had applied for him and his brothers.  Does it have his signature on it, he asked.  Not yet, but I will let him sign it.  Yes, then he said. 

That night, I helped Reggie finish filling up his application.  The following day, we had his passport pictures taken at Wal-Mart on his lunch break.  While waiting for his turn, I read over the photo requirements.  It said there that facial expression must be neutral, not frowning or smiling with the mouth closed.  I pointed that out to him.  Glasses may be worn as long as the eyes are clearly visible.  So I was surprised when the lady photographer asked him to take off his glasses.  She also gave him a sheet of tissue to wipe his forehead.  For it also said on the requirements that there must not be a flash reflection on the face.   

We had to wait for 30 minutes before his pictures were developed.  And when she handed it to us, I made sure that it had the photographer’s stamp on the back and a spot for the guarantor’s signature.  His school principal had told us that she could sign the students’ passport applications when we had a meeting about their trip to New York.  So when Reggie went back to school that afternoon, he brought his application papers and pictures and asked the principal to sign them. 

I asked Reggie to skip his first class the following morning just so we could go to the Passport Office and hand in his application.  I also told my supervisor that I would be starting work late. 

We got there at 7:40 a.m.  The doors were still closed as they open at 8:00 a.m.  But a guy in uniform came out when he heard us rattling the doorknobs.  He asked Reggie if he filled out his application by hand or on the internet.  He told him the latter and he was given a number, C505.  Apparently, two series of numbers were being given to the applicants, one series for those who filled out theirs by hand and another for those printed from the computer.  Reggie was the fifth one on his series.  We were told to go to the basement and wait there.  The passport guy would come down to get 10 people from each group at 8:00 a.m. 

So we went downstairs and there were already about 40 people there.  There were only a few chairs and most of the people were sitting on the floor.  Reggie also sat on the floor while I remained standing. At 8:00 on the dot, the same guy came down to get the first group of people.  And that included us.  There were about 7 staff on the counter and when Reggie’s number came up, we handed his papers to a younger guy.  He checked his application, birth certificate, SIN card and photos.  I paid the $87 fee.  I asked when we would be getting his passport.  He said by the end of March, that’s about in 20 days time.  So I was relieved.  It was quick.  We were at the bus stop at 8:10 a.m. 

I noticed that it’s a lot quicker if you have your application printed on the computer.  There are more people filling up their application by hand and that’s the reason they have a longer line.  So if you are applying for a passport, I suggest that you have yours printed from the website at 

We received his passport through Xpress post on the first week of this month.  So I am quite relieved now.  But I still have to pay the balance of his $2000 trip.  The senior jazz band is having a benefit concert next week.  So I hope the proceeds from that could help reduce the cost of this trip to New York.


Entry filed under: Detour, New York, Winnipeg.

The Concert Birds of a feather

44 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JO  |  April 12, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    when we applied for our canadian passport, it wasn’t that hard. and the line wasn’t that long either… i guess it depends on where you had it done. we got ours by regular post in 2 weeks time.

  • 2. Kyels  |  April 12, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Looking at the passport photo reminds me of travelling.


  • 3. rhodora  |  April 13, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Application for passport there is quite tedious. Here in the Phlippines, you may claim your passport the following day or after one week, depending on the fee you paid.

    Here’s wishing Reggie a successful performance! Looking forward to his photos here. 🙂

  • 4. kathy  |  April 13, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Ang galing, the application seemed pretty straightforward. I’m familiar with the application form being done online, not for passport but for US Visa applications. The application form generated also includes a barcode and reference number.

    Anyway, good luck to Reggie! 🙂

  • 5. Lazarus  |  April 13, 2007 at 4:06 am

    I wish you all the best Reggie. You have a very supportive mother.

    I salute you, Niceheart!

  • 6. watson  |  April 13, 2007 at 5:28 am

    what an exciting time it must be for Reggie! The only time I got to another city was when I was already in college for our field trip!

    Good luck to him, and have a relaxing weekend ahead, Niceheart!

  • 7. bw  |  April 13, 2007 at 7:01 am

    I filed my passport application at a downtown office in Toronto and a week later it was mailed to me. If I wanted to expedite, I was asked to pay $30 bucks extra and get it the following day. This is a service to those who are travelling urgently. You definitely need credentials to authenticate the application and a photo – smiling prohibited 🙂

  • 8. julie  |  April 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Hope the benefit concert will help you with the expenses.

    Here in Manila, passport application is a process that requires one to be patient. With the long lines and heat, it is quite an experience you wouldn’t want to repeat in the near future. But if you brought the correct requirements, plus a fan for yourself, everything will be a breeze, never mind the long lines and heat. 😀

  • 9. niceheart  |  April 14, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    That was quick JO. Maybe you got your passports earlier this year. I was just at the Passport website and it says there that there has been a sharp increase in volume of applications and it may now take up to 10 weeks before you get your passport. I’m just really glad that we got Reggie’s already.

    Kyels, of course. You just travelled to the Philippines, right? And I’m sure you have many more travels ahead of you. 🙂

  • 10. niceheart  |  April 14, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Rhodora, that’s quick, indeed. We have a fixed rate here, and only if it’s urgent then you pay the extra bucks. Thanks for your good wishes to Reggie. And of course, I will post pictures here. 🙂

    Thank you, Kathy. Yeah, I forgot to mention that a bar code was also generated on Reggie’s application form and it was actually the first thing the passport guy checked when he looked at his application.

  • 11. niceheart  |  April 14, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you Lazarus. I think every mother tends to support their children. 🙂

    Yes, watson. High school is already an exciting time and this trip will just make this period in his life more memorable. 🙂 Daig pa nga ako ng anak ko eh. I also never got to travel when I was younger. And even til now. I don’t get much around. 🙂

  • 12. niceheart  |  April 14, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    That was also quick for you, BW. Could it also be because you are closer to Ottawa than we are? Or you probably got yours before these new requirements took place. As I was just telling JO, the website says that it could take up to 10 weeks now.

    I also hope too, Julie. Oh, I am familiar with the long lines and the heat over there. Registering for college and university, applying for social insurance, government clearances, even for job applications. There was a time that I almost passed out when applying for a job because we had to fall in line outside under the heat of the sun. The security guard let me inside, sa lobby – air conditioned pa. 🙂

  • 13. cruise  |  April 14, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    i still remember when i had my first passport, very excited for the first international trip.

    hope reggie will enjoy his passport though i am sure he used to travel a lot even before he has no passport.

  • 14. annamanila  |  April 14, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Paper chases are usually an unpleasant but necessary part of our life. I am glad Reggie’s application went through without too much hassle.

    Dati pala canadians and americans can cross borders wtihout papers?

    Sana tayo din… I mean pinoys din. But that only belongs to the realm of Lennon’s “imagine.”

  • 15. Belle  |  April 14, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Speaking of passport, you just reminded me to renew my daughter’s passport.

    Good luck to Reggie in New York. Wow naman! It will be a good experience for him. Daughter A and her choir class plan to go to the big apple too this May. They have been holding fundraising events here and there to earn money for a trip to New York. May is just a month away and I don’t know if they already hit their target.

    When I used to cross the Canadian border, I always carried my passport along in case something went wrong. Ngayon pala, kailangan na ang passport.

  • 16. ann  |  April 14, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I always seek assistance from the agency when renewing passport. It’s a little bit expensive but better than falling in line and wait.

  • 17. Girly  |  April 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Wow, it seems like it’s tough to get a passport in Canada. I was thinking of getting my sister over here by way of Canada, but it’s not exactly easy to get into Canada from Asia.

  • 18. vic  |  April 14, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    It’s not really a hassle to get a new passport or renewal. Forms can be had at our local post office outlets and they are everywhere like drug stores. no smiling in photos and me, I just go to my pharmacist or my dentist to get it signed as my guarantor.

    in emergency just show your tickets and they passport people will make sure you’ll get it in time, at a little extra charge. and going accross the border, only by air the passport is mandatory, by land a birth certificate or any other ids is still acceptable, but passport is preferable.

  • 19. Toe  |  April 15, 2007 at 12:30 am

    I wish Reggie and his band all the best during the competition. That is soooo exciting! New York pa!

    The passport requirements are quite strict. Don’t worry about the line of 40 people. In the Philippines, the lines are in the thousands… and that’s at 6 in the morning.

  • 20. Ferdz  |  April 15, 2007 at 3:21 am

    This is a very infromative post. Even though I’m not in Canada but who knows. hehe. I hope Reggie would be able to have a lot of stamps on it.

  • 21. niceheart  |  April 15, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Cruise, yes, Reggie’s band has brought him to many places, mostly only here in our province. But he’s also crossed the U.S border a few times.

    Annamanila, I am also glad that the processing of his passport went smoothly without any glitches. Hmmn, as for pinoys crossing borders, wala naman kasing borders ang pinas diba because it is surrounded by waters. 🙂

  • 22. niceheart  |  April 15, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Belle, the customs are stricter now, understandably so because of the terrorists. So you will definitely need a passport if and when you visit Canada. I’m also excited for Reggie, imagine, New York. Yun nga lang ang mahal nga lang ng bayad. But I’m sure it will be all worth it for him.

    Oh, you lucky you, ann. But I guess if you can afford it, why not ask for assistance. 🙂

  • 23. sexy mom  |  April 15, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    process maybe tough, but at least it was straightforward. congratulations, ang galing naman ni Reggie, and best of luck

    here in Phils., there are agencies which have improved a lot with their computerization. a good example is the statistics office. there are many others. on the other hand, a lot of offices need to improve.

  • 24. niceheart  |  April 15, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I didn’t think it was that tough, Girly. That is, until I read from the comments here how easy they got theirs. And yes, it seems that Canada has stricter rules than U.S.

    Same here, Vic. There are also application forms available at our drugstore and postal outlets here. And you’re right, the guarantor can be anybody from their list that have known you for at least two years.

  • 25. niceheart  |  April 15, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you, Toe. Yes, I’m sure Reggie will have the time of his life in New York. I still remember your stories about your stay there. 🙂

    Ferdz, I think this is only the beginning of Reggie’s many travels. 🙂 And yeah, who knows, you’ll probably land here in Canada anytime sooner or later. 🙂

  • 26. verns  |  April 15, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Niceheart.

    Glad that things went smoothly. Here in the Phil, like Rhodora said, things are simpler and faster.

    Anyway goodluck for Reggie 🙂

  • 27. Major Tom  |  April 15, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    That should be a reasonably smooth application process. In our country, that could be so cluttered and littered with delays. However, a friend from outside had told me that soon we can apply for passports online, just like there in Canada.

  • 28. tutubi  |  April 16, 2007 at 12:21 am

    ay ang galing

    hmmm….my passport has yet to receive a stamp for almost a year now 😦

  • 29. eric aka senor enrique  |  April 16, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Wow! Applying for A US passport is much simpler than that. I’m glad that Reggie is all ready for his NYC trip 🙂

  • 30. ipanema  |  April 16, 2007 at 5:24 am

    Oh my, a lot of requirements. I pray that they’ll have good procceds from their concert. Malaking kaltas din yun sa mga expenses ng mga bata.

    Good luck to Reggie! 🙂

  • 31. iskoo  |  April 16, 2007 at 9:17 am

    ang mahal din pala ng pagpapapassport dyan. dito 700 pesos, minsan mahirap kumuha minsan hindi. kapag complete naman sa papers madali lang dito sa atin at pwede na rin by courier.

    goodluck to reggie!

  • 32. bw  |  April 16, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Ottawa is 5 hours driving from Toronto but I don’t think they process passports in Ottawa. Renewals take only 1 day but brand new passports obviously take a little bit longer – now it is 20 days by mail and 10 days for a personal application.

    The recent proposal by the US that Canadians require a passport to enter the U.S. by land or by air as the result of their anti-terrorism WHTI – (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) rule has caused this abnormal and sudden influx of applications. Normally a birth certificate or Canadian citizenship card is enough to cross the border. I drive to Buffallo, NY to shop – it takes me 1.5 hours and I come back same day like I haven’t left the country. Now I have to carry the darn passport 😦 Funny is when I come back, the Canadian border immigration just asks me through my car window – where do you live ? and lets me in 🙂

  • 33. Leah  |  April 16, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Naku, mahirap talaga pumila ngayon for the PP. Good to know that you were able to get through it really well.

    And good luck in your next journey.

  • 34. Rach  |  April 17, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Glad you were able to secure your passports already. The process seemed very quick. Wishing you a great trip ahead. Take care!

  • 35. Gypsy  |  April 17, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Grabe, I so HATE having to do the paper chase for travel documents, whether it be for passport or for visas. I wish I could just tweak my nose like that Genie girl and voila! I don’t do well with details kasi…good to know Reggie was able to get his–I need someone like you to hold my hand through the whole paper chase nightmare!! 🙂

  • 36. haze  |  April 19, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Wow congratulations to Reggie ! I had mine when I was 29 yrs. old (damatands na ) ! It was easy when I did the processing of my french passport except for the “stamp” ! Had difficulties in finding that stamp, went to 3 shops and finally got it from the 4th shop, imagine the hirap para lang sa stamp na yon 😦 !

  • 37. niceheart  |  April 19, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you verns. Mabuti pa pala diyan. It’s a lot quicker and faster. I find it that here in Canada, they are quite strict with these kind of things.

    Major Tom, it would really be a lot easier to apply online. But actually, here in Canada, we could only print the application online but submission is still in person.

  • 38. niceheart  |  April 19, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    You must have travelled a lot, tutubi. My passport has expired many years ago.

    Eric, he is all ready and excited. 🙂

    I hope so too, ipanema. And thanks. 🙂

    Di hamak na mas mura nga diyan iskoo. And thank you din. 🙂

  • 39. niceheart  |  April 19, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    BW, you’re so close to NY pala. If I were that close, panay din siguro ang shopping ko duon. 🙂 I guess it won’t be that much of a hassle to carry a passport. It’s just a small document naman. 🙂

    Thank you Leah and Rach. I also have good wishes for Reggie and his band in New York. 🙂

  • 40. niceheart  |  April 19, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Gypsy, that is wishful thinking. 🙂 Well, you could always ask somebody to come with you when applying for documents. 🙂

    Haze, I was already 24 when I had my very first passport. 🙂 Ano ba yang stamp na yan at ang hirap kunin. 🙂

  • 41. John  |  June 9, 2007 at 12:17 am

    My Uncle got me a flight to join them in Italy for 10 days but it was last minute. Does anyone know if I will be able to get an urgent passport. I leave in 10 days.

  • 42. niceheart  |  June 9, 2007 at 6:47 am

    John, you can still apply for a passport. Just tell the passport office that it’s URGENT. You’ll have to pay extra money though. My nephew did this when he and my sister went to Phoenix, Arizona last week to attend a wedding there.

  • 43. Robert Rice  |  August 5, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Tried to apply for passport renewal on-line. Couldn’t gat access to web-site.

  • 44. tinyiko  |  December 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

    This information is highly valuable this time of the year as most of us are preparing for that holiday we have always wanted as to take of the stress out of our system. Nobody want to be caught without a passport when it is time to travel.


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