Canadian passport

A Canadian passport gives you visa-free access to 185 countries
Canada has tied for an eighth place alongside Australia, Greece, Malta and the Czech Republic according to the most recent Global Passport Ranking report by Henley & Partners, a global immigration consultancy. The firm ranks passports on the number of other countries a citizen may enter without having to obtain any kind of visa.

The report states that Canadian passport holders can enter 185 countries without a visa. The firm ranked Japanese passports as the number one passport in the world, able to enter 193 countries. Singapore and South Korea tied for second place at 192. The lowest ranking passport on the report was Afghanistan, which allows visa-free entry to only 27 countries.

Canadian passports make a difference when traveling

Once you have a passport, you may leave and enter Canada without any restrictions, permits, or visas. However, Canada only issues passports to citizens. Permanent residents, and those on temporary status, are not eligible for a passport.

Getting a Canadian passport does not necessarily mean you need to give up your current passport. Canada allows you to hold more than one passport as a dual citizen so if your home country also allows more than one passport, you are able to keep as many passports as you are eligible for.

Become a citizen

To get a Canadian passport, you must be a Canadian citizen. There are several steps you must take to get citizenship.

  • Be a permanent resident
  • Meet Canada’s physical presence requirements
  • File your taxes, if necessary
  • Pass a Canadian citizenship test
  • Prove your language skills

Regardless of how you obtained permanent resident status, you must be able to prove that you spent the equivalent of three out of the past five years physically in Canada, this works out to 1,095 days. So in essence, it takes a minimum of three years to become a Canadian citizen.

How to apply for a passport

Once you have citizenship, you must wait until after the citizenship ceremony and you have your certificate to be eligible to apply. Every Canadian is entitled to apply and it is extremely rare to be deemed not eligible. This can only happen if your citizenship is revoked due to factors such as misrepresentation on your application or concerns related to security, human or international rights violations, or organized crime.

Applying for a Canadian passport is straightforward if you have all the necessary documents. Your citizenship certificate is one of the most important documents and you must include the original copy with your application. Even natural-born Canadians need to submit a birth certificate as proof of citizenship.

In addition to your application form, you must Include the following documents:

  • proof of Canadian citizenship
  • any valid Canadian passport or another travel document (refugee travel document or certificate of identity) issued to you
  • a document to support your identity
  • two identical passport photos

Canada’s government allows you to either mail in your documents or bring them to a passport office for processing.

Processing time

There is currently a high demand for new passports and passport renewals from Canadians. This is because pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifting around the world, and it is now possible to go on holiday or reconnect with family and friends abroad.

The government of Canada has recently created a tool to track processing times, which currently says it can take between two to 13 weeks to process an application, plus mailing time for those who decide to mail it in. Therefore, it is important to start the application process early if you are planning to travel outside of Canada in the future.

Other advantages

Over 80% of permanent residents in Canada choose to become citizens and there are several benefits to becoming a citizen and obtaining a passport.

Once you have a passport, you are already a citizen and entitled to all the rights and freedoms as every other Canadian. For example, you can vote in elections and you will also discover that it is easier to find employment as there are jobs in Canada that are not available for permanent residents.

Possibly one of the biggest advantages to becoming a citizen is that you no longer need to renew your status on a regular basis. Those who choose to stay in Canada as permanent residents must renew their status with IRCC every five years. This means no more fees or having to submit applications or asking for extensions with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

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