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Saturday,  May 18, 2024 7:53 PM 

5 easy ways to mess up your passport application

5 easy ways to mess up your passport application
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

Getting a passport is exciting.

It's basically your key to unlocking the world.

READ MORE: Your Canadian passport: 5-year or 10-year option?

But during the application process, it's important to take your time. 

Even the slightest mistake could render the application useless.

Here are five common mistakes Canadians make when filling out a passport application.

1) Writing in lowercase

Unless you feel like hurrying back to pick up multiple copies of a passport application, make sure you read carefully, and follow the instructions.

Passport application forms are free, but it would be super annoying to mail out a completed application, or physically go and bring it to the nearest passport office, only to learn you have to start all over.

First and foremost, you must complete the entire application in capital letters, using dark ink only. Filling it out in pencil, red pen, or that fancy gel pen you've still got lying around the house isn't going to cut it.

2) Choosing bad references

You're required to select two people to be your references when applying for a Canadian passport.

Essentially, these are your cheerleaders, the people vouching for you so you can get on that plane and get out there and explore the world!

Choose carefully. If the Canadian government comes calling, would they make you look good? Can they answer simple questions about you, and verify the information you put down on the application? If not, don't pick them.

As per passport requirements, these two persons can't be your relatives, they must be 18 years of age or older, and they have to have known you for at least two years or longer. 

3) The photo

We're not just talking about not smiling in your passport photo—everybody knows that's a big no-no.

And it's not the photo either (kudos to you if you're happy with that for five or 10 years).

Passport photo requirements have changed in Canada. As of May 9, 2015, passport photos will be valid for six months from the date they were taken. The former rule said they could be valid for 12 months (one year). For that reason, give yourself enough time to book a photo appointment.

New passports printed on or after May 9, 2015, will no longer have a pre-printed digital signature on page 2. Applicants must physically sign page 3 in the passport book when they receive it.

According to the Government of Canada, this change has no effect on the security or integrity of the passport. Previous versions of the passport book, which include the signature, remain valid.

Also, make sure the place you plan on having a passport photo taken is legitimate. Yes, some places charge more, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Passport photos should be a 70mm (frame height) by 50 mm (frame width), with a max. face height of 36mm. Also, your guarantor still has to sign one copy—more on that, next!

4) Going with the wrong guarantor

The guarantor on your passport is essentially your travel godmother.

And, here's where the lines between "guarantor" and "reference" start to blur a little: your guarantor can be a family member or anyone living at your address, as long as they meet the guarantor requirements.

Guarantor requirements include completing and signing the “Declaration of Guarantor” section of your application; writing “I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant name)” on the back of one of your passport photos and signing it; and signing and dating your photocopies of each document you have submitted to confirm your identity (if it applies to you).

If you're applying for a regular Canadian passport (the blue one almost everybody has), your guarantor has to have known you for two years or longer, must be over the age of 18, must be a Canadian citizen, hold a valid passport on the day you submit your own application, and have been 16 years of age or older when applying for their own passport. Did you get all that? Good!

5) Skipping sections

Some sections of your Canadian passport application won't apply to you. But, it's important you don't leave them blank. Any section left blank will be flagged as an incomplete passport application, resulting in your passport application being rejected or sent back, which could jeopardize your travel plans.

If a specific section doesn't apply to you, simply write "N/A", and move on to the next.

For more information on how to successfully complete your Canadian passport application, click here.

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