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Monday,  May 20, 2024 9:36 PM 

Ottawa simplifies passport renewal process amid high demand

Ottawa simplifies passport renewal process amid high demand
The Government of Canada has updated its passport renewal process. (File photo)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Passport renewal, during a global pandemic, can be a frustrating task – especially as COVID-19 restrictions lift and more Canadians get excited about travelling abroad once again.

Recognizing a need to improve the process amid high demand, the Government of Canada, on Thursday (March 31), unveiled updates to its passport renewal requirements, simplifying them “to better respond to the changing needs of Canadians.”

Effective immediately, Canadians in Canada and abroad can now renew an expired passport as long as it was issued within the last 15 years.

The updated rule also applies to individuals who had their passport lost, stolen or damaged, the government outlined in a news release.

(Previously, the simplified renewal process wasn't available for passports expired longer than a year or those that were lost, stolen or damaged).

READ MORE: The world’s most powerful passports in 2022. Where Canada stands.

The update also means applicants don't need to have a guarantor or to provide their original documents, such as proof of citizenship or photo identification.

They just need two photos, two references, their completed form and the applicable fees, Ottawa said.

“These changes make renewing a passport easier, while maintaining the highest level of program integrity,” the government said.

With the easing of measures at the Canadian border, the demand for passports — both new and renewals — "has started to increase and is returning to pre-pandemic levels,” officials noted.

As such, the federal government recommends Canadians “apply early and not finalize any travel plans until they have received their new passport.”

“Thanks to the simplified process, Canadians without imminent travel plans do not need to rush to renew an expired or soon-to-expire passport,” the government said.

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, noted the importance of modernizing Canadian passport services.

“Simplifying the renewal process will make it easier and faster for Canadians to get their passport, and is another step toward greater modernization while prioritizing the health and safety of Canadians and our employees,” Minister Fraser said in a statement.

Adults who apply for a passport for the first time must still complete the general application form here.

This latest expansion supports the "tell us once" approach to providing personal information to the Government of Canada.

Pre-arrival testing ends for fully vaxxed

The news was shared as Canada's border testing requirements comes to an end for those who have had a full series of COVID-19 shots. 

Starting Friday (April 1), fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada will no longer be subject to pre-entry COVID-19 testing, a measure that was first introduced last year. 

Randomized on-arrival testing (without having to quarantine while awaiting results) will remain in effect, however, in order to track new COVID-19 variants. 

Unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated travellers will continue to receive a PCR test on arrival, and again on day eight, while they quarantine for 14 days.

All travellers are still required to complete ArriveCAN online or through the app before entry to Canada.

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