Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Passports in Canada

Recently the government of Canada decided to change the Application Form for a Canadian passport.  I have been in Canada for over 40 years and have not travelled outside the country except for one trip to the USA with my husband and the hockey team.  At that time, all I needed was my Canadian citizenship card to cross the border. 

Now due to 911, border crossings are a lot more complicated and a passport is required to enter the USA.  My husband and I have decided, now that we are older, we would like to travel more and see some of the good old USA. 

My husband who was born in Quebec city in the province of Quebec is a natural Canadian born of Canadian parents.  So to obtain a passport for him shouldnt be that complicated.  WRONG!  The fact that he was born in Quebec means that he has to obtain a new birth certificate as now they have expiry dates.  Hmmm, last time I checked he was a living human being and I never knew we had expiry dates.  Then he had to get a guarantor to sign a statement saying that my husband is who he states on the application, plus you have to have 2 other persons who will also sign an affidavit if required to state that you are who you say you are.  Then you have to get passport photos which are outrageous in price and trust me, if you look anything like your passport photo, then you really shouldn't be travelling.  Most passport photos look like you have died and come back for the third or fourth time.

I was born in England of English parents and this further complicates the passport process.  Not only is just my birth certificate good enough, I have to get the Registrar of Passports to sign a certification statement saying that this is my birth certificate.  Then the Registrar also has to sign another certification statement stating that my Canadian Citizenship certificate is the real "McCoy".  Then I still have to jump through all the other hoops that my husband did, plus I have to show proof that within my old passport I really did emigrate to Canada. 

On this note, I have to really wonder ... Is it worth going through all this trouble to get a Canadian passport when I hold dual citizenship?  Maybe just renewing my British passport would be a lot faster and easier in the long run.  It would certainly facilitate travelling in Europe and what type of issues am I going to encounter when entering the USA?

In conclusion, I would advise you to renew your passport as it comes due.  Do not try to renew it early as this sends up a red flag and opens Pandora's box as to why you need it early.   Do not let it expire or I will see you standing in the line with myself and everyone else who now has to get a new passport with all the extra documentation.

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