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Frequently Asked Questions About Canadian Passports

Canadian Citizenship

Canadian passports are considered useful documents because they are proof of citizenship in Canada and carry with them the protection of the Canadian government when abroad.

Below are some commonly asked questions about Canadian passports.

Am I eligible for a Canadian Passport?

Only citizens of Canada are eligible for a Canadian passport. People become citizens in one of a few different ways:

  • Through naturalization, which is when an immigrant applies for citizenship
  • Through birth location. People who have been born into Canada automatically become citizens
  • Through parental status. People who are born to at least one Canadian citizen qualify for citizenship themselves

Citizens usually need to submit proof of their status when applying for a Canadian Passport.

What is an ePassport?

Canada started using new technology with their passports in 2013. Now, all Canadian passports are ePassports.

The difference between these new passports and the more traditional ones is that ePassports have electronic chips in them that can be scanned. Upon being scanned by an agent at the border, they will have instantaneous electronic access to all of the passport holder’s information.

This technology protects one’s personal information by locking the information onto the chip so that it cannot be changed electronically. Even if a fraudster were to change the printed information on the passport, they would not be able to change the data on the chip. Immigration officials would be able to catch fraudsters by comparing the information on the chip to the written information in the passport.

This system is used by most countries in the world and really has little effect on the validity of the passport. It is simply a security feature in the same vein as a watermark.

What should Passport Photos look like?

Passport photos must meet very strict specifications such as:

  • Background color
  • Shadows
  • Dimensions of the photo
  • The photograph’s subject’s face cannot be obscured by anything like glasses or head-wear. An exception to this rule is if the headwear is religious in nature and does not cover the entire face.

Because of these specifications, many people choose to use professional, commercial photographers to make sure that their passport photos are accepted. However, it is not necessary to use a professional photographer. Applicants who wish to create their own passport photos are encouraged to read the specifications closely.

Passport photographs can be in color or in black and white. Filter effects are not allowed, though.

When do Passports expire?

Passports, like many other immigration documents, will eventually expire. Just because they expire, that does not mean that one’s status changes at all. Even without a valid passport, a Canadian citizen remains a Canadian citizen.

The length of time it takes for the passport to expire depends on the type of passport one might hold.

There are five-year passports and ten-year passports. Ten year passports are somewhat more expensive than the five-year variety.

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