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Apply for / renew your Canadian passport faster by filling out the online form

First published on September 8, 2006

2010 update: Seems like there is no longer and expedited online process. All you can do is fill in a form to print, but it no longer gets you through faster.

Apparently, you can jump the queue at a Canadian passport office by having filled out Passport Canada’s online form first.

People showing up with confirmation of an online application are being served almost immediately when they go to the Passport office. No more waiting in those notoriously long line-ups — you know, the ones where you have to clear your entire morning or afternoon!

Note: What confused me at first was why I’d have to fill in a form as if I was applying for my first passport, even though I’d be technically renewing it. For those who don’t know, Canadian passports are “non-renewable”.

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36 Responses to “Apply for / renew your Canadian passport faster by filling out the online form”


  1. Sharon says:

    I know this is a very old posting but I am thankful for it. Although I am not planning to travel anytime soon, one never really knows what life has planned. I thought about sending my documents and application to Ottawa to get my passport but didn’t want to relinquish my birth certificate as I had also applied for a Nexus pass. I had ‘hand’ filled out my application but after reading your entry, I went online to do so. Having already had the information at hand, filling the application online only took a matter of minutes. I agree with you: I waited in line from 6:30am at the Surrey office today. I entered the office at 9:28am and was out by 9:35am because I had done this online thing. There were at least 30 people or more waiting for their passport application (the ones done by hand) when I had left. There were many perplexed looks as they saw me enter and exit so quickly. Highly recommend to all those obtaining passports: 1) do the online thing and print it up 2) make sure your photo is in accordance to their parameters–if not, you’ll be sent away to get them redone–I saw this today 3) get there early–it’s best to wait for 1.5-2 hours in the morning before they open versus 4 hours in the late morning or afternoon.
    Thanks again!
    Sharon


  2. Peter says:

    Awesome — thanks for the tips! Yeah, this post is getting old-ish, but the line-ups sure aren’t getting any shorter!


  3. Lorna says:

    This post may be getting old-ish but it’s still helping people. I found this post after I had hand filled out our applications and was trying to figure out the best way to send them off. I live in Central BC where there isn’t much for services, especially of the government kind.
    I did the online one and we drove down to Surrey. We stood in line maybe 20 minutes tops and when we were stamped and taken upstairs, I got a C ticket and gazed across the dozens and dozens of people already waiting, they had been there for hours already, both in the early lineups and now sitting waiting. One guy told me to sit, it would be a long time and I told him I wouldn’t be long C604 was being served and I was C605. He thought I was off my rocker. Sure enough, I was served within 5 minutes and on my way! Because I drove so far helped too, she said it knocks more time off because those in the GVRD have choices and we don’t. Basically, we were rewarded for doing the online pass and for the long drive. We spent the rest of the day in Granville Island shopping. :D Thank you.


  4. Sheyrl says:

    Excellent help! After I found the wait at our local Service Canada office would be until January I came home and did some online research, finding this blog. I redid my entire application using the epass and the online form, took the printed electronic application into the local Service Canada office to have it checked over (good thing – the photos had to be redone) and hopped in the car for the grueling drive to Surrey. I parked my car at the second hand store just before the passport building as I don’t know the city well anymore and did not wish to be a land shark, circling and circling for a parking spot. They were very kind to me and charged a very nominal sum for an all day parking spot. I signed in to park at 10:19 and was back – mission accomplished – at 11:23. Most of that time was spent in line outside the passport building. Inside, once I showed them my electronic form, I waited from C607 til C609, paid my moneys and went home. The commissionaires were princely, the passport staff were friendly and professional and I am so glad I found this blog before I went! BTW the ‘A’ line? There were 17 applications to be processed before my new friend-in-line would be able to have hers looked at.


  5. Sheryl says:

    Phooey, long day. My name is Sheryl, not Sheyrl!


  6. gains offor says:

    how can i obtain a canadian passport. how much will it cost me. am an african writing from africa.if that is not possible what about the permanent resident card. i have about 10 people who are also interested. please reply asap.

    gains


  7. Peter says:

    Hi gains,

    You should check out the website for Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/


  8. Rene says:

    In and out in 40 mins total this morning at the Sinclair Centre Passport Office (downtown Vancouver). Thanks for the advice to fill out the application online—I jumped to the front of the line. Some more helpful info:

    Make sure your guaranteur (sp?) signs your application and photos EXACTLY the same—they almost stopped mine because she had signed with first middle & last on the application but only first & last on the photo.

    Go early : this office opens at 7:30am. The passport officer told me to avoid mondays & fridays and a thursday before a long weekend.

    Good Luck !


  9. Anita says:

    Hi,

    I too took your advice and believe me, I got some VERY perplexed looks when I went to the passport office here in Ottawa. I walked in and was called within a matter of 2 minutes! Two minutes later, I was on my way out…no more than 5 mins at most! LOVE IT!

    Anyway, I am writing to ask a question for a friend of mine. She signed up for an e-pass so as to renew her existing passport online. But from what she's told me, you can only apply for a NEW passport online (with the barcode), it cannot be used to renew a passport that has not yet expired. Can anyone tell me if this is indeed the case?

    Thanks.


  10. Peter says:

    Hi Anita, glad to hear you had success! Sorry for the slow reply, but WordPress has been eating a lot of the comments on this site and I am only now discovering and "releasing" them. Anyway, to answer your question, I renewed my passport online, so there should be no problem there.


  11. Ryan says:

    were you all able to walk out of the office with a passport in hand?
    I’m thinking about going to Hawaii next week and I’m trying to figure out if I can get one overnight.
    I have the gauranter and all the ‘hand writin’ stuff done. I will do the online suggestion too.
    Thanks


  12. Peter says:

    Whether you do the application online or not, the normal processing time is over 5 weeks. You will probably have to pay a lot more to get the passport faster. (I’m not sure how much more.)


  13. Kevin says:

    Well, here is my experience today at the Surrey Passport Office…..

    I had originally filled out the by hand paperwork, and when I read reports that the application process is much much smoother, and far less delays by applying online with an e pass and then printing the application, and bringing it into the passport office, I re did my application, using the online method.

    I am very glad that I did……

    having heard nightmare stories in the past about hours and hours of waits, or waits to even get inside the Surrey office……..I was very very pleased that I went right inside the office, (everyone did….I arrived shortly after 10 am), and waited in the first line up for about 15 minutes.

    I was given a C number, and barely had time to take a seat when my number was called, and I my application was taken and processed.

    I was out of the office and on the way home at 10:45 am.

    An excellent service…especially after hearing of the nightmare line ups, i was prepared for the worst, but thankfully it was very efficient for sure. I strongly recommend to anyone to use the application process online, which gives you a barcode and simplies things from there a lot.

    You need to have an e pass is all. (getting one takes about 10 days if you don’t have one already)!!

    Kudos to the Passport Canada staff today for sure at Surrey office for a job well done!!!!!


  14. Maria K says:

    Is it true that once you get a passport you can’t travel in the first 6 months?? Someone told me this and I’m a little confused……please help!


  15. LG says:

    EPass rocks! I think that anyone who goes into the masses in the passport offices without it is crazy! I filled out the form online, this morning at 10 am I had my pictures taken at Walmart in Fort Erie, drove to the St. Cathatines office (about 30 km from Walmart), parked the car, went into the passport office, got a fast number with the orange button, sat down for less than five minutes and was up at a window being processed. I was at the Lewiston Queenston bridge (I live in Buffalo) by 11:09 (the bridge is about 20 km from the passport office) so in total, with driving 50 km, it took me a little over an hour to apply for a passport. Honestly, my time in the office was under 15 minutes. It was great!


  16. Jon says:

    There is such a thing as passport renewal. Please follow this link for more information:

    http://www.pptc.gc.ca/cdn/ren.aspx?lang=eng&region=Canada


  17. Tessa D says:

    My daughter-in-law (a Canadian citizen living in the UK) has just got married. Does she have to change her passport to show her married name and if so, any idea where and how?


  18. Peter says:

    Hi Tessa, that’s beyond my knowledge. Try poking around the Passport Canada site or contacting the government directly (even if that’s a scary thought).


  19. Kimberly says:

    Hoping someone has had some experience in being a Canadian citizen living in the US and obtaining their passport. I have my original which will expire in the next 4 months. ANyone with any tips?


  20. Peter says:

    Perhaps you could try applying by mail? Also, check out:

    http://www.pptc.gc.ca/cdn/ren.aspx?lang=eng&region=USA


  21. Larisa says:

    Hi Peter,

    Does the Epass form works throughout all Canada? I leave in Montreal and am wondering if it is as effective here as in BC?
    Thanks.


  22. Peter says:

    Hi Larisa, unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that. I guess you’ll have to try it out and post back :)


  23. Harry says:

    Is it true that the term of Canadian passports has been extended from the pathetic 5 years to 10 years? If so, starting when?

    And, I hope they won’t increase the application fee. Already, it is too high.


  24. R. Nadakanan says:

    Passport Canada is taking us for a ride BIGTIME! How can they justify the exorbitant price of almost $90 for a passport? They also refuse to renew one’s passport, instead forcing us to apply for a new one! Many other countries give you a 10-year term, renew your passport, and charge you less. Canada does none of these. I believe it is a big business where they ram a new passport down your throat every 5 years, like it or not! I suggest people start writing (no stamp needed) or calling your M.P’s. People CAN make a change if they give their politicians an earful.


  25. Renee says:

    Great info everyone, just wondering when I go with my online renewal application to the downtown office this week, is there a different line-up that I should be looking for when I get in there? It’s sounding like I can bypass the normal lines, which would be wonderful.
    Thanks in advance
    :)

    Reply from Peter: If I recall correctly, you’ll still have to stand in line, if there is one, to get into the office. However, once you get to the “take a number” part, you will be fast-tracked.


  26. Doris E. Bailey says:

    I am 88 years old……born in Canada …. 1921. I have my original birthcertificate. I have had many passports but the last one expired 1999. Is that any help in obtaining a renewal passport or do I have to stand in line? …. I am handicapped but can stand with cane or small walker, however, it will be an ordeal to go through the line up or can I fast track. anywhere, ….I now live in Surrey BC.

    Reply from Peter: I do not think you can go through the quicker renewal process. However, I would suggest contacting Passport Canada to find out the official word on your options: http://www.pptc.gc.ca/index.aspx?lang=eng


  27. Claire says:

    Hi guys,

    I’m just about to go renew my passport, and I qualify for the simplified renewal process, but i’d love to do it the way you guys are talking about with the online application..I found the application form link that is posted on the website ( http://www.ppt.gc.ca/form/pdfs/pptc054.pdf ), form PPTC 054…is this the form you guys are talking about? do i just fill it in on my computer and print it out? or do i need to get this E-pass thing you guys were talking about? I can’t seem to find anything about an E-pass on the website…if anyone can help me out with any info, that’d be great!! thanks

    Reply from Peter: Unfortunately I don’t know. However, your best option for a quick and reliable answer is probably to call Passport Canada and ask :)


  28. Lana says:

    Wow, great stuff.
    I just got married and have to file for a NEW passport.
    Despite mine only being 2 years old. This information is
    an oldie but a goodie !


  29. Rachelle says:

    Hi Claire,
    Were you able to obtain more information about your original question. I’m going through the same process.


  30. jjote says:

    Hello:

    I live in Ontario – seems like all the posts come from BC people.(just read this blog, since I’m looking for info on how to renew passport – Canadian citizen)

    Can this online thing be done here? Same website to get the forms?


  31. Syed says:

    Hi,

    Can anyone tell me if I can renew my passport two years ahead? Nothing has changed (like name, address).
    Thanks.


  32. know it all says:

    You can not apply on-line any more


  33. Galelio says:

    To avoid hassle in delaying your passport application process, take appropriate photographs with you. In downtown taking your passport photographs is a bit expensive but a photographer in the tunnel of Granville sky train station building in front of Tim Hortons and Liquor store 9one level down in front of The Bay has low price. Photographs can be made in 9.99 + Tax for two photographs within a few minutes.

    I think the name is Gallery7 and they has internet available where you can fill the online application forms while you are waiting.


  34. Lillian Grant says:

    hi – sorry to burst your bubble but I checked on this and you cannot apply online or jump an queues. The only thing the online form allows you to do is the populate the form with legible type vs. human scrawl. I verified this with the passport office today. You still either have to mail or submit in person and sign the forms including the 2 lovely photos and get in line with the rest of the rabble. Nice thought but not going to happen.


  35. Kyl says:

    In Calgary, get your pictures taken at Speedy Photo, only blocks away from Harry Hayes Building at 7th Avenue and 1St Street. There are still places that don’t rip you off – they are only $9 for two. Sweet!


  36. Susan says:

    I need the long version because its been over 1 year to can I still do it online. It says you need an appointment for 7 day fast track. have you heard of this.Susan

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