Canadian Law At-a-Glance: Passports for Kids
With winter break right around the corner, it’s a good time to touch on the requirements for obtaining or renewing your child’s valid Passport. Here is what you need to know:
Does My Kid Need a Passport?
The short answer: Yes.
All Canadian children – from newborn on upward – require their own Passport in order to travel. Any Passport issued for your child is valid only for a maximum of 5 years, at which time it expires and must be renewed.
Who Can Apply?
If your child is under the age of 16:
• The Passport application must be submitted by at least one of the child’s parents (or legal guardian, in which case proof of legal guardianship must be provided).
• Ideally, however, you and the other parent should both sign the application, because the Passport Program may contact the other parent in any case.
• If you are separated or divorced from the child’s other parent, then the parent who has custody of the child is the one eligible to apply. In that case, you must provide copies of any separation agreements or relevant court orders to the Passport Program.
If your child is aged 16 or over, then he or she must submit their own Passport application, since for these purposes they are considered an adult.
Along with the filled-out application form, you must also provide a photo which will appear in your child’s Passport.
Under the current requirements, the photo must have been taken in the last 6 months, must be taken in person by a commercial photographer, and must otherwise conform to certain specifications set out by the Government of Canada’s Passport Program. If the photo does not comply, your child’s Passport application will be rejected.
Fees and Process
When you submit your child’s Passport application form, you must also include payment of a fee, which is currently set at CAN$57. There are additional fees for “express” or “urgent” processing (and note that those are two different things), which expedited service must be requested in-person at a Passport Office that offers them.
Processing times will vary according to where and how the application is submitted (i.e. in person, or by mail) and range from between 10 and 20 business days.