How to Get a Canadian Passport While Living in the USA

Good news, Canadians: Whether you're seeking your very first passport or renewing an expired or soon-to-be-expired one, it's easy to do while visiting your neighbor to the south. However, unlike the consulates of many other nations, Canadian consulates in the United States don't provide passport services, so you'll be applying via international mail. Sure, it's a slight increase in postage, and you have to write a little more on the envelope, but all in all, it's not much harder.

Application forms should be your first option for starting to receive your passport, as well as getting in contact with the U.S. Embassy, to talk through U.S. citizenship and Canadian citizenship. You may need to have necessary documents to get your passport and prove dual citizenship to get your citizenship certificate or valid Canadian passport. Proof of Canadian citizenship is essential to the process of getting a passport Canada. could also be helpful in this process.

Application processes and application fees will be available for you to complete and pay in this stage of getting your adult passport. You may also need to list your family members or U.S. citizens you are in emergency contact with for more references to your situation, as they could be permanent residents helping you.

Fill Out an Application

Head over to the government of Canada's web page for applying for a passport or the page for renewing a passport, whichever you need. These pages have links to new passport applications or the Adult Simplified Renewal Passport Application, respectively. Fill out the applications online and print, or you can print them first and complete them by hand. Be sure to sign each page. Note that first-time applicants must have a guarantor who fills in some information and vouches for them. Applicants also must provide two non-related references who've known them for at least two years, and the guarantor can't be one of them.

Passport Photos

An original or renewal application must be accompanied by two identical, unaltered, original passport photos printed on high-quality photo paper. Some Canadian requirements differ from those for American passport photos, so don't just order the usual from a U.S. passport photo provider. Canadian passport photos must be less than six months old and taken by a commercial photographer, be clear and in focus, have a white or pale background, show your shoulders and full head straight on with a neutral expression. You cannot wear a head covering unless worn for religious reasons, and it can't obscure any facial features. You can wear eyeglasses, but they cannot have a glare or tint. The photos must measure 2 inches wide by 2 3/4 inches long, with your full head measuring between 1 1/4 to 1 7/16 inches, and depict your natural skin tone. On the back of one photo, the photographer should write her name or the studio name, full address and date the picture was taken. The guarantor must also sign a declaration on the back of the photo that the picture is of you.

Gather the Other Required Documents

For a new passport, you need to prove your Canadian citizenship with an original short- or long-form birth certificate or a certificate of citizenship, naturalization, registration of birth abroad or retention of Canadian citizenship. Any of these – other than the birth certificate – must be issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Also include an official proof of identification, such as a driver's license, military ID, or government ID. If you're applying for a renewal, submit your previous Canadian passport, which covers these requirements.

If you've changed your name or sex designation or need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, you must send in supporting documentation. For the latter, this includes a declaration form you can download from the Canadian government's web page that covers lost, stolen, inaccessible, damaged or found passports.

Any Canadian citizen who's at least 16 years old may apply on their own for a passport or a renewal. Parents applying for a child must submit official identification and proof of parentage or legal guardianship along with the other required documents.

Payment and Application Submission

Fees vary depending on whether you're applying for a five-year or 10-year passport, a child's passport or ordering a replacement passport. Current fee information is available from the Canadian government's web page regarding paying fees for a Canadian passport, travel document or other services. Fees may be paid by Visa, MasterCard or American Express; there's a place to enter your credit card information on the passport application. Or, pay with a certified check or money order issued by the U.S. Postal Service or a bank, payable to Receiver General of Canada.

Mail the passport application and all supporting documents to Government of Canada, Passport Program, Gatineau QC K1A 0G3, Canada. Since you're enclosing important original documents, it's a good idea to set up tracking on your envelope. If you use a certified courier, there's a different address for that: Government of Canada, Passport Program, 22 de Varennes St., Gatineau QC J8T 8R1, Canada.

Passport Renewal Eligibility

To renew a Canadian passport, you must have previously obtained a five-year or 10-year Canadian passport, which is still in good shape and available to submit with your application. The passport must have never been reported missing, stolen or damaged, and it can't be expired for more than one year. Also, the passport must have been issued when you were at least 16 years old, and your new passport must show the same name, sex, date of birth and place of birth as the prior one.