Fear not: If you need a passport renewal in a hurry, you aren’t completely out of luck. The wrinkle is that it has to be done in person and not every passport office can help. To find the offices that offer rush service, check on the government’s Immigration and Citizenship website.
Before you head over, make sure you have everything you need with you. That means all documents and items that would be required for a general passport renewal, as well as proof of travel that makes urgent processing necessary.
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada spokesperson Asim Zaidan, that proof might include an airline, bus or train ticket, a travel itinerary showing proof of payment or a written statement, if travelling by car (validation of the statement is at the passport officer’s discretion). You can also expect to pay a rush fee (up to an additional $110) on top of the set fee ($57 for a child under the age of 16; $120 for a 5-year and $160 for a 10-year adult passport).
If you’re abroad when you realize the expiration issue, Zaidan says the government can still help you sort things out. “If a passport expires while a Canadian is travelling, they should contact the nearest Government of Canada Office abroad to apply for a new one. The Passport Program recommends that this be done urgently to ensure Canadians do not experience difficulties while travelling and are meeting the requirements of their destination countries.”
Obviously it’s best to avoid such a situation to begin with. A key thing to remember: Your passport doesn’t just need to be valid on your way out of the country.
“Check the expiry date on page two of the passport before planning a trip,” Zaidan advises. “Many countries require that the passport be valid for several months after the date of departure. Each country sets its own rules, so Canadians should consult the Travel Advice and Advisories at travel.gc.ca/advice to confirm the requirements of each of the destination countries.”
Don’t forget to check on your kids’ passports too. While adults have the option of a 10-year book, kids don’t, so even if your passport is still valid, theirs could be expiring.
Finally, if your passport hasn’t yet expired, but you’re concerned about the number of pages in it or expect it will expire before your return, you should make an effort to renew it.
“Generally, a new passport may be issued to replace a valid passport that will expire within 12 months or less,” Zaidan explains. “If an applicant applies for a new passport while the passport they currently hold has more than 12-months validity remaining, a new passport may be issued as long as all the usual requirements are met and the reason for early application is valid.”