Family holidays can be wonderful fun for mom and dad and kids of all ages. If your family holiday plans include international travel, though, remember that each and every member of the family must have their own passport or travel document regardless of their age. Even infants and babies need their own passports. Passports for minors under the age of 16 (sixteen) are only valid for 5 (five) years, so they have to be renewed regularly. This article will explain how to renew your child’s passport in Canada.
In this article:
- Renewing your child’s passport in Canada
- Renewing a passport with a visa
- Canadian passport photo standards
- The reverse side of your passport photos
Renewing your child’s passport in Canada
The process for getting a passport for a child is the same if it is their first passport, second, third, or more. Listed here are the six basic steps.
- First, complete the 9-page Child General Passport Application application form. The form should be signed by both parents or legal guardians.
- Next, gather all necessary documents. This means proof of identity and proof of citizenship; a Canadian birth certificate will satisfy both requirements. If this is not the child’s first passport, then the old passport which you are renewing also needs to be submitted so it can be canceled or destroyed. If your child was adopted from another country, you will need proof of parentage or proof of legal guardianship, such as an adoption decree and a name change certificate.
- Get your child’s new passport photos taken and printed. This can be done at many drugstores and retail stores such as London Drugs. You can also use an online photo editor like Passport Photo Online if you prefer to take your own passport photos.
- Find a guarantor. All minors are required to have a guarantor sign for them, both on the application and on the back of their passport photo. The guarantor may be a family member who has known the parents for at least 2 (two) years, and must have knowledge of the child.
- Submit the application and pay the fee. Ship the application by certified courier or traceable mail service to: Government of Canada, Passport Program, 22 de Varennes Street, Gatineau, Quebec J8T 8R1. If you prefer to apply in person, you will need an appointment: complete the online Service Canada form.
- Finally, you will receive your child’s passport. If you applied by mail, the new passport will be mailed to you (your supporting documents may be mailed separately). If you applied in person, the pickup date will be printed on your receipt.
Pretty straightforward, right? Of course, there can be complications! Keep reading for more details.
Renewing a passport with a visa
It is important to remember that if your child’s current passport has a valid visa in it, you must be sure to tick the box on the application form that you want the original passport canceled and returned to you. If you don’t tick this box, the passport will be securely destroyed and you will need to reapply for a new visa.
Passport nearing its expiry date? Get ahead of the game and up to speed by reading:
Canadian passport photo standards
You need to submit 2 (two) recent passport-style photos with each passport application. A passport-style photograph is simply a full-face view of the head and shoulders. The photos must measure exactly 50 mm wide by 70 mm high, with the image of the face anywhere between 31 mm-36 mm high. The pictures can be in colour or in black & white.
When crossing an international border, passport photos are scanned by machine to verify identity. It is therefore very important that the photograph resembles the passport holder as much as possible! Be sure to comb the hair out of your child’s eyes, so that their face is fully visible. The child’s eyes need to be open and looking at the camera, although exceptions can be made in the cases of newborn babies.
Hats and other headgear are not permitted (unless worn every day for religious or medical reasons). If your child wears eyeglasses, make sure their glasses don’t have any glare on the lenses. Sunglasses are not allowed at all.
The reverse side of your passport photos
Just as important as the image on the front of your photo is what is written on the back. First, the photographer must sign and date the photo, and write the address of their photo studio. Most commercial studios and drugstores have a rubber stamp for this purpose.
Second, the child’s guarantor must also sign and date the photo, along with the notation, “I certify this to be a true likeness of (child’s name). I have known the applicant (meaning the parent) for (number of) years. Signed at (location).”
Passport Photo Online
If you have a large family with several kids all needing passports, you may be looking for an alternative to taking everyone into the drugstore. You might also be interested in saving over 25% in the cost of passport photos! Passport Photo Online can help with both of these by making it easy to take passport photos at home.
Passport Photo Online is an online photo editor that turns your pictures into perfect passport photos. Upload your images into the Passport Photo Online app and in a matter of seconds they are converted into passport-compliant biometric photos that are emailed to you as JPG files. Get these pictures printed as 4 x 6 photographs and use them for your family’s passport applications.
Now, take a look at some of the most common questions people ask.
Children’s passport renewal in Canada: FAQ
Do babies need passports in Canada?
Yes. All Canadian children, from newborns to age 16 (sixteen) require a passport for international travel. All children regardless of age should carry a valid passport when they are travelling or living abroad.
How much to renew a child’s passport in Canada?
$57 CAD ($100 CAD if applying from the USA).
Can I pay the fee online?
Yes, you can pay online for all your passport services before you submit your application. Be sure to print your receipt.
Can I renew my child’s Canadian passport online?
No, online applications are not done in Canada. You can either mail in your forms or present them in person.
Does it take long to get a child passport in Canada?
Allow at least 20 (twenty) business days for processing. The processing time for a passport for children and newborns is the same as for adults, but due to COVID-19 many offices are behind schedule.
What is the cost for renewing a Canadian passport?
For children, the Canadian government fee for a 5-year validity passport is $57 CAD. A 5-year validity passport for adults is $120; for the 10-year passport, $160. Both new passports and renewed passports cost the same.
Do I need a guarantor to renew my child’s passport?
Yes. All non-simplified passport applications require a guarantor who has known the applicant personally for at least 2 (two) years. If the passport application is for a child, the guarantor must have known the applicant’s parent(s) for at least 2 (two) years.
What are the qualifications to be a guarantor for a passport?
The guarantor has to be a Canadian citizen at least 18 (eighteen) years of age, who holds a valid Canadian passport (or one that is expired less than one year) which they acquired as an adult. They can be a family member, but not the parent who is applying for the minor’s passport.
Can one parent or guardian apply for a child’s Canada passport alone?
Yes, a single parent with legal custody of a child may apply for that child’s passport, although both parents should sign the application form if possible.
How do I get a passport if one parent is absent or unavailable?
The passport rules have now been changed to allow single parents to apply for passports for their children. The passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of one parent or legal guardian and not both.
When should I renew my child’s passport in Canada?
Do not wait until it expires. Begin the renewal process 6 (six) to 9 (nine) months before the current passport reached its expiry date.
Do I need to update my child passport photo every year?
No. Children’s passports last 5 (five) years, even if the child doesn’t really look like their passport photo anymore. You are not required to update the photos until renewal time, although some parents opt to do so.
Do I need a new passport photo in order to renew my passport?
Yes. You must get a new passport photo when you get a new passport, even if your appearance has not changed significantly. Your photo has to have been taken within the last 6 (six) months.
Can cousins be references for a passport?
Yes. Your aunt, uncle or cousin may be a reference for your passport application as long as they meet the requirements.
Does Passport Canada call your references?
Generally no, but in some cases they will call. For an urgent (next day) passport replacement, they are more likely to call your references.
Should I sign my children’s passports for them?
No. In fact, a parent’s or legal guardian’s signature makes the document invalid.
Are babies born in Canada automatically citizens?
All babies born on Canadian soil are automatically granted Canadian citizenship (except for children of foreign diplomats, of course).
Can I submit my documents in French?
Yes, you can submit your documents in either French or English. Documents submitted in any other language must come with an official translation.
Child’s Canadian passport: a summary
Your child needs to have a passport if you want them to be able to travel internationally. This passport has to be renewed or replaced at least every 5 (five) years. The cost is $57 CAD and can be paid by credit or debit card, or by bank draft; personal cheques are not accepted. Applications are done best via the post, but you may also apply in person. Online applications are not available. Your child will need a guarantor to sign the application and to sign the back of the passport photo.
The passport photo must meet official government standards for a biometric photograph. If you need help with your photographs, use Passport Photo online and select “Canadian Passport” from the menu of options; the user-friendly app will simplify the process for you. If you choose to submit your own photos, you as the photographer will need to sign and date the prints yourself, along with your home (or office) address.
Bryan is a writer and filmmaker originally from Texas who has sailed around the world. Thanks to his experience in the cruise industry and customer service, he understands what customers feel and needs, and as a result of numerous travels he has specialized in passport photography. Bryan is the author of FOG WATCH published on Amazon.