BlogAnother COVID-19 Casualty – Passport Renewals

20 July 2022

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As the pandemic slowly winds down and life aims to resume to normalcy, there are lingering reminders of its ongoing effect and one of the most noticeable recent consequences are the world-wide delays of passport renewals. There are news reports from around the globe lamenting the delays in passport issuance not only from Canada but from many leading economic nations including the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia. While the lack of a passport clearly limits the ability to travel internationally, it also has considerable significance in the Canadian immigration realm.

Passports are a key ingredient to the immigration process. The validity of your passport determines the length of your status in Canada as a worker or student and can also affect such things as medical coverage or being issued a driver’s licence. Having a valid passport is essential to being granted permanent residence – without a valid passport you will not have your permanent residence visa issued and, in some cases, you run the risk of your application being refused!

Pre-Covid, renewing a passport was not that challenging. Many countries offered expedited processing albeit for an additional fee. The pandemic saw a closure of most government offices world-wide such that walk-in passport applications were suspended. Mail in passport applications were still accepted but with a reduced workforce, processing took longer. As international borders were generally closed and people were reluctant to travel in general, passport issuance was not a hot topic and demand was low.

Fast-forward to 2022 with people anxious to resume the life they knew pre-pandemic and with border restrictions lifted, the world has resumed its desire to travel internationally. This has put pressure on passport offices world wide resulting in significant delays:

“Timeline unclear as to when passport days could be resolved: Minister” – CTV National News, June 13, 2022

“Another pain point in a summer of travel woes: Getting a passport” – The New York Times, July 16, 2022

“UK passport delays: ‘We drove 377 miles to join the queue in Glasgow’”– The Guardian, July 9, 2022

“Why are French passport and ID card applications taking so long?”– The Connexion, March 26, 2022

“Queue frozen at Sydney passport office as wait times show no sign of improvement”– Australia News, June 28, 2022

What does this mean for the Canadian immigration applicant? Here are some tips:

BE AWARE: Be aware of your passport validity. Diarize the expiration date in several places so you won’t forget.

APPLY EARLY: Apply to renew your passport at least six months before it expires. The additional cost is minimal to the stress of not being able to renew and the corresponding effect on your Canadian immigration application.

CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES: Consider the other services connected to your passport and/or status in Canada – such as your driver’s licence – and aim to renew this while you still have considerable status remaining.

BE PREPARED: Leaving things to the last minute, no matter what the reason, is almost always a recipe for disaster. Renewing your passport is no exception.

A valid passport is an integral part of the Canadian immigration process. It determines the length of your legally authorized time in Canada as well as any other application process you are seeking to pursue, including permanent residence. Renewing a passport is a manageable task. Avoid unnecessary delays and disappointments and maintain a valid passport at all times and for as long a time period as possible

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Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre LLP

A partnership between Catherine Sas Law Corporation and Victor Ing Law Corporation

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About the Author