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Suzanne Korf: Renewing a passport can cause you all sorts of headaches

 

The days are slowly getting longer, but it still gets dark way too early. With the cold of winter settling in my bones, I started thinking of white sandy beaches and sparkling blue water, long sunny days and warm nights.

The first order of business was renewing my passport, which was to expire in February. To my surprise, I learned that expiry dates are not all equal, depending on your destination. Some countries require your passport to be valid for six months before the expiry date.

As we renew our passport only every five years, it is easy to forget the renewal procedure. Different passport service locations do not offer the same services. For example, urgent pickup (24 hours), express pickup (2-9 days) and standard pickup (10 days) are not available at Canada Post and Service Canada receiving agents or at the Pointe-Claire Passport Canada office. Forms and information are readily available on the Passport Canada website.

What is not on the website is the surprising information that as soon as you apply for a passport, your existing passport is no longer valid.

I went to the Fairview Pointe-Claire passport office during the holidays and found out that as soon as I handed my passport renewal in, my existing passport was invalid. That meant that I was not able to travel to Vermont for a planned ski trip.

I considered submitting my application after my ski trip, but was afraid that I might not get my new passport back in time for a business trip in late January.

An option was to pay an additional $70 for urgent pickup, but I would have had to go to a different Passport Canada office and found the price a little steep.

Under the new fees coming into effect July, urgent pickup will cost $110 for one day and $335 for same day, out of regular hours of service.

e As a cost-recovery organization, Passport Canada must generate enough revenues from fees charged for passports and other travel documents to pay for its expenditures.

Could it be that this is just a money grab? How do people who travel regularly for business renew quickly without paying additional fees?

Without a passport and unable to cross the border for two weeks, I felt somehow deprived of a freedom that I have taken for granted.

Turns out this feeling is not unreasonable.

According to Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the right of citizens to leave and enter the country is a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution of Canada. Hmmm.

My driver’s licence can be renewed without my having to park my car for two weeks, so why is a passport, which is still valid (and which has been paid for until the expiry date) deemed invalid during the renewal process?

Travellers: caveo cavi cautum! Renewing your passport takes some planning.

Suzanne Korf is a professional fundraiser who has worked for non-profit organizations for more than 25 years. She is a director of development for The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is a mother of two and a resident of Pointe-Claire since 1991.

 

 

5 comments

  1. Frequent traveller to VT or NY? For $50, you can sign up for a NEXUS pass allowing entry to the US without a passport. It’s good for 5 years and you get to use the exclusive speed lane entering the US and returning back to Canada. I have it and love it plus it takes care of the absence of a valid passport while being renewed. No need for expedite fees to boot!!

  2. By Laurette Bilodeau

    In regard to your article anout renewing a passport, I agree for the cost one should be able to use it till it expires, also a list of countries that require a “current” passport would be helpfull. I also have to renew this year and am annoyed that I will have to do it before the new 10 yr rule comes into place( July ) and in essence will pay more over 10 yrs. The other factor that has come to light in recent articles is that approximately 55 000 passports are lost or stolen a year ( crinimals) are happy, people are careless but the worse part is the article had said taht these get replaced free of charge. Go Figure.The government is an idiot for accepting this.

  3. Pingback: Suzanne Korf: Renewing a passport can cause you all sorts of headaches | Visa Service

  4. By Ian Pullen

    -NEXUS as has already been mentioned.
    -An enhanced Quebec Drivers License for driving into the US.

    I’m sorry but I find this article a little self serving and if this is the sum of your problems, we should all be so lucky.

    A little planning goes a long way!

  5. By Sergio Valachio

    “The other factor that has come to light in recent articles is that approximately 55 000 passports are lost or stolen a year ( crinimals) are happy, people are careless but the worse part is the article had said taht these get replaced free of charge. Go Figure.The government is an idiot for accepting this.”
    The Government would be “an idiot” for accepting this if it were, in fact, true. It’s not. The cost of replacing a lost or stolen passport is the same as if you were applying for a new one. Turns out the article, and you, are the idiots.

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