When completing a standard passport application, Canadians have several options.
You can mail your passport application, apply for a passport in person at any of the official passport offices, or in person at a Service Canada receiving agent. In most cases, you should be prepared to wait: by mail takes 20 business days, in person at the passport office takes 10 business days, and in person at a Service Canada kiosk also takes 20 business days.
So, what do you do if last-minute travel plans come up, and you need a passport the next day?
Urgent and express services
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada has an option in place for Canadian travellers who are tight on time.
Canadians who need a passport fast, and don't have three-to-four weeks to sit around and wait can apply for urgent and express services in person. However, these services aren't available at all locations so it's always a good idea to phone ahead of time and double-check. Urgent and express services require valid photo I.D., such as a driver's license, or an existing passport.
Depending on the level of service you ask for, your passport will be processed in a much faster than the standard application process:
- urgent pick-up: by the end of the next business day
- express pick-up: 2 to 9 business days
Is it worth it?
For urgent or express service, you will need to pay an additional service fee along with the regular passport fee. These include:
- urgent pick-up
- fee: CAN$110
- processing time: by the end of the next business day
- express pick-up
- fee: CAN$50
- processing time: within 2-9 business days
It's important to keep in mind that a regular 10-year passport option costs $160 and the five-year option costs $120. So, if you're looking to have your passport sent to you by the end of the next business day (urgent services), and you go with the 10-year option, you're looking at $270!
There are a number of scenarios that could require someone to apply for express or urgent passport services. The most common, however, is when an individual forgets that their passport is near expiration, and thus rendered useless for that upcoming trip. As a general rule, most countries will not accept travellers whose passports expire within six months of their date of travel.
Always keep an eye on your passport's expiration date, and make an appointment, or pick up an application to fill out if you know you're going somewhere in the near future. That way, these extra costs can be avoided!