So when I found out about new changes to the Canadian passport system and requirements, I felt it my duty to write something up. This time I have the luxury of time to get my passport sorted, but it’s still going to be a massive pain in the butt with the new changes. So what has changed…
All dual citizens MUST use a Canadian passport if they want to travel to Canada or else they will be denied entry. This means that my 4 year old son who has Canadian citizenship, but who only has an Australian passport MUST get a Canadian passport before our trip to Canada in a couple months.
Now that’s… well… weird. But OK. So I’ll just apply for a passport for him. Easy right? No. Canadian passports are ridiculously hard to obtain when compared to Australian ones. One major difference is that I need a guarantor, who must meet a ridiculously long set of requirements. Unfortunately I don’t know any other Canadians in Australia who meet the requirements and who have known Jacob for 2 years or more, which means, I have to post the application form and Jacob’s passport photos back to Canada… get them signed… and have them posted back. Now I’m one of those expats who thinks that everything about their home country is amazing and great. Except Canada post. Canada post is epic bad. Sometimes I send things in the airmail (2 week ETA) and they take 4-5 months to arrive. So fingers crossed that these photos can make the round trip without being lost or damaged.
OK, so the first hurdle is getting the photos to Canada and back without them getting lost or damaged. But then, due to the insane demand for a Canadian passport at the moment (everyone is scrambling to get passports for their dual children), that passport applications are now taking up to 3 months to process in Australia. I have 5 months before our trip. Wish me luck.
But OK… luckily I found out about this new rule in time. When I recently visited the embassy there were A LOT of people there who only found out with just a few weeks between now and their trip. These people are having to apply for emergency passports and special exceptions to be allowed to travel. It’s a lot of stress and paperwork just to visit Canada when you already have a valid Australian passport. It’s not like we want to rock up with no documentation.
It gets worse.
I thought initially that the rule only applied to dual citizens, but when the lady at the embassy saw that I am pregnant I was informed that this rule applies to everyone who is ELIGIBLE for dual citizenship, even if they do not currently hold dual citizenship. This means that my newborn baby will require a Canadian passport because I am his mother, even if he does not have Canadian citizenship. Canadian citizenship takes 12 – 18 months to process in Australia – so if we want to travel to Canada before then (and we do) then we need to apply for a special exception passport.
That’s right. My son who is not a Canadian citizen (yet) requires a Canadian passport to visit Canada.
We *were* planning to go to Canada just a few months after the birth, but given that we will still have the same drama with the photos needing to be sent to Canada to be signed, plus the three month minimum wait for the special exceptions passport, plus all the additional legal documentation that will need to be signed, it is looking more and more unlikely that we will be able to visit any time soon.
There is still a chance. But we will literally have to get the documentation and photos processed the day he is born if we hope to have it processed in time.
And after all this, just to top it off, I also found out how difficult it will be to change my name in my passport after I am married.
Now the process in Australia is, you submit your passport and your marriage certificate and they change your name in the passport for free. Bam. Two weeks to process it.
The Canadian process is this: submit a new application with your birth certificate, old passport, marriage certificate, 2 pieces of government photo ID in your previous name, 2 pieces of government ID in your new name, and get 4-6 references to sign the document…….
The only piece of photo ID that I have, other than my passport, is my drivers license. Not sure where I will come up with the additional pieces of ID….. The passport lady couldn’t offer any suggestions either other than; “maybe wait until you get Australian citizenship and then get an Australian passport and that can be your additional piece of ID.”
Yup. Thanks lady. Looks like I am keeping my maiden name (on my passport at least) for the next couple years.