Divorced and Travelling During the Holidays? Be Aware of New Canadian Passport Requirements

December 8, 2014
Ron Shulman

Article written by Ron Shulman

With the holiday season right around the corner, many people are starting to think about planning for their travel to visit loved ones.  For those whose travel plans need them to take valid passports, it’s important to know that Passport Canada has recently introduced changes that mandate passport applicants to supply certain supporting documentation.

Effective October 20, 2014, new rules require that anyone applying for a brand-new passport using a surname that is different from the one that appears on their birth certificate or citizenship certificate must submit that document along with one of the following:

  • a marriage certificate; or
  • a common-law relationship certificate; or
  • a court order (i.e. separation agreement or divorce order/judgement) issued by a court of law in or outside Canada; or
  • a certificate to dissolve a registered common-law relationship; or
  • a resumption of surname certificate.

The supporting identity document must display the relationship surname that is being requested.

What does this mean?  It means that the changes could most directly affect those passport applicants who are divorced and using a surname different from the one on their birth or citizenship certificate. The Global news website, for example, reports on the case of a divorced woman who incurred an unexpected $120 in fees to obtain documentary proof she needed to sort out the difficulties that arose when she tried to renew her passport.

Additional changes have been imposed in connection with new passport applications as well:  The documentation needed to obtain a general adult passport (which applies to applicants aged 16 and up), has been similarly stepped-up to require that the application be accompanied by a proof of identity that has been issued by a federal or provincial / territorial government authority (or by a local equivalent abroad).  To be sufficient, the proof of identity document must contain all of the following elements:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex,
  • Photo, and
  • Signature

For these purposes, it’s acceptable for an applicant to present more than one document, provided that when combined, all of the necessary elements are present.

Do you have a question about passport requirements in connection with travel during the holidays?  Contact us for a consultation.