OTTAWA – Some travellers keen to get their passports will now be able to request their mail-in applications be transferred to any of the more than 300 local Service Canada centres for processing.
They can also now do so even if their need for a passport is slightly less urgent, as in for those planning to leave the country within the next few weeks, instead of a couple of days.
Until now, applicants in the queue could only ask for a transfer by visiting one of 35 specialized passport sites across Canada, or by contacting the call centre.
The new policy will apply to anyone who completed their application by mail more than 20 business days ago, which allows enough time for it to have been entered into the system, and has proof that they are travelling within 20 business days from when they ask for a transfer.
The change comes after months of stressful waits for Canadians to renew their passports and long, hectic lines at passport offices as workers try to expedite needed documents.
Social Development Minister Karina Gould says depending on when the person plans to travel, the application will either be expedited and their passport mailed to them, or their file will be transferred to a local office for printing and pickup.
She says the change will speed up processing times for overdue passports and shorten the lineup for urgent requests at passport offices.