Here’s why getting a Canadian passport might take a little longer

In the winter months, Service Canada has traditionally experienced spikes in demand for passport services.

As Canadians plan for March break travel or other winter getaways, they may be experiencing longer queues for in-person service at passport offices.

“Passport offices are often busy at this time of the year as people consider warm and sunny getaways, which can sometimes lead to line-ups at passport offices. Service Canada offers several flexible options for people wanting to apply for their passport, including by mail, at a passport office, or a Service Canada Centre,” said minister of citizens’ services, Terry Beech. “We are making government services more convenient and accessible, which is what Canadians expect.”

How to get a Canadian passport

Canadians are reminded of the range of options available for passport service, in addition to passport offices, that can help them avoid lineups:

  • They can apply in-person at one of more than 300 Service Canada centres and scheduled outreach sites located throughout the country. The processing time is within 20 business days.
  • Applicants can also apply by mail, and it will be processed within 20 business days.
  • A select number of Service Canada centres offer service in 10 business days instead of 20 business days.
  • For passports needed in less than 10 business days, Canadians must visit a passport office that offers urgent or express pick-up services.

Canadians can also take advantage of the online Passport Application Status Checker, to find out where their application stands in real time. The status of the application submitted in person will be available after five business days, and 10 business days for those submitted by mail.

Quick facts about Canadian passports

  • The service standard for applications submitted at passport offices and Service Canada Centres offering 10-day passport service is 10 business days.
  • The service standard for applications submitted at regular Service Canada Centres, scheduled outreach sites and by mail is 20 business days.
  • The performance target for application processing is for at least 90% of complete applications to be processed within these service standards.
  • For 2023-2024, the total forecast volume is between 4.5 million and 4.7 million.
  • Passport program statistics are published online, and all data is updated monthly.

For all the details on passport offices, Service Canada centres, and scheduled outreach sites, including the estimated wait times at passport offices, visit the Find a Service Canada Office webpage.

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