Monday,  November 11, 2019  11:17 pm

Here's why some Canadians have a white passport


Here's why some Canadians have a white passport
The regular blue passport, which 98 per cent of Canadians use, is actually one of four colours available.
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

If you’re like 98 per cent of Canadian travellers, your passport is blue.

But the regular blue cover is actually one of four different kinds of Canadian passports.

READ MORE: Your Canadian passport: 5-year or 10-year option?

There’s the maroon-coloured diplomatic passport used for diplomats and high-ranking government officials; the green special passport for senators, members of parliament, and then the white temporary passport, issued for those waiting to get a regular passport, or those with an urgent need for a passport.

Besides from the regular blue passport, the temporary white passport is the only other option open to regular Canadian travellers who don’t work for the government.

But what is a temporary passport, and who should get one?

In lieu of blue

Temporary passports are issued to Canadian citizens who are living outside of Canada but are waiting for their regular passports to be processed.

These could be Canadians who are studying on a one-year exchange program or living and working in the U.S. or abroad on a one-year contract basis, for example.

Temporary passports are also issued to those who may be waiting to obtain a special or diplomatic passport.

In cases like these, rather than paying the $120 for a five-year passport or $160 for a 10-year passport, temporary passport holders pay a little less, and can use the passport anywhere between six months and one year.

“The cost of a temporary passport alone is $110, however when applying for a temporary passport, the applicant must also apply for a regular adult or child passport,” said Brianna Lessard, communications analyst, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada/Government of Canada. “Following the person’s travel, they will be required to return the temporary passport and exchange it for the regular passport.”

What’s the difference?

Pricing aside, the temporary passport only has eight pages, whereas the regular blue passport, regardless of it being a five-year or 10-year option, has 36 pages.

The temporary passport also only has two visa pages, opposed to the regular passport containing 29 pages that can be used for visas and customs stamps.

Canada currently has one of the most powerful passports in the world, allowing visa-free access to 114 countries for regular passport holders.

While the Government of Canada doesn’t impose restrictions on travelling with temporary passports, other countries have the ability to, and travellers should always check for any advisories prior to visiting, and verify if a temporary passport will be accepted as well as if any other restrictions apply.


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