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Consular Corner

In each issue of Canada Plus, Consular Corner will address a consular-related question posed by you. This month's question is:

Novembre - December

Question: I live in Penzance and can’t make the 5-hour journey to London to renew my Canadian passport at the High Commission of Canada. What do I do?

Answer: Unable to make the trip to Trafalgar Square in London because of the distance, work commitments or other obligations? Canadians living in the United Kingdom are reminded that most services can also be obtained by mail. Apply for a passport by post.

If you have a question for us, please email to ldn.publicaffairs@international.gc.ca with “Consular Corner” in the subject line.


Previous questions

September - October

Question: I moved to the United Kingdom from Winnipeg 15 years ago. I was told that I can no longer vote because I‘ve lived outside of Canada more than 5 years. Now I hear that the rules have changed. What should I do?

Answer: You’re right! The law has changed. If you are a Canadian living abroad, you are now likely allowed to vote as long as you are a Canadian citizen, over 18 years old and have lived in Canada for at least part of your life. To find out if you are eligible, visit the Elections Canada website.

Please refer to Canadians can now identify as gender “X” on their passports for more information.

July - August

From June 4th individuals who do not identify exclusively as female or male can apply to have the ‘X’ gender identifier printed on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada documents, including Canadian passports and travel documents. First-time applicants or individuals who are renewing documents due to expire in less than six months can select ‘X’ on the relevant form when they apply.

Individuals who hold a document valid for six months or longer or that does not expire can apply to replace the document with one that displays the ‘X’ gender identifier, without paying new application fees.

Please refer to Canadians can now identify as gender “X” on their passports for more information.

May - June

Traveling with Children

With the summer holiday season approaching, we often see an increase in the number of children travelling with a non-parent guardian or solely with one parent. We strongly recommend that the person travelling with a minor child be in possession of a consent letter from the legal guardian(s) to make entry and exit from one country to another easier. Additional information and examples of letters.

March - April

Question: I hear there’s been a change to who can vote in federal elections.  How do I find out more about this?

Answer:  That is correct.  On January 11, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a Canadian elector, living abroad, who has previously resided in Canada, is entitled to vote by special ballot in federal elections regardless of how long they have been living abroad.  For more information, please read Information for Canadians Living Abroad.

January - February

Question: I was born in Canada but my children were born here in the UK and currently travel on UK passports. I understand that with changes in legislation they should now travel to Canada on Canadian passports. How do I start this process?

Answer: The first step will be to establish whether your children have claims to citizenship. Generally speaking, if you were born or naturalized in Canada they would have claims – more information and a self-assessment. A Canadian citizenship certificate will be needed in order to make passport applications for your children. The information and application forms for proof of Canadian citizenship are found at Citizenship. Once the certificates are received, passport applications may be made, see Applying for a passport. Please do not hesitate to contact us at ldn.consular@international.gc.ca for more information.

November – December

Cannabis and international travel

On October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act and a number of supporting regulations and ministerial orders came into force, legalizing and strictly regulating the sale, possession and production of cannabis in Canada.

Entering Canada

Cannabis is now legal in Canada. However, the legalization of cannabis in Canada does not change Canada’s border rules. Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis into Canada is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad.

This is the case even if you are travelling from places that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis. Transporting cannabis used for medical purposes is also illegal.

Travellers entering Canada can contribute to a smooth border crossing by understanding and complying with their obligations at the Canadian border.

It is illegal to bring cannabis into Canada. If you do have cannabis or products containing cannabis with you when you enter Canada, you must declare them to the Canada Border Services Agency. If you do not declare cannabis products when you enter Canada, you can face enforcement action, including arrest and prosecution.

Taking cannabis across the border is illegal.

Leaving Canada

The legalization of cannabis in Canada did not change Canada’s border rules. Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis across Canada’s international borders is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad. This is the case even if you are travelling to places that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis. Transporting cannabis used for medical purposes is also illegal.

Cannabis is illegal in most countries. Previous use of cannabis, or any other substance prohibited by local law, could result in a traveller being denied entry to his or her destination country.

Each country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Travellers are responsible for learning about the laws of the countries they intend to visit. See our Travel Advice and Advisories for information on your destination.

September - October

With autumn just around the corner, you might be thinking about a sunny Caribbean getaway in the coming months. But before you book that great last-minute bargain, please be sure to check the weather as hurricane season is in full swing. You can find out about severe weather warnings and other travel advisories at Travel.gc.ca and you can even download the app to your phone to stay up-to-date on the move.

July - August

Question: I am going on holiday to Canada this summer. As a Canadian citizen, I know I need a valid Canadian passport to enter Canada, however my passport expired years ago. Your website says the processing time is now 12 weeks, I’m worried I won’t have enough time to get a new passport.

Answer: As the busy travel season is upon us, we have seen a surge in the amount of passport applications we normally receive, resulting in a processing time of 12 weeks. If you have travel booked within that window or require a passport urgently, send an email to LDN.passport@international.gc.ca with the subject line “Passport application” and include your travel date. We will make every effort to assist you.

May - June

Question: I am planning on travelling around Europe this July, starting in the UK then onward to other countries such as France, Germany and Spain. My passport expires in September 2018. Will I be allowed entry into all these countries on my current passport, or should I renew it before I travel?

Answer: Thank you for your enquiry. Please verify the entry requirements for each country you intend to visit to ensure that you meet their entry requirements before travelling. Many countries, such as those in Europe’s “Schengen Zone” of 26 countries on mainland Europe, may have passport validity requirements beyond your planned date of departure from that country. Canadian passport holders must have a minimum of 90 days’ validity remaining on their passports to be granted entry into the Schengen Zone. More information about visiting the Schengen Zone. Detailed travel reports for each country may be found on our travel website, www.travel.gc.ca.

Please note that the current processing time for a Canadian passport application made in the UK is six weeks, so we would recommend that you apply for your new passport as soon as possible.

March - April

Save time at the border when travelling to Canada

Download the CanBorder - eDeclaration mobile app. The mobile app is quick, simple and secure; it operates entirely in airplane mode (once downloaded) and stores only non-sensitive information. The Can-Border – eDeclaration mobile app does away with paper landing cards and allows you to create a declaration for up to five travellers with the same place of residence. It also reduces your processing time at a Primary Inspection Kiosk by up to 50% upon arrival. For more information please visit Canada Border Services Agency.

February

Question: We are planning a trip home to Canada with our UK-born children. What do we need to do?

Answer: You will need to have the children’s Canadian citizenship certificate in order to obtain a passport and this can take between four and six months to obtain if you do not already have it. Please don’t delay in applying for citizenship certificates for your UK-born children.

January 2018

Word to the wise - be “passport aware”: The Canadian passport is a highly desirable document and should be viewed as a privilege rather than a right by the bearer. It is popular among thieves when travelling abroad and the loss or theft of a passport can lead to costly delays while officials make verifications and checks in order to issue a replacement passport. It is advisable to keep a photocopy of your passport in a place separate to the original and above all, keep them safe and secure.

December 2017

Question: My 14-year-old daughter is heading to Canada on her own this Christmas to visit her Mom. Is there anything I need to consider?

Answer: The holiday times are one of the most frequent occasions for children and teens to travel unescorted to visit a non-custodial parent. To make sure that flights and international border crossings are smooth, please consider filling out a consent to travel document. It’s best to also ensure that your child travels with contact phone numbers so that custom officials can contact both parents to confirm that everything is as it should be.

November

Advice to travellers at airports: Your consular team would like to remind anyone going through airport security to be mindful of their valuables. Any valuables – such as wallets, watches, jewellery, mobile phones - that are not required to be separated by airport security should be placed inside a zipped bag or jacket pocket before being sent through security scanning machines.

October

Are you ready for Christmas? Yes, Christmas. It is less than 100 days until the holiday season is in full swing and we are urging any Canadians with travel plans to check their passports TODAY to find out if they expire soon. The introduction of the new requirement for dual nationals to obtain a Canadian passport for travel to Canada means that our consular section has experienced a dramatic increase in the volume of applications for passports. Our processing times have increased significantly, and we now expect most General and Child applications to be processed in approximately 8-12 weeks rather than the usual 4 weeks, with Simplified Renewal applications expected to take 6-8 weeks.

Don’t delay. Check your passport expiry date and submit your renewal application with plenty of time to spare.

September

Are you travelling this season? Does your travel insurance include document coverage? Sadly, many travellers’ passports are lost or stolen and replacing these documents can cause delays and expenses in onward travel and missed flights back home. Please ensure your travel insurance covers the loss or theft of your passport. For more information on travel insurance, go to the travel.gc.ca website.

August

Question: My husband will be travelling alone with our daughter to Canada over the summer to visit grandparents. Will they need to bring any extra paperwork with them for the trip?

Answer: It is highly recommended that any children travelling internationally alone, with just one parent or with friends or relatives should carry a letter of consent with them. It is not a legal requirement, but it may simplify travel and may be requested at the border. The letter demonstrates that children have permission to travel abroad from any parents or guardians who are not accompanying them. You can find more information as well as some examples of consent letters on the travel.gc.ca website – Recommended consent letter for children travelling abroad.

July

The passport office at the Canadian High Commission is still experiencing very high demand, and it is currently taking up to 8 weeks to process passport applications. For any dual citizens travelling to Canada who do not have enough time to renew their passport there is the option to receive a special authorisation to travel without a Canadian passport. You may be eligible if you have a flight to Canada that departs in less than 10 days and have a valid passport from a visa-exempt country, such as the UK. You can find out more - Dual Canadian citizens need a valid Canadian passport.

June

Question:  I’m planning a trip this summer. Do you have any travel tips to recommend? Where can I get more information on security recommendations?

Answer: Access the Government of Canada’s travel advice and advisories on over 200 destinations worldwide. You’ll find information on local safety and security conditions, entry and exit requirements, local laws, and details on where to find help while abroad. We’d also recommend downloading the Travel Smart app to remain connected while you travel. You should be certain to purchase the best travel insurance you can afford to ensure you are covered for any unexpected health expenses. You should also ensure that your passport has enough validity for your destination; Canadians living in the UK should take particular note of the requirements for Schengen zone countries if they are planning any city breaks in continental Europe. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

May

As a result of the new requirement for dual nationals to obtain a Canadian passport for travel to Canada, the consular section has experienced a dramatic increase in the volume of passport applications. We anticipate that this extremely high volume will continue throughout 2017. Our processing times have increased significantly, and we now expect most General and Child applications to be processed in approximately 8 weeks rather than the usual 4 weeks, with Simplified Renewal applications expected to take 4-6 weeks.

We are unable to confirm receipt of applications. If you are not submitting your application in person, please send it by traceable mail and refer to the Royal Mail website to confirm that the application has been received at our office. You will be contacted if your application is incomplete or if we require additional information. If your application is complete, you are unlikely to hear from us during the process. If you have submitted a credit card authorization form for payment, you will receive an e-mail confirmation when the payment is taken, however this does not necessarily mean that your application has been finalized.

We realize that you may have travel plans and that our longer-than-usual processing times may cause difficulties. If you have an impending travel plan, please send an e-mail to ldn.passport@international.gc.ca with the subject line “Passport application – travel date”. Please include your full name as it appears on the application form, date of birth, the date the application was submitted along with the Royal Mail tracking number, and the date you plan to travel and we will do our best to accommodate. Please note that passports are printed in Canada, so we would require a minimum notice of 7 business days to finalize your file and get the passport back to you.

April 2017

The recent terrorist attack in London has reminded us of the importance of keeping on top of the latest information and travel advice. For Canadians living in the United Kingdom, or planning on visiting for more than three months, the Registration of Canadians Abroad system helps us to keep in touch in an emergency. Additionally, for the latest updates during an emergency, we recommend that Canadians in the UK - both visitors and those living here - follow @travelGoC on Twitter, as well as @CanadianUK and @CanadaintheUK on Facebook.

For urgent consular assistance, Canadians can contact us by email at sos@international.gc.ca or from the UK, call toll free on 00 800 2326 6831. Both are monitored 24 hours a day.

March 2017

The High Commission provides limited notarial services, since the signatures of local UK solicitors or notary publics are directly acceptable in Canada.

If your document is for use in a foreign country you are advised to verify acceptable methods of authentication with the receiving authority.  The Canadian High Commission does not attach apostilles to documents and consequently embassies and authorities in foreign counties may not recognize a document authenticated by the High Commission.

For further details of services we can and cannot provide, together with fees and opening hours, please take a look at Notarial Services.

February 2017

Question: I am a Canadian living in London and I got married in Canada last year. I would like to change my passport name to my new married name when it expires. How do I do that? Will I need my marriage license?

Answer: Since the name you are requesting in your new passport is different from the name in your previous passport, you are not eligible for the Simplified Renewal process. Please complete the Adult Abroad General Application Form * (PDF, 140 KB) and please take special note of the documentation required, including your marriage certificate or other proof of name change.

January 2017

Did you know, with the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorization for UK citizens in 2016, our consular officers have been extremely busy renewing passports for Canadians who are not able to apply for eTAs. Last year we issued 38% more passports than in 2015, and processed 42% more Canadian citizenship applications. Please remember, if you need to renew your passport, give yourself plenty of time as the number of applications can cause a delay to our usual processing time of 20 business days.

December

Question:  I have both British and Canadian citizenship and have just learned that I will be required to travel to Canada using a Canadian passport due to the new eTA requirement. However, my Canadian passport expired many years ago. I have planned to travel at Christmas. Will I get a passport in time?”

Answer:  The current processing time for passports is 20 business days after receipt of a complete application, so you should apply as soon as possible. In advance of the holiday season, the consular section of the High Commission makes every attempt to facilitate applications for those with urgent travel. Depending on your date of travel, you may need to submit an in-person application for a temporary passport (additional fees apply). If you have immediate travel plans and have been caught unaware by the new passport requirement, you may be eligible for a special authorisation, which is a temporary measure designed to facilitate one-time travel for dual nationals with immediate travel plans on their valid passport from a visa-exempt country such as the UK.

November

Question: I have been meaning to apply for Canadian citizenship for my daughter (born here in the UK) but aside from her UK passport I'm unsure what other identification I can provide for her citizenship application? She's only 19 months old so ID is a bit scarce!

Answer: You are only required to provide copies of 2 pieces of signature ID for applicants over the age of 18, so fortunately additional signature ID will not be required for your daughter’s application.

October

Question: My children were both born in England and are British citizens with UK passports. They have a Canadian citizenship card because they applied for citizenship due to having me as a Canadian parent. They are dual nationals. They have never held a Canadian passport. Please explain if they need to get a Canadian passport to enter Canada by plane next summer. I understand I will also need to renew my Canadian passport.  I have not held one for over 10 years because of the expense. I am also a British citizen. I am hoping only I need apply for a passport. We are planning a trip to Canada next summer and it will cost over £350 for me and my kids to apply for a passport. It is a lot of money for someone on a low income.

Answer: Yes, as a result of the implementation of the eTA initiative, both you and your children will need to obtain Canadian passports to travel to Canada by plane next summer. A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening. Please refer to our website for additional information on how to complete these passport applications.

September

A new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), is now in effect for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to or transiting through Canada by air. If you are a Canadian citizen and a citizen of a visa-exempt country (dual Canadian citizen) who currently uses your non-Canadian passport to fly to Canada, you cannot apply for an eTA. This is because eTA was set up to screen foreigners for admissibility to enter Canada on a temporary basis. Starting September 30, 2016, you will need to show proof you are a Canadian citizen to travel to Canada by air. Travel documents that prove citizenship are: a valid Canadian passport; a Canadian temporary passport; or a Canadian emergency travel document. If you don’t have a valid travel document that proves your Canadian citizenship at check-in, you may not be able to board your flight.

Be prepared: Renew or apply for a Canadian passport as soon as you can before September 30, 2016. For more information on the passport application process, please visit the Passports page.

August

During this busy travel season, don’t let unforeseen bills ruin your vacation. Purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you go! Please see the Government of Canada’s factsheet on travel insurance*(PDF version, 410 KB). 

July

Are you a Canadian citizen? You might be if one of your parents was born or naturalized in Canada. See if you are already a citizen on our website. If you think you have a claim to Canadian citizenship please find instructions and the application form here on our website. If you have any questions please email us at: ldn.consular@international.gc.ca

June

Ahead of the summer travel season, we would like to remind all Canadians travelling to the UK that there is no reciprocal agreement between the UK and Canada on healthcare. This means that Canadians will be required to pay for services under the National Health Service to which they are not entitled. All visitors should ensure they have health insurance before travelling or they (or their family) may find themselves with a substantial medical bill. More information on NHS services for non-EEA nationals visiting the UK is available at Citizens Advice.

May

The passport program has experienced an unprecedented influx of applications as a result of the new requirement for dual citizens to travel to Canada using their Canadian passports. At present, simplified renewal applications are taking an average of 25 business days and regular adult and child applications are taking about 35 business days. If you have submitted an application more than 20 business days ago, are still waiting for your passport back, and have an impending travel plan, please e-mail ldn.passport@interna

April

Do you need to renew a Canadian passport? The usual processing time for a passport is 20 business days; however, please note that due to a very large volume of applications received, the processing time is currently longer. We recommend you submit applications as early as possible.

March

Question:  I am a Canadian currently living in the UK, but I am thinking of moving back to Canada. What do I need to consider for a successful move?

Answer:  There are a number of local and federal organisations you may need to consult both here in the UK and in Canada to ensure you can make a smooth transition to living in Canada. You should check with your prospective provincial or territorial medical provider to find out when you will qualify to receive health coverage, you may need medical insurance to cover you until then. You can look at the CIC website for tips on finding work in Canada. If you have studied in the UK and would like to find out about transferring your qualifications, check out UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) and The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) as a starting place. If you have any pets to bring with you, these government guidelines will help.

February

If you need to apply for a new Canadian passport, or renew an out-of-date passport, all of the details, including the forms that you can download, are available on our Passports page. We accept passport applications via post, in person or you can drop them in a secure drop box here at Canada House.

Question: How long will it take to get a new passport?

Answer:  Our service standard, which cannot be expedited, is 20 business days from the receipt of a completed application. Please note that the processing time may increase during busy periods. Due to the large volume of passport applications we receive, we are unable to provide a confirmation of receipt or status update before the 20 business days processing time.

January 2016

The team at Travel.gc.ca have developed a new app to help you plan your holidays. It includes up-to-date travel advice for more than 200 destinations, as well as emergency contact information. You can find out more at Travel Smart app.

December

Did you know that you can access a wealth of information on the Service Canada website?  It provides advice on applying for a Canadian pension, replacing a Canadian birth certificate and applying for a Social Insurance Number.  It also provides useful information on life events such as marriage requirements in Canada and what to do following a death.  Visit Service Canada - People serving people for further information.

November

With Christmas soon approaching this is a good time to check your passport for any impending travel plans. In the run up to Christmas the passport processing time increases from 20 up to 25 business days and so now is the time to submit your application without delay.

August

Question: I lived and worked in Canada for several years before moving to the UK. My current employer is requesting a criminal record check (or “certificate of good conduct”) from my time spent in Canada. Could you advise how this can be done from the UK?

Answer: If you require a criminal record check through fingerprints then please refer to the instructions on the RCMP website. In London you can arrange to have your fingerprints taken at Scotland Yard (Tel: 0207 230 2099). Outside London, please contact the regional police headquarters for your area. Once you have obtained fingerprints, please contact one of the accredited companies on the list found on the RCMP website. If you only require a search based on your name and date of birth, you may wish to contact the local police in the area where you last resided in Canada and follow their instructions on how this can be done. If the local police station is unable to assist you, there are several private companies in Canada, which may be found by searching the internet, that can obtain police certificates based on your name and date of birth. The Canadian High Commission cannot recommend the services of any particular private company. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at ldn.consular@international.gc.ca.

July

Question: I am a Canadian citizen who has been resident in the UK for several years. This summer, I am visiting Canada for a few weeks. Do I need travel insurance, or would I be covered by provincial health care since I am a Canadian citizen?

Answer:  If you have been resident outside Canada for six months or more, you would likely no longer be covered by provincial health care. Most provinces have a residency requirement (generally three months) that you need to fulfill before becoming eligible for health care coverage. For more information on provincial health care eligibility, please contact the relevant provincial health care provider. We strongly advise you to purchase travel insurance for the duration of your trip.

June

Question: I am a Canadian citizen living and working in the UK. My British husband and I recently welcomed our first baby, born in London last year. Can you advise me how I would register my daughter as a Canadian citizen?

Answer: Generally speaking, if you were born in Canada or you naturalized in Canada, your child will have an automatic claim to Canadian citizenship. For more information go to eligibility for Canadian citizenship and for application information go to child’s proof of Canadian citizenship from the UK. Once you have obtained her citizenship document, you may wish to apply for a Canadian passport for her. If you have any further questions about citizenship or the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us again at ldn.consular@international.gc.ca.

May

Question:  I was born in Quebec in the 1950s and I don’t have a birth certificate. Instead, I have a baptismal certificate. My passport has expired. In attempting to renew, I find that now I must have a birth certificate. How do I get one?

Answer:  If you were born in Quebec and have a birth document – birth or baptismal certificate – issued before 1994, then you will need to update it. Quebec birth certificates are obtained from the Vital Statistic Agency, Directeur de l’état civil. To order your Quebec birth certificate, please follow the instructions on the Directeur de l’état civil website. Once you have obtained this document, it will be possible for you to make your Canadian passport application.

April

Question:  I am a Canadian citizen and have recently moved to the UK for work. Can I register my details with the High Commission in case of emergency?

Answer:  Yes. If you are travelling or living abroad, you are encouraged to register your details with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development using our online Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service. The service is quick, confidential and simple and enables us to get in touch with and assist you in the event of an emergency abroad. If you have any questions about the ROCA, please do not hesitate to contact us at ldn.consular@international.gc.ca.

Travel Reminder: If you intend to travel this summer, please check your passport’s expiry date and get your application in early if a new passport is required. Passport processing time is currently 20 business days.

March 2015

Question:  I lived and worked in Canada for several years in the 1970s and 1980s, then returned to the UK permanently. I am now 65 and collecting my UK pension. I never obtained my Canadian citizenship. Am I eligible for a Canadian pension?

Answer:  If you worked in Canada after 1966, when Canada Pension Plan (CPP) came into effect, then you should be eligible for a Canadian pension whether or not you are a Canadian citizen. Information and application forms to make your CPP application. If you lived in Canada for more than 20 years after your 18th birthday, you may also be eligible for an Old Age Security (OAS) pension. Should you have any questions about your Canadian pension entitlements or would like an application pack sent to you, do not hesitate to contact us at ldn.consular@international.gc.ca.

February 2015

Question:   I am a Canadian citizen living in the UK. Am I eligible to vote in the Canadian federal election later this year?

Answer: Any Canadian citizen aged 18 or older who resides abroad may apply to be added to the International Register of Electors and to vote by mail-in special ballot in federal general elections, by-elections and referendums, provided they have at some point resided in Canada. In order to be added to the International Register of Electors, you should get the special ballot application form for Canadians who live abroad. You can get this from the Elections Canada website. It is a good idea to register early! Once you have completed the form, it can be posted or faxed directly to Elections Canada. When an election is called, Elections Canada will then send you a special ballot voting kit by post.

January 2015

Question:   I am a Canadian citizen and would like to get married in the UK. Do I require any documentation from the Canadian High Commission? Do I need to advise the Canadian authorities once I am married?

Answer:  You should contact the registry office where you wish to marry directly for the documentary requirements for your upcoming marriage. If the registry office suggests that you need any documents from our office we would be glad to assist you, although generally this is not required. If you are in the UK as a visitor (not a visa holder), then you should contact the UK authorities to make enquiries. You do not need to advise our office that you have married. Generally speaking, a legal marriage outside Canada is considered a legal marriage in Canada. Please see the “Validity of a foreign marriage” information. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at ldn.consular@international.gc.ca

December 2014

Question: I'm a Canadian citizen living here in the UK and I'm about to get married to a British citizen. I would like to take my husband's last name, but I don't know how to go about changing my name.

Answer: You will need to contact each agency which has issued you documents directly to find out what will be required to change your name. In many cases, you will find that your UK marriage licence may be sufficient to make this change. If you have a Canadian driving licence and health card, you should contact the provincial Ministry of Transportation and provincial healthcare provider directly to make the change. To change your name on your Canadian passport, you will find information at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

November - New requirements for supporting identity documents when applying for a passport

There are new requirements for identification needed when you apply for a Canadian passport. Documents must show your name, date of birth, sex, and include a photo and signature. The name to be shown on your passport also must be the same as the name on your Canadian birth certificate or Canadian citizenship certificate. Information on the new rules can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada site.

October - My photo card certificate of citizenship only shows the year in which I obtained Canadian Citizenship. How can I get the full date including day and month?

Some previous versions of certificates of Canadian citizenship bear only the year, or month and year, that citizenship was obtained. In certain instances, foreign governments may request the exact date you obtained proof of Canadian citizenship. If you require proof of Canadian citizenship bearing the full date citizenship was obtained, you may apply for a new style certificate of Canadian citizenship. You might also wish to request a search of citizenship records, which will show the date citizenship was obtained.

September - How can I change my last name on my Canadian documents when I get married?

It is not mandatory to change your last name on your passport after marriage. If you wish to do so, you must submit a new passport application with guarantor’s signature, 2 photos, the fee, your previous passport, and a piece of supplementary ID issued in your married surname. Please find additional information here. You should contact relevant provincial authorities in Canada in order to change your name on any provincial documents (driver’s licenses and health cards).

August –My parent is Canadian. Does that mean I am automatically Canadian?

Whether you will have a claim to citizenship will depend on when and how your Canadian parent obtained his or her Canadian citizenship. You may use Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Am I a Canadian Citizen? online self-assessment tool to ascertain whether you have a claim to citizenship. If you find that you do have a claim, you will find information about making your application through our High Commission in London.

June - I was born in Canada but moved to the UK 10 years ago. Can I vote in the next federal election in 2015?

Yes, Elections Canada has recently eliminated the five-year rule for Canadian electors residing abroad. Now, Canadian citizens aged 18 or older who reside abroad may apply to be added to the International Register of Electors and to vote by mail-in special ballot in federal general elections, by-elections and referendums, provided they have at some point resided in Canada. For more information visit Elections Canada.

May – Renewing your passport

Spring seems to be the busiest time for the High Commission passport office, as people plan summer holidays. Because of the number of applications to process at the moment the expected processing time for passports is currently 25 business days. If you are considering renewing your passport (and remember many European countries insist that passports are valid for several months after your planned travel date) please give yourself as much time as possible.

April – My son is entitled to Canadian citizenship. How do I go about getting it for him? I need to replace my Canadian citizenship and passport documents which were stolen several years ago.

Information and instructions on how to apply for a certificate of Canadian citizenship for your son are available on the Citizenship page of our website. The page also provides UK-specific information about supporting document requirements, fees and timeframes. You will require the Application for a Citizenship Certificate form (*PDF version, 1.86 MB) CIT 0001. The same form should be used to make your application for a replacement citizenship certificate. Your replacement application may be submitted alongside your son’s application. Once proof of citizenship has been obtained, it will be possible to make Canadian passport applications.

March - I am currently in the process of applying for proof of Canadian citizenship for my two young children. I do not have any photo ID aside from their passports and the list of supporting documents requires two forms of this.

Signature-bearing personal identification is only a requirement for adult (18 years and older) applications for proof of citizenship. We have made a note of this on the UK-specific instructions section of our website.

February - I am a Canadian citizen married to a British citizen and currently living in the UK. We are expecting our first child this April and I'm curious about how we would apply for Canadian citizenship for him or her?

Your child’s eligibility for Canadian citizenship will depend on how you obtained citizenship. As a general rule, if you were born in Canada or were granted Canadian citizenship through naturalization prior to the child’s birth, your child should have an automatic claim to citizenship. Please refer to the following online self-assessment tool and answer the questions as if your child were answering them. If the results indicate that your child has a claim to citizenship, please refer to our website for additional information about the procedure to follow to submit an application for a proof of citizenship document. Applications are submitted to the High Commission but citizenship certificates are printed in Canada, and processing time is 15 months.

January I am Canadian and just obtained Canadian citizenship for my daughter. How do I get her a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card?

Social Insurance Number (SIN) cards are issued by Service Canada in Canada. You will find information about the application process on the Service Canada website. As you will note, you are able to make the application by post. However, this involves sending original documents to Canada. As some clients are not comfortable sending their original documents via international mail, we would recommend that you apply in person at a Service Canada centre next time you are in Canada.

November - As a Canadian citizen travelling to or living in the UK, can I get free hospital treatment through the NHS (National Health Service)?

NHS hospital treatment is free for residents of the UK. However, Canadians travelling to the UK on a holiday or short visit will be required to pay for the full cost of all treatment with the NHS (with exceptions for treatment given entirely in an accident and emergency department, treatment for certain communicable diseases and compulsory psychiatric treatment, all of which are free of charge to everyone). More information.

October – In light of recent events in Kenya and unrest in other parts of the world, how should I prepare myself before travelling abroad?

First up, you should consult our Travel Advice and Advisories webpage both before making your travel arrangements and immediately before your departure date to ensure you have up-to-date and accurate information about your destination. When the Government of Canada recommends against travel to a certain country or region, this advisory will be posted on the site.  You should always register with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development’s Registration of Canadians Abroad program as well.  Registration ensures that you can be contacted in the event of a natural disaster or civil emergency. There is more  information about services provided to Canadians overseas during emergencies here.

September – Permission to enter the UK indefinitely

My passport is due for renewal in 2014. My question concerns the transfer of the 'permission to enter the UK indefinitely' stamp/visa into the new passport, and whether this can be done when I apply for my new one? 

When obtaining a new passport applicants should be aware that we are unable to transfer any stamps or visas from the old passport into the new one. Residents of the UK who wish to know if they may continue to use the visa in the old passport should direct their enquiry to the United Kingdom Border Agency.

August – Travel in Europe

Canadians traveling into Europe must present a passport valid for at least three months beyond the date of their expected departure from the Schengen area. Before you travel ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity as they may be more stringent than the country's entry rules. It is the sole prerogative of each country/region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. We recommend you contact the embassy/high commission for the country you plan to visit prior to your travel in order to enquire about their entry requirements. Further information can be found at travel.gc.ca.

July – New ePassports

As of July 2013, Canada will be issuing ePassports only. Applicants will have the choice of a 5 or 10 year passport.  There will be "one size" - 36 pages, and the international service standard increases from 15 to 20 business days so we encourage applicants to renew/apply early to avoid disappointment. 

June - Registration for Travelling Canadians

Are you planning to travel this summer? If so, you may wish to complete a simple self-registration at travel.gc.ca. On this site you will also find information and tips on destinations, travel documents, travel health, returning to Canada and much more.

May - Two key developments in consular services this month

  • Please note that effective last month, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade implemented a new payment system for passport and consular services by credit / debit card.
  • As of 2 May, applicants seeking Temporary Resident Visas, Study Permits and Work Permits need to submit their applications to the Canadian Visa Application Centre, which is located near Paddington Station in London at The Battleship Building, 179 Harrow Road, W2 6NB. Please note that routine applications will no longer be accepted through the Canadian High Commission. The Canadian Visa Application Centre website has all the details for submitting applications either in person or by post and Citizenship and Immigration Canada has detailed information about moving to Canada for work, study or family reasons.

April - As a Canadian who has relocated to the UK, am I able to obtain a UK drivers’ licence?

A: If you are resident in the UK there is indeed an agreement between Canada and the UK which allows you to exchange your Canadian licence for a UK licence. For more information as well as information on Canadian driving licences, please refer to Driving Licences.

March – How does one obtain a Canadian passport in one's married name?

A: The most important thing to note is that we must have government-issued identification in the new name which bears your signature, such as a UK driver's license. Details are available on our website under Frequently Asked Questions.

February – ePassports?

Starting July 1, 2013, all new Canadian passports issued will be electronic passports, or ePassports. At that time, adult applicants will have the option of a 5- or 10-year ePassport for both first-time applications and renewals, while children's ePassports will be issued for a maximum of 5 years. About ePassports.

January - victims of fraud?

We are occasionally contacted by Canadians who are victims of overseas fraud. Some have lost significant amounts of money to someone they have never met in person, almost always have only met on the Internet. Please see Overseas Fraud: An Increasing Threat to the Safety of Canadians for advice on avoiding overseas fraud.

December – Is my child, born in the UK, entitled to Canadian citizenship?

A: A person is entitled to Canadian citizenship provided at least one of the parents is born in Canada OR is a naturalized Canadian. More information and a self-assessment quiz are available here.

Once you have proof of citizenship for your child, you can submit a passport application. More information about passports is available here.

November – Do you offer expedited service for passport renewal?

A: We do not. This is one of the areas where overseas procedures differ from in-Canada. Our service standard is 15 business days (3 weeks) from the date we receive a correct and complete application. With the holidays approaching, those travelling should ensure they have an up to date passport. Be advised some countries require a minimum validity period for passports. You can check at Welcome to Travel.gc.ca

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Date Modified:
2019-11-20