Backgrounder

Adopting the 10-year ePassport is a question of security and convenience. The ePassport is a higher-security travel document that will help Canadians travel abroad with ease. And since it is valid for 10 years, it is also more convenient.

Passport Canada is a cost-recovery organization. It is funded by passport fees, not Canadians’ tax dollars. Despite inflation, post-9/11 cost pressures and the need to keep pace with technology, passport fees have not increased in a decade.

Before adjusting its fee structure to support the next generation of passports, Passport Canada must undergo a process prescribed by the User Fees Act. As part of this process, in the spring of 2010, Passport Canada consulted Canadians on ways to improve passport services. This input was used to help craft the fee-for-service proposal that is now available.

Highlights of the fee-for-service proposal:

  • Under the proposed fee structure:
    • Passport Canada will be issuing higher-security ePassports to all passport applicants; and
    • Adult applicants will be able to choose between 5- or 10-year validity. The enhanced-security 5-year passport will be available to Canadians starting next year; the 10-year passport will be available in early 2013.
  • If the fee proposal is adopted in its current form:
    • The price for a 10-year ePassport will be $160. The ePassport will actually cost Canadians less per year of validity than the current non-electronic 5-year passport;
    • The price of a 5-year ePassport will be $120, compared to $87 for the current non-electronic 5-year passport; and
    • Some other passport services that are currently offered for free, such as file transfers and certified photocopies, may have a fee attached.

Passport Canada welcomes Canadians’ input on the fee-for-service proposal. An input submission mechanism has been put in place at www.passeportcanada.gc.ca/publications. Input on the proposal will be accepted from November 10 to 25, 2011.

All input will be considered and the fee-for-service proposal may be adjusted accordingly. Canadians’ input will be included in a report that will accompany the fee-for-service proposal when it is tabled in Parliament.

Approximately 95 countries are already issuing higher-security ePassports to their citizens. Many countries have also moved to a 10-year validity period. Both 5- and 10-year validity periods are in line with international standards.