IRCC’s Citizenship to Passport Pilot streamlines passport process for new Canadians

CIC News has obtained an IRCC memo providing information on the Citizenship to Passport Pilot. Through the pilot, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will invite 100 citizenship grant applicants to apply for a passport during citizenship processing.

The pilot program implements a new, streamlined passport application form that uses information already collected by the citizenship program. Once the applications are processed, the passports will be printed by IRCC to redirect traffic from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) offices.

IRCC expects the pilots to simplify the passport application process to pave the way for an integrated model in the future.

Some of the invitations have already been sent by email to eligible candidates. These emails provide information on filing out the passport application, other required documentation and where the send the application. Once an applicant completes their Citizenship Oath and IRCC receives the passport application, the passport should be processed within 20 business days.

Background of the pilot

The objective of the program is to determine the feasibility of linking the citizenship and passport programs. IRCC plans on training IRCC citizenship staff on the passport line of business to help the pressures on the passport renewal surge and to enable streamlined access to a Canadian passport for new Canadians.

In 2022, there were lengthy processing times for both the citizenship and passport programs, which prevented both programs from meeting established service standards. Although significant progress has been made to reduce the application inventory, new citizens are the ones experiencing the delays in both programs.

The results of the pilot will be assessed to potentially develop the integrated citizenship and passport model. Recommendations for broader roll out will be made by the end of December 2023.

What are the Canadian citizenship eligibility criteria?

In order to be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you need to meet the following criteria:

Be a permanent resident

Meet Canada’s physical presence requirements

File your taxes (if necessary)

Pass a Canadian citizenship test (if you are between the ages of 18-54)

Prove your language skills (if you are between the ages of 18-54)

In order to meet Canada’s physical presence requirements, you must have lived in Canada for at last three years (1,095 days) out of the past five years before applying for citizenship.

If you have lived in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident, you may use some of that time towards your physical presence requirement. Each day you spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person in the last five years can count as a half day. You can use a maximum of 365 days as a temporary resident or protected person towards your physical presence requirement.

Applicants who complete the citizenship test and interview will be invited to a citizenship ceremony. At the ceremony, an applicant is required to sing the Canadian national anthem and say the Oath of Citizenship to Canada in either English or French before a judge. Once complete, they will be granted their Canadian citizenship.

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