By Andrew Mitchell
This week Pique Newsmagazine was advised that three federal government service offices that now receive passport applications, including a new office on the North Shore, are not able to fast track passport applications the same way as Passport Canada offices in Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey.
The initial federal government release announcing the receiving offices did not make that clear. Agents at the offices will review passport applications for accuracy and completeness, collect your application fee and identification, and mail that information to Passport Canada for regular processing. After that point it can take nine to 10 weeks to get your passport processed, or the same amount of time as submitting your passport by mail.
By way of comparison, if you visit a Passport Canada office in person with your application it may take as little as two weeks to receive your passport. However, there continue to be long lines at Passport Canada offices that start to build long before office hours.
The passport crunch is the result of new U.S. requirements for all visitors to carry passports at air and sea borders by Jan. 23, 2007. The requirement will be extended to land border crossings next year.