References and guarantors for passport and travel document applications

Guarantors and references are used as a security measure to confirm the identity of the person applying for a passport or travel document. They may be contacted during the processing of a passport application.

References

Two references are needed for passport renewal applications and new passport applications.

References must:

  • have known you for at least two years for passport applications or six months for Certificate of Identity or Refugee Travel Document applications;
  • not be your guarantor;
  • not be a family member listed below;
  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • agree to you using their name and contact information for your application.

See the list of family members who can't be a reference for your application

  • A spouse or common-law partner. Two people, opposite or same-sex, are common-law partners if they have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least one year, but are not legally married. If a marriage or common-law relationship has ended, the former spouse or partner can serve as a reference.
  • A parent (includes step parents and foster parents) or their spouse or common-law partner.
  • A mother-in-law or father-in-law.
  • A child (biological, adopted, step, or foster child), or their spouse or common-law partner.
  • A son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
  • A sibling (brother, sister, step or half brother, or step or half sister), or their spouse or common-law partner.
  • A brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  • A grandparent (or step or foster grandparent), or their spouse or common-law partner.
  • A grandmother-in-law or grandfather-in-law.
  • A grandchild (biological, adopted, step, or foster grandchild), or their spouse or common-law partner.
  • A grandson-in-law or granddaughter-in-law.

Note: Any other person not listed above and related to the applicant or to the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner by blood, marriage, common-law relationship, adoption or guardianship can be a reference only if that person is not living at the same address as the applicant.

To avoid delays, make sure your references are available (not travelling outside of the country) and in your time zone so we can contact them easily.

Guarantors

A guarantor is needed for all new passport and travel document applications submitted by mail or in person. A guarantor can be a family member or any individual living at your address, as long as they meet the requirements.

The guarantor must do the following, free of charge

  • Complete and sign the “Declaration of Guarantor” section of your application.
  • Write “I certify this to be a true likeness of (applicant name)” on the back of one of the passport photos and sign it.
  • If applicable, sign and date the photocopies of each document you have submitted to confirm your identity.

You cannot help the guarantor in performing these duties. If your guarantor needs assistance, contact us.

Guarantor requirements if you are applying in Canada

Your guarantor must

  • hold a 5-year or 10-year Canadian passport that is valid or has been expired for no more than one year, on the day you submit your application.
  • have known you (the applicant) personally for at least 2 years.

    In the case of a child, the guarantor must have known you (the parent or legal guardian who is applying on behalf of the child) personally for at least two years and must have knowledge of the child.

  • be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older.
  • have been 16 years of age or older when he or she applied for his or her own passport.
  • provide the requested information contained in his or her passport.
  • be available if they need to be contacted.

If you are the parent or legal guardian and you are applying on behalf of your child, you cannot sign as guarantor on your child’s application. However, the other parent (not submitting the application) can sign as long as the requirements are met.

Note: In cases where provincial family services have placed a child for adoption with a family, the Provincial Director of Family Services, the Director of the Family Services Agency or the Director of the Incorporated Institution (in Quebec) may also sign as guarantor until the adoption is final (probationary adoption).

A guarantor's passport is not considered valid if

  • it is damaged or inaccessible.
  • it has been suspended or revoked.
  • it has been reported lost or stolen.
  • it has been found and returned to us.
  • it has been destroyed by us.
  • we have requested that it be returned.

Guarantor requirements if you are applying outside Canada

Your guarantor must

  • hold a 5-year or 10-year Canadian passport that is valid or has been expired for no more than one year, on the day you submit your application.
  • have known you (the applicant) personally for at least two  years.
  • in the case of a child, the guarantor must have known you (the parent or legal guardian who is applying on behalf of the child) personally for at least two years and must have knowledge of the child.
  • be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older.
  • have been 16 years of age or older when he or she applied for his or her own passport.
  • provide the requested information contained in his or her passport.
  • be available if they need to be contacted.

A family member or any individual living at the same address as you may be your guarantor as long as they meet the requirements above.

Note: If you are the parent or legal guardian applying for a passport for your child, you cannot act as guarantor. However, if he or she meets the eligibility criteria above, the other parent or legal guardian can act as the guarantor.

You may also choose an occupation-based guarantor, as long as the individual is registered/licensed with the appropriate local authority to practice their profession, and is currently working in that field.

The occupation-based guarantor must practice one of the following group

  • dean/head of university or college
  • dentist
  • judge
  • lawyer/notary
  • medical doctor
  • notary public
  • pharmacist
  • police officer
  • signing officer of a bank or trust company, or a financial institution that offer a full range of banking services (cash withdrawals, deposits, savings)
  • veterinarian

Retired occupation-based guarantors are not eligible unless the guarantor's name still appears on the listing provided to us by the relevant association.

Guarantor requirements for military personnel

The following Regular Force officers may act as guarantor for other Regular Force personnel and their dependents, if they have known the applicant personally for two (2) years or more:

  • Base Commander
  • Commanding Officer
  • Personnel Administrative Officer
  • NDHQ Director General
  • NDHQ Director
  • NDHQ Career Manager

In addition to the above, any other commissioned officer (Captain and above) with access to service records can sign as guarantor. Instead of indicating the number of years they have known the applicant, they must add the following statement "through service records which I have verified".

Also, military police with two  years personal knowledge of the applicant can act as guarantors for other military personnel only.

Guarantor requirements if you are applying for a Refugee Travel Document or Certificate of Identity

Your guarantor must

  • be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen.
  • live in Canada.
  • be accessible for verification.
  • have known you (the applicant) personally for at least six months.
  • in the case of a child, the guarantor must have known you (the parent or legal guardian who is applying on behalf of the child) personally for at least six months and must have knowledge of the child.
  • be an occupation-based guarantor and the individual must be registered/licensed with the appropriate local authority to practice their profession, and must be currently working in that field.

Your guarantor must be a member of one of the following group:

  • dentist, medical doctor or chiropractor
  • judge, magistrate or police officer (municipal, provincial or RCMP)
  • lawyer (member of a provincial bar association), or notary in Quebec
  • mayor
  • minister of religion authorized under provincial or territorial law to perform marriages
  • notary public
  • optometrist
  • pharmacist
  • postmaster
  • principal of a primary or secondary school
  • professional accountant (member of APA, CA, CGA, CMA, PA or RPA)
  • professional engineer (P. Eng., Eng. in Quebec)
  • senior administrator in a community college (including CEGEP)
  • senior administrator or teacher in a university
  • veterinarian

The other parent, legal guardian, family member or person who resides at the same address as you may be the guarantor, provided that this individual meets the requirements above.

Retired occupation-based guarantors are not eligible unless the guarantor's name still appears on the listing provided to us by the relevant association.

If you cannot find a guarantor

If you have not known an eligible guarantor for at least two years, complete form PPTC 132 "Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor" available from any passport office or by telephone. The form must be sworn to or declared before, and signed by, a person authorized by law to administer an oath or a solemn declaration. If completed outside Canada, a qualified official includes a Canadian or British diplomatic or consular representative, or a qualified local official (for example, a civil servant, or member of Parliament).

Important: A person listed as a reference on the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor cannot be listed as a reference on the passport application.

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