Tips | Travel

Tips for Planning a Trip and Getting a new Canadian Passport

It’s true! I’m going on my first trip in 8 years! Can you believe it? We’ve gone on little family trips to Niagara Falls but this September my oldest and I to celebrate his 16th birthday are heading to NYC! It’s been hectic planning this to say the least which is why I’m excited to bring you Tips for Planning a trip and getting a new Canadian Passport.

Tips for Planning a Trip and Getting a new Canadian Passport

I’m a worrier by nature. I stress about everything and I worry a lot. It’s just who I am, and I probably won’t ever change but it doesn’t make for a good time when planning for things such as a trip come around.

I love planning, scheduling, and organizing so that part of the trip has been taken care of since the thought first popped into my mind. But, the one thing I didn’t think of at all, was passports.

I’ve never had a passport, I’ve never needed it as I’ve never gone anywhere that required one! So, when we decided to head to the good ol’ US of A I knew a passport was inevitable but I didn’t really think about what it meant to actually get a passport.

Less than two full months away from our trip and panic sets in. Flights have been booked for a month, AirBNB booked for 3 weeks and now? How are we going to cross the border?

I realized after everything was booked it wasn’t a quick process getting a passport. Not only do you have to really jump through hoops (you need a guarantor that has known you for 2 years who holds a valid passport to sign for you! Also, did you know a normal birth certificate won’t work for kids under 16?)

This is when I jumped into panic mode. How long would it take to get the things I needed? Is his biological dad on his birth certificate? How would I manage that? So many things come into play.

Thankfully I have amazing friends, one in particular who always has a cool, calm and level head especially when I need it. She’s quick to give me a kick in the butt and all is well again but when I panic I really panic.

Trip was about to get cancelled when I really took a breather.

Tips for Planning a trip and getting a new Canadian passport:

  • Before you book flights: Get your passport. This will save a lot of time and stress. If you already have one, great! You are already ahead of the game!
  • Make sure the AirBNB you book is in a great location and safe area. This will avoid you having to cancel, wait for a refund then rebook.
  • Make sure you have all necessary documents. For travel, for booking travel, hotels etc. Gather it all well before and get on it right away, don’t wait.


Make sure you check what is required to get your passport. In Canada for kids you need these items you may not already have on hand:

  • Long form birth certificate (or certified birth registration if in Ontario and 15 or under)
  • Custody or legal documents pertaining to your kids (if any) this is holding us up, and lead to many tears.

For adults, this is where I became stressed you need:

  • Birth certificate
  • Photo ID that is government issued. Has to have birthdate, photo, signature and full name. It also has to be valid (not expired) address doesn’t matter.

These items above you can and have to order (if you don’t already have them) before booking trips and getting your passport. Probably known information, but I didn’t know and a lot of stress could have been avoided had I done a but more research back in April when I started planning my trip and finalized non-refundable plane tickets. We are currently waiting on Archives Canada to send my custody papers from almost 16 years ago to the local courthouse where I resided at the time, then I have to go there and get them — and we’ll be SET to go get our passports, finally!

Tips for Planning a Trip and Getting a new Canadian Passport

One of the biggest stresses for me was my sons long form birth certificate. It lists parental information. His biological dad has never seen him, never supported him or anything so I was worried, because I know as a young teen I put his information down. How was this going to work?

If the father is listed on the birth certificate he has to sign off on the passport. BUT – and this is a BIG but that actually put me at ease before his information arrived: if the dad is listed on the birth certificate but there is no court information, custody papers, you don’t know where the dad (or mom) is etc you can write a declaration stating this and present it to the agents when you go hand in your passport paperwork. They’ll approve it or deny it for you. So there is options if mom or dad isn’t in the picture but are listed.

If they aren’t, like my sons biological father, it’s fine. You don’t need him and thank goodness for that. Someone my son has never met in almost 16 years could have costed him this trip of a lifetime he’s looking for forward to. What a world that would be, right? But now we have to wait for a copy of our custody papers as I lost mine, since they were from almost 16 years ago (oops!)

Luckily, we got everything else we needed with lots of time to spare (we leave fists week of Sept and mid-July everything has arrived) relief.

I wish there was a post out there like this one when u was googling a million words a minute when going through all this. I wish there was more clear experiences or information that others provide to save all the stress and tears I went through during this whole process.

Hopefully these tips can help others ease into planning a trip and getting their passports in time. I’m sure grateful for those who have helped me and put up with me during these long few weeks it took to get everything for this trip we needed.

Not sure the family dynamic mentioned here? Check out this post to learn more.

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