How to renew your Canadian passport abroad

As a Canadian living in the UK, I had to renew my Canadian passport but I had no idea what to do.

But thankfully, I figured it out! Here’s exactly what to do when renewing an Adult Canadian Passport while abroad.

The whole process can be broken down into 4 steps:

Step 1 – the application

The application can be filled in electronically and they do recommend doing it that way, but you can print and fill it in my hand if that’s easier.

For me, I had an address that wouldn’t fit in the designated spot, so I filled in everything else electronically, printed it off, and then filled in the remaining bits. You’ll need to print it off at the end anyway as you’ll be sending it in the mail.

The application itself is only two pages long and requires the basic stuff you’d expect:

  • your details such as full name, birthday, height
  • your passport details
  • your address for the last two years
  • your employment details for the last two years
  • two references

These references cannot be family but anyone else who has known you for at least two years. They also don’t need to sign the application, so you can use friends back in Canada without having them fill in the details themselves.

How to renew your Canadian passport in the UK

if you’ve completed a UK visa application before, this will be a piece of cake.

Note: because you’re renewing an Adult Passport, you do not need to worry about having a Guarantor. This makes the whole process so much easier.

Step 2 – the photos

The application specialises that the photos need to be done by a studio and not by yourself of a passport photo booth.

I ended up going to “Max Spielmann” or “Max Photo” which are a photo-printing place but they also do professional passport photos.

All in all, it took me about 10 mins. I got four photos plus a digital copy and the studio signed the back of one photo as per the instructions. They just need to write the business name, address and date. You don’t need a Guarantor to sign these. My total cost was about £14.

As part of your application, you’ll need to submit two photos – one with the writing on the back and one without. I’d definitely recommend taking the Canadian Passport Photo Requirements to your photographer so there’s no confusion.

Step 3 – the fees

When I completed this in 2023, the cost for a 10-year passport $260 CAD and it’s paid for online.

Annoyingly, you’ll need to make an account on the website and then go through the prompts to pay for a 10-year Adult Passport (you can choose 5 year passport at this stage if you want).

You’ll be emailed a special receipt that proves you’ve paid once you’re finished. This must be included in your application.

Step 4 – time to mail it

The next step is to mail it! Check this website that lists nearby embassies or consulates. For me, the closest location was in London.

Just make sure that the location you choose offers Passport Services: it’ll say this online as part of the website’s list.

Then simply package your stuff up and send it to that address!

I chose to pay for Royal Mail 24 Signature which ended up being about £3. I would definitely recommend paying for postage that includes tracking so you know that your package has successfully reached it’s destination.

As part of your renewal, you must include:

  • your printed application (make sure everything is filled in and signed)
  • two passport photos (one with the studio details written on the back and one without)
  • your receipt that shows you’ve paid
  • your old passport

How long until I get my new passport?

I submitted my passport via my local post office on Sept 5. 13 business days later, on Friday 22 September, I received my passport at my home in the UK. That’s it! I was so surprised.

The Canada Gov website estimates it takes about 20 days to receive your new passport, but it could be longer if there are any delays.