Summertime, and the Anglos are traveling. But if you’re an Anglo of the Israeli-Canadian persuasion, it’s important to prepare early if you are planning to travel out of the country this summer. Applying for a Canadian passport has become quite involved, with a number of new requirements, especially if your old passport expired more than a year ago. NOTE: Please see the bottom of this article for more information about office hours and requirements for processing your Canadian passport.*
I just visited the Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv. The first thing you should know is that if you’re coming from Jerusalem, the embassy is very easy to get to. Take the 405 from the capital, and get off at the LaGuardia Interchange (the stop before the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station). From there, it is a five minute walk to Beit Canada; you do not have to transfer to a Tel Aviv city bus – or pay 40 shekels for a taxi the way I did the first time I went there as a new olah!
Inside, the passport office is a clean and pleasant place. Be aware that you will not be permitted to use your laptop, cell phone or iPad, but instead will have to check your electronic device with the security guard. You are also not allowed to bring in large packages or luggage items, or to eat or drink in the office. There is a water dispenser for your convenience.
I had left my home in Jerusalem at 6:30 in the morning to get to the embassy soon after it opened at 8:00 AM. There were just two people ahead of me, so I only had to wait about fifteen minutes. Apparently the passport office does get quite crowded later in the morning, though, and it is especially busy on Fridays.
Although I had checked the passport application requirements in advance with the embassy website, I was a little nervous, afraid that I had missed some detail. A friendly fellow Canadian who had arrived after me (but just to pick up passports that were ready – lucky her!) went over the list with me. She seemed impressed that I had brought a certified check rather than cash, and that I had gotten an acceptable guarantor.
When it was my turn to meet with the passport clerk, I felt fairly self-confident. She looked over my application. Proper form? Check. Filled out in black ink, all in capital letters? Check. Proof of citizenship? Check. Professional photos taken within the last 6 months, of the right dimensions and with the proper facial expression? Check. Payment? Check – and a certified one, at that.
However, if an applicant’s Canadian passport has expired more than a year ago, as mine had, an additional form of official identification, with signature, is required. I had my slightly – ok, very – battered Canadian social insurance card in addition to my old passport, but apparently that was not sufficient. The clerk asked for my Israeli passport or driver’s license (an Israeli “teudat zehut” is not acceptable). I don’t drive, and my Israeli passport had also expired. In fact, updating that was the next errand on my list.
Although the clerk was sympathetic and took the time to double check with her supervisor, my ID was just not good enough. So I’m off to renew my Israeli passport and then to head back to the Canadian embassy to prove that I am who I think I am.
Oh well … at least I got a walk on the beach out of the whole excursion.
*DISCLAIMER: THIS INFORMATION IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND NOT GUARANTEED TO BE ACCURATE IN EACH INDIVIDUAL CASE. PLEASE CHECK WITH THE EMBASSY FOR UPDATES AND SPECIFIC QUESTIONS.
The Canadian embassy in Israel is at 3 Nirim, Tel Aviv. Passport applications and renewals are accepted 8:00 to noon, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, except on Israeli and Canadian holidays.
Tel: (011 972 3) 636-3300
Fax: (011 972 3) 636-3380
If you are living in Israel, you will need to complete and submit the correct form for a Canadian applying from abroad – simplified renewal (if your passport is still valid or expired less than one year ago), adult application or child application. See http://www.ppt.gc.ca/info/ for detailed information and to download the form needed in your case.
For an application, the form must be signed by an acceptable guarantor (judge, lawyer, physician or signing officer of a bank) after you yourself have completed and signed it. In addition, you will need to submit:
- Acceptable proof of citizenship or immigration status
- Acceptable proof of identity
- Names & contact details of 2 references
- 2 photos according to the specifications in the passport instructions. (Read them carefully and make sure the photographer is familiar with them as well.) One of these photos must be verified and signed by your guarantor. IMPORTANT NEWS FOR MANY ISRAEL RESIDENTS: In the past, photographs which showed the applicant wearing a head covering were not allowed; now they are permitted if the person wears a head covering every day for religious or medical reasons. According the requirements: “your full face must be clearly visible and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.”
- For both application and simplified renewal:
- The current fee in either Canadian Dollars or New Israeli Shekels, in the form of a certified check (“check bankayit”) or postal money order only, payable to “Canadian Embassy Tel Aviv.” THE EMBASSY DOES NOT ACCEPT PERSONAL CHECKS, CREDIT CARDS, DEBIT CARDS OR CASH IN ANY CURRENCY.
Processing time is approximately 15 working days.