The True North Strong in Fee

Canadian PassportFor all the noise I’ve made about the recent visa situation here in China, or bureaucracy here in general, I tend to forget that this isn’t a China-exclusive thing.

Before I can get my visa renewed next month, I need first to renew my passport. No big deal really, a couple of photos, an application form signed by a person of substance that has known me for 2 years and a fee – voila, presto chango I’ve 5 more years of stamp collecting.

But wait – A/Bing the process with that which befalls my brothers and sisters not fortunate enough to live abroad, and I’ve noticed one major difference – I’m being screwed. Royally (Canada being part of the Commonwealth and all).

  1. The fee for a 48-page passport renewal in Canada is $105 (710 RMB) – the fee for us folks here in China is 810 RMB ($120).
  2. Due to simplified passport processes (because the US is going to be demanding we produce ’em while border-crossing after 2009) – Canadians at home are no longer required to get the signature of a guarantor (a doctor, lawyer, judget, etc. that has known you for 2+ years) to certify you are indeed you. But us chumps abroad, despite being in a situation where we may or may not have known anyone in this country for more than two years, let alone know “professional” folks, are required to get this signature.
  3. Additionally, one of the stipulations is that the guarantor must sign without a monetary reward (can’t pay some opportunistic SOB to do it). However, should you not be able to get the signature of a guarantor, the Canadian embassy or consulate here in China is happy enough to assume you are you, and sign it for you – for a 385 RMB ($55) “legal” fee. Yeah… that’s stretching the term “legal” just about as far as it can go.

So, simply because I am not in my home country, and am in the process of actually using the damn passport, I am forced to pay 75% more than were I to be back in Canada.

9 Responses

  1. I suggest the Canadian government cut costs by outsourcing their passport printing to a Chinese company 🙂

    Hmm person of substance….

  2. 810 RMB is a snip compared to getting a new British passport whilst overseas. A few months back I paid a whopping 1500 RMB (approx., I forgot already) for a standard new British passport in Shanghai. Apparently it also includes “Consular services”, hence the massive extra cost (4x more than getting one in the UK).

    I intend to get myself rescued/airlifted at the expense of Her Majesty sometime in the next 10 years, in order to re-coup some of that extra fee!

  3. if it makes you feel any better about the border corssing thing, the US also makes americans show theirs to get to canada. no more weekend trips to windsor ontario for all those 19 year old would-be drunk michiganders (michiganians? michiganites? what the hell am i anyway?).

    i forget the exact price for adding pages to a US passport in shanghai but i recall it being costly enough that i decided to pass and hope i don’t run out of space in the next few months.

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  5. That’s sounds a bit expensive (not to mention a pain in the ass). Not sure how the US passports are going at the moment–though I’ve heard it’s slow getting one. Fortunately, I still have two years remaining on mine (if it doesn’t fall apart before then). I’m hoping to be back home by the time my passport expires.

  6. @Steven: My complaint isn’t so much the cost, though that’s a stupid amount ($100 for government-approved ID?). My complaint is more the unbalanced expense and complexity of getting it abroad compared to at home. They just mail it back to Canada anyway.

    @Kellen: Actually, it’d be the Canadian border that makes Americans show their passport, and I’m sure it’s because the US govn’t is insisting on the reverse for “security” reasons.

    @Mark: Really? Play on “True North Strong and Free”… like our “Home of the brave” or whatever.

    @ChinaMatt: I had that exact same consideration. Never expected to be out of Canada when my passport expired…. and yet here I am.


    As an update – I went yesterday to Shanghai, paid all the fees and will hopefully have my passport back before (A) I need a new visa, or (B) am required to show it to some nosy PSB officer.

    One more complaint on the pile – when a consulate has a waiting room full of Canadians (these aren’t visa applicants, as that’s restricted to mornings) being forced to wait 2 hours for 5 minutes of service – it’s time to hire on another young girl to take the applications.

    I’m sure we could do without the over-sized plasma screen blasting Canadian scenery onto us if it would help pay her salary.

  7. Ah yes, I too recently went to Guangzhou to get a new Canadian passport. Aside from flying to Guangzhou it was a lot less iritating than getting it in Toronto plus I now have a passport that says..”issued in Guangzhou”

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