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.

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