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What is an ePassport? Do you need one?

It’s important to take steps to protect yourself against fraud and identity theft. The Government of Canada has taken steps to make your passport more secure through the ePassport.

About the ePassport

The ePassport is actually not new; it has been available since July 1, 2013. Although the name of the passport can be a little deceiving, the ePassport has nothing to do with the Internet. The e stands for the electronic chip that is embedded in the back cover of the passport.

Also referred to as a biometric passport, the ePassport looks similar to a traditional passport, with the exception of the electronic chip. This chip contains a digital picture of your face and all the information found on page 2 of your regular passport. The chip helps to reduce fraud and prevent tampering. The chip does not contain any type of tracking device, and information can be read from the chip only if it is within 10 cm of a reader. It does not record or transmit information when it is being read.

Things you should know about the Canadian ePassport

  1. You do not need to replace your regular passport: You are not required to apply for an ePassport. You can still use your old passport until it expires.
  2. You must still pay a passport fee: A five-year passport now costs $120, and you have the option of getting a 10-year passport for $160.
  3. It cannot track you: The ePassport will not track your travel. It simply holds your passport information on the chip.
  4. It is still valid if the chip fails: Don’t worry, your passport will still be valid if the chip fails. However, if it does fail, report it to your local passport office.
  5. It has new artwork: The ePassport has new artwork that celebrates the unique regions and cultures of Canada.

The government introduced the new passport because of its successful track record in other countries. “The United States, the United Kingdom, and France are some of the more than 100 countries that have used ePassports for several years without reporting any electronic chip failures,” says Erika Tucker in Global News.

Do I need an ePassport?

You are not required to get an ePassport, but it’s a good idea. Anything that has additional security features and can help protect your passport from being compromised is a worthy investment.

When your passport comes up for renewal, compare the pros and cons of getting an ePassport.