How to Get Certified True Copies of Your Passport During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by | Published Oct 18, 2020 | Edited Oct 25, 2022


  1. ITIN Application for Canadians: Do You Need to File a US Tax Return?
  2. How to Get Certified True Copies of Your Passport During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. All About the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic has led to the indefinite closure of most Service Canada locations (check here to see if your local offices are open). This is problematic for those looking to get Certified True Copies of their Passport for purposes of applying for an ITIN number and getting into the American credit card market

In light of this, you have two options: 

  1. Mail your real passport with your application for ITIN, and cross your fingers that the IRS sends it back to you (baring a sender error or typo on the address, they will).
  2. Request Certified True Copies from Service Canada by mail. You will need to send them your passport by mail along with payment. The turnaround time is ~1-2 months.

For 1), you just apply for an ITIN as usual but include your real passport instead of certified copies. We’ve previously discussed the ITIN application process and also offer a streamlined ITIN service.  

The only reason to use 2) would be that you place more trust in the Canadian postal service than the US/IRS. The total time to get your ITIN will be longer since it may take up to 30-60 days for Service Canada to send the true copies, and then the ~65 days for IRS turnaround. You will also pay an additional $45 CAD to Service Canada for the certified true copies.

If you want to use method 2), the information can be found here.

To clarify, the process for requesting certified true copies of your passport from Service Canada by mail is as follows:

  1. Complete Request for certified true copy of Canadian travel document [PPTC 516] (PDF, 52.47 KB)
  2. Complete Gov. of Canada payment authorization form, indicating Certified True Copies as the service and $45 as the amount.
  3. Package the two forms up with your Passport and mail to the Service Canada mailing address: 
    • Government of Canada
    • Passport Program
    • Gatineau, Quebec
    • K1A 0G3

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has added a few more convolutions to an already convoluted ITIN application process. Hopefully, this has cleared up the current options you have to move forward with the ITIN application. As always, leave comments, questions, and experiences in the comment section.

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the science (and art) of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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6 comments on “How to Get Certified True Copies of Your Passport During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. A relevant article, many thanks. Few churners know about the mail in option.

    There is also Option Three. Most Canadian embassies and consulates will do true certified copies for the same fee. And these are as good for IRS as those done by Service Canada. Of course, if works only if you happen to be travelling these days.

    Reply
    • Thanks Osvald, that is very useful info. I’ve also just learned that one can take their ITIN documents and passport to a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) to submit their application and verify identity in person. A useful option if anyone did happen to be travelling in the USA during this time.

      Reply