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Is Canada planning to offer mobile passports?

31 Jul 2018

Is Canada planning to offer mobile passports


Having a Canada Passport is a big deal. In a matter of five or 10 years, people fill out forms, gather   references and photographs, mail it to Passport Canada, for renewing it to use while travelling abroad. There is a possibility that you can do it from a phone.

A public opinion research of IRCC suggests that Canada is considering whether it can renew passport through the  mobile application. It is also seeking an answer regarding the attitude of the people towards using virtual/mobile passports.

The authorities asked participants regarding their perspective on the passport of the future to use. Presently there are new technologies, and also there was an enthusiastic response. Some of the people expressed the possibility of its misuse. Convenience was the main consideration for these participants. Additionally, there are concerns on safeguards to ensure the privacy and security of information.

Additional matter

People aged above 58 years preferred not to use the option of a mobile passport. Canada presently uses an e-Passport which was launched in 2013. It contains an electronic chip in the back cover to hold the personal data of the second page. Other Countries like the USA, the UK and France also use a similar model.

The options raise questions whether people could be sure in preventing wrong use or frauds in some cases. Moreover, there was a doubt whether users could be comfortable while storing personal/financial data and also use the passport on a phone.

The group participants expressed their comfort level with the passport renewal app as well as mobile passport and uncomfortable to use a virtual passport.

Method of work

In the second scenario they use the existing e Passport at a check-in point, have facial recognition to follow and identify them, so that the people need not bring it out, and reveal  it at the gate. Participants were not convinced regarding the ease of use. In the virtual passport, there were concerns on privacy of personal data, and surveillance and also on sharing such information.

Experts point out the challenges of protecting data that are in use for renewing or using mobile passports. Such biometric information, in a database will become a target for some hackers. Any passport covers all issues and is a gold mine of information. In case of any complications the results are intrusive.

Participants also made a suggestion regarding adding Canadian customs eDeclaration, calculators for currency conversion, travel advisories, visa requirements and the ability to register with foreign embassies and consulates using the app.

Other details

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection is officially endorsing an app- Mobile Passport which is in use in 25 American airports.

  • Personal data in this case undergoes encryption and is also stored by Customs and Border Protection.

  • There is no clarity whether IRCC wants to develop its own app for mobile passports or else use the present one.

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