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The Canadian Passport Essay

1754 words - 8 pages

The Canadian passport is a travelling document used by citizens of Canada. Issued by Passport Canada, an independent agency under Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it enables bearers to enter and exit Canada as well as travel to other countries subject to visa requirements.[1] Citizens of Canada wishing to obtain a passport do so by application to Passport Canada.[2]
Origins of the Passport

One of the first mentions of a form of papers used to travel across countries borders is in the Hebrew Bible. Nehemiah asks King Artaxerxes I of Persia if he can be given letters to the governors of the Trans-Euphrates and to Asaph to ensure his safe passage to Judah.[3] King Artaxerxes ruled ...view middle of the document...

[12] Before the book format of passport was introduced in 1988 the British passports held the familiar colour of dark blue, from 1988 onwards the Secretary of State started issuing the European Union format burgundy passport.[13]

After the year 1998, every individual has to apply for his/her own passport, and it became no longer acceptable for individuals to include their children or spouse in one passport. Britain also had a period of time from 1961 to 1995 when The British Visitor’s Passport was issued to British citizens, British Dependent Territories citizens or British Overseas residents in the United Kingdom for 8 years, for convenience of travelling around western Europe,[14] it was discontinued due to the issuing of the European Union format passport. Records of British passport applicants dated to up to 1674 can be found at The National Archives.[15]
Origins of the Canadian Passport

The initial development of the Canadian passport started as a result of increased border tensions with the United States during the American Civil War and Canada's new-found independence from Britain.[16] Prior to 1862, no Canadian passport existed.[17] Initially, Canadians could travel to and from the United States freely without any passport or official documentation.[18] To travel to Europe, however, Canadians were required to obtain a British passport from the Foreign Office in London.[19]

When the American Civil War began in 1862, the United States tightened their security and began to require more secure identification from Canadians wanting to travel to and from the United States.[20] This first iteration of the Canadian passport lacked much of the information contained in today's passports and consisted only of a single-page Letter of Request signed by the Governor General.[21]

After the creation of the first few Canadian passports as a result of the American Civil War, so few passports were issued that not much else was recorded about their usage during the beginning of Canada's post-Confederation period in the late 1800's.[22] However, in 1914, when the First World War caused yet another heightening of border security and tensions between countries grew, the development and increased prevalence of the Canadian passport became inevitable.
Increased Use of Passports in the 20th Century

Prior to World War I, passport enforcement was considerably more lenient compared to the security standards today. The need to control emigration and concerns about the safety of citizens played a crucial role in the increase of passport regulation throughout the 20th century.[23] The post-war unemployment rates in the United Kingdom created a need for more stringent policy on the allowance of the emigration of foreign workers.[24] Furthermore, the concern about public safety during the World Wars influenced the stringency of passport regulations when concerned with the crossing of borders.[25] During the interwar period, there was pressure from...

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