Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Canadian passport for new citizens

This post is long overdue, I got my passport more than a month ago :) But is never late to share some of the information, specially if you are looking for it! To get the Canadian passport is way easier than to get the Venezuelan! xD

For a Canadian adult, this is what you will need:
  • Two identical passport photos taken in the last 12 months. Go to one of those places that specifically say they take passport pictures, as they know what they are doing. They will stamp some information behind the pictures, like the place and the date the photo was taken (necessary!).
  • This application form completed. Both the application form and one of the pictures, signed behind by your guarantor.
  • Proof of your canadian citinzenship. This is your citinzenship card they gave you the day of the ceremony!
  • Documents to support your identity. Driver's license, other passport, health card, any of them work.
  • The fees! $87. They can be paid by credit card or debit card at the office if you are going. Or fill out the credit card information on the form if you are sending your papers.
The application form explains really well everything you need to know about the papers. These are the questions that I've seen asked or I had to ask myself:
  • How long does it take? Officially it takes around 10 days if you go to the offices. More if you go to a certified "partner" like some Canada Post. Mine took less than that, around a week.
  • Do I have to pick it up? If you don't have special circunstances (like paying for the express service), they send it to you (signature required) and is included in the price.
  • Who can be your guarantor? The application form says among other things "hold a five-year Canadian passport that is valid or has been expired for less than one year on the day you submit your application". The guarantor doesn't have to have had the passport for 5 years! They may have it for a week or a day, it doesn't matter! But the passport has to be a 5 year validity passport!
  • In the section 4.C, the date of issue of the certificate of canadian citizenship. Is the date that the little card says, not the date you got the citinzenship!
  • How long do I have to wait in line if I go to the office? I was there around half an hour before the opening time and was out about an hour later!
Hopes this help a little! Enjoy getting your passport!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Black and White

Canada, the country where immigrants love to become extremists! Obviously not everyone is like that, and I'm happy to say my friends are far from that, but there is something about extremists that screams so loud, is hard to ignore.

Extremists will say "no one", "everyone", "all" and other things like that. They will use caplocks to scream their point. They won't take other people experiences, "everyone" else is lying.

I can't say for sure why they do this, but my guess is that they have hit brick walls on their path and are mad about it. They think that if they had a hard time through something, of course everyone else will. They may have some wisdom in their words, but please, don't listen only to extremists, don't let them get you down, do your own research, talk with a lot more people, don't believe everything they say as they say it.

Some of the things people have told me in the past:
  • "Whatever level of english you think you have, is not enough here and you won't understand anyone. You'll have to take classes here". This was someone living here, I was still in Venezuela, the conversation was in spanish. It's a complete lie! Everyone has their own abilities.
  • "For everything in Canada you need a license, to change a lightbulb, to do nails, etc". Please read about your own area of work and investigate. Some need licenses, not absolutely everything. My area (computers) don't need it, don't exagerate people.
  • "You need a valid Venezuelan passport to enter Venezuela". Oh, it was even in caplocks and everything, I wonder why the experience of several other people didn't matter for her. I have several friends and family that travel to Venezuela more than once a year, with Canadian and North American passports and the "c├ędula" (Venezuelan ID) and not the Venezuelan passport. If you have it, nice, great, even better, but you don't need it if you have another valid passport and the Venezuelan ID.
  • "I don't get together with any venezuelans here, because they never help and they always try to do something bad to you". Any? Always? Never? What am I then? I don't want/need everyone to like me or venezuelans, but please don't come with ideas that everyone is the same. Oh, and however you behave, thats the type of people you will attract ;)
  • "All Canadians are cold". Simply not true, there is everything in life.
  • "Canada is too cold, you'll never get used to it". Everyone is different, Canada is big!
I hope I'm not black and white. I try to look at both sides of the coin, and I'm very careful before giving advises that are extreme. My venezuelan and non-venezuelan friends are ALL wonderful and I love them. Canada is a great country with its good things and its flaws. Read, ask, live!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Venezuelan passport in Toronto - Part I

I don't know how other countries work to get their immigrants new passports in their new home. Here in Toronto, we had to be happy with renewals of the passport every year (a new picture and seal from the consulate). If you wanted a new passport, you had to go to Venezuela to get it!

They just implemented a new process in which we can get our new passports here! We have to register online to get an appointment and you have to check the web page every day to see when is granted and when it is. You can't go when you have time, you can't go before work hours. You'll get a day and you better stick with it even if you don't like it! And the time will be between 9:30 and 12:30! If you miss the date, you can't ask for another appointment for a few months, and then you try again; ask for the appointment and cross your fingers the new day is not as bad for you.

Yesterday I had my appointment. The first day of the process here in Toronto! I always try to be on top of things and do everything as soon as I can. But pioneers have a problem, pioneers always get everything and anything that can go wrong in a completly new thing.

My appointment was set, January 2nd! Really? In Canada? I called 2 times to the Consulate "are you really open on the 2nd?", "yes, we are". Turns out there was a problem with the system (second strike) and the system didn't take into account that it was a holiday here. Oh, and the first strike? When registering for the appointment, the system didn't take letters in the postal code of your current address... really? I choose Canada but can't use letters on the postal code? Use 0000, 1234, whatever, it works.

So I got there at 9:50am, since my appointment was a 10am (they called from the Consulate to let me know of the time). Happy that is a holiday so I don't have to miss work. Just be here maybe an hour and then I can go and enjoy my day! WRONG!! I left at 4pm!

We spent there hours and hours waiting. "The system conexion is down in Caracas (Venezuela), we can't do anything, they are working on it". We got that every hour aprox. At around 2pm, the consul told us that we could leave and they would make a new appointment for us, or we could keep waiting, because it could come back any minute now! (4 little kids and a baby waiting with their parents, poor little guys). So everyone but 2 of us leave. We decide to stay and gamble the afternoon, the system will be back today!

At 4pm they tell us that they are not even picking up the phone in Venezuela anymore. They seemed to have left, without fixing the system, and without informing the Consulate. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I'm pretty sure this is impossible to believe to any Canadian! One guy was missing work and his employer couldn't believe this actually happened, I hope he gets to keep his job!. Another one, his canadian wife wouldn't believe him. I get it, I really do, this is something straight out of the impossible, but really, if we were going to lie about where we spent the whole day, would we choose something as unbelievable and stupid as this?

Welcome to the third world people, we can be waiting for 6 whole hours to get a picture and fingerprint taken, and still go home empty handed to have to come back another day!