Skip to main content

Demand surges for passports as COVID-19 rules relax

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, more people are wanting to travel.

But even before getting to Disney, Mark Robinson faced lines. When he showed up to get his son’s passport renewed Friday, dozens of people were waiting ahead of him.

“Now we’re in a bit of a panic to get it renewed before we go,” Robinson said.

His trip to Disney is scheduled for about two weeks from now.

Meghan Snyder and Cameron MacLeod arrived at around 8:20 a.m. and waited for about four hours.

Online, the Government of Canada says it’s experiencing high volumes of calls right now. Wait times are longer than usual.

Maja Stefanovska, a spokesperson with Employment and Social Development Canada, said as of Wednesday, the average processing time for passports is five business days if applying in person, and 17 business days if applying by mail.

“With the resumption of travel, Service Canada is experiencing an increase in passport applications across the country. Priority for appointments is given to clients with immediate travel needs based on their date of travel,” Stefanovska said.

In Halifax, appointments are now being booked for April 25. Stefanovska said if an earlier appointment is required, arrangements will be made to serve clients at the nearest alternate location to be able to access the service, in-person and by appointment.

“There’s absolutely pent-up demand for travel. Travellers have been homebound for the last two years,” said Lorn Sheehan, a professor with Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business.

Just ask Laura Eagles and Gary Coones who were leaving Halifax Stanfield International Airport for Cuba Friday.

“This is actually our fourth time trying to get on a plane since the pandemic started. We’re nervous but excited,” Eagles said.

Starting April 1, fully vaccinated travellers won’t need a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada.

A shift that could also accelerate travel.

“It makes logistics a lot easier that means more people will be willing to travel and feel confident travelling,” Sheehan said.

It all could bring more people to Service Canada. Kaelan Workman avoided the line by mailing his documents in. He said it took about six weeks for his passport to arrive.

“If you can get your passport in ahead of time, definitely do it cause there’s a bit of wait time there,” Workman said. Top Stories

Stay Connected