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Passport woes: Pakistani expats in Canada

June 14, 2013

I AM currently studying at a university of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. My passport will expire in four months. I need to renew it. I visited the website of the Pakistan High Commission in Canada and discovered that machine-readable passports (MRP) are issued by the Pakistani consulate in Toronto only.

The Vancouver office issues only manual passports for Pakistani citizens. Moreover, there is an announcement on the website of the Pakistan high commission in Vancouver that all new manual passports will be valid till November, 2015, while the machine-readable passports are valid for 10 years and charges for manual passports are the same as for the MRP.

Considering that my four years of undergraduate degree will complete in 2014, I would be applying for post-graduate work permit which will be of three years’ duration. Unfortunately, I will not be able to get a full three-year duration postgraduate work permit because no Canadian visa/permit document can be valid beyond the date of expiry of the candidate’s passport. In my case, my passport will again expire in November 2015.

I will have to again reapply for permit extension and passport renewal, paying all fees again. I have read a couple of newspapers stating that Vancouver and some other consulates already have the equipment for MRP but because of absence of staff, they are not issuing MRP to applicants.

I am not alone who will be going through this unwanted trouble. Flying time between Toronto and Vancouver is four-and-a-half hours (nine hours in total). A return air ticket can cost between 500 and 800 Canadian dollars. For a student like me, it is almost impossible to go to Toronto for renewing passport.

I request the authorities concerned to issue MRPs from the nearest possible high commission in Canada, in particular, because of the size of the country, and the world over, in general.

ABID REHMAN Vancouver, Canada