Sep 272006

I had to take the kids in to get passport photos done today, since we’ll be travelling with them outside of Canada. I found a local place with experience in taking photos for different countries (Canada and New Zealand); the requirements are different. For example, Canada wants a white background for the photos, while New Zealand wants a light but not white background. Both countries expect photos with eyes open and mouth closed and no visible hands, so the photographer put a cloth over the hand holding the front of the baby. She kept turning to look at me, or smiling at the photographer, but eventually we were done. Fortunately there is an intersection set of who’s allowed to sign the back of the photos to say this is really the child in the photo (our family doctor); New Zealand will allow any New Zealander or one of a number of professions to be a witness (guarantor of identity), while Canada insists on the professions (doctor, accountant, etc). One could wonder why people who engage in other professions aren’t considered good enough to verify your identity in Canada. Why not your employer, for example? And why is geoscientist on the list, but not physicist or computer scientist?

  2 Responses to “Baby Passports”

  1. Australia used to be similar to Canada, which was a real pain after I’d just moved interstate a few years back, needed a renewal and did not have a sufficiently long relationship with any doctor or lawyer or other approved person. Fortunately, they heard my mental anguish and changed it to any Australian passport holder who wasn’t related to you and had known you for five years — which has become much easier.

    I’m not sure that requiring some “traditionally honorable” professional makes the process any less vulnerable than somebody who is willing to put down their own identifying details and an “under penalty of perjury” claim that they believe you are who you say you are. I mean that list of professionals for Canada is pretty close to a list of industries that have had major corruption scandals in the last decade.

  2. I suspect it might also involve professions that have a certified, accredited professional body. Geoscientists have that (APEGBC — Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. — comes to mind), but physicists and computers scientists don’t.

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