Passports are government documents issued to citizens for travel to other countries. Passports can be useful when researching your ancestors.

On this page

Before you start

Gather information such as:

  • name
  • approximate year of birth
  • place or province where the person lived

Places to look

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds only a few records relating to Canadian passports.

The Government of Canada kept some samples of passports for historical purposes. Those 130 sample files relate to passports issued between 1891 and 1920 (Consular Division series, Department of External Affairs fonds, RG25-A-5-c, volumes 711 and 712).

There are also some passports in the collections of individuals who donated their personal papers to us.

To find out if there is a record relating to your ancestor, use Collection Search.

  • Click on Advanced search
  • In All these words, enter a person’s name
  • In Any of these words, enter the English word passport and/or the French word passeport
  • In This exact phrase, enter "RG25" if you want to search that series
  • Select Collections and Fonds database

Search tips

  • The use of passports was not common before the First World War.
  • The Canadian government did not collect nor keep copies of immigrants’ passports when they arrived.
  • The Passport Office does not keep expired passports or passport applications.

Access the records

Digitized records

If you find a record of interest, there may be a digital image. Some of these are available through Collection Search. Others, particularly digitized microforms, are available through Héritage.

Records that are not digitized

For records that are not digitized, you'll need to see them in person. If you can't visit us in person, you can order copies or hire a researcher.

Related resources

Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers collection (MG30 E406)

Files relating to immigrants whose passports were issued in the former Russian Empire are found in the LI-RA-MA collection. Those passport files are digitized and searchable by name in the Immigrants from the Russian Empire, 1898-1922 database