CITIZENSHIP and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has announced improvements to passport services for Canadians living and working outside Canada.

The improvements took effect on  December 9. Canadians living and working outside Canada will have the option of choosing as a guarantor:

* an adult with a valid or recently expired Canadian passport (less than a year); or

* a member of an expanded list of a variety of occupations (listed below).

“Canada is continuing to make the passport application process more efficient and streamlined for Canadians living abroad,” said Alexander. “As of December 9, 2013, if you are applying for a Canadian passport abroad, finding a guarantor will be much simpler.”

In addition, the list of guarantor occupations will be consistent for all Canadian passport applicants, wherever they may be outside Canada. If you prefer to choose a guarantor from the list of occupations below, they do not need to be Canadian citizens.

The new universal guarantor list will consist of the following occupations, found around the world:

* medical doctor;

* dean / head of university or college;

* dentist;

* judge;

* lawyer / notary;

* notary public;

* pharmacist;

* police officer;

* signing officer of a bank or trust company or of a financial institution that offers a full range of banking services (cash withdrawals, deposits, savings); and

* veterinarian.

Travelers may also consult, where Canadians can find the information they need to travel or live abroad safely and to make informed decisions.

Canada now issues ePassports, which are considered the gold standard for travel documents worldwide. A Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians who want to travel abroad. As always, the Passport Canada Program strives to strike the best possible balance between security, service and cost.