If you're a Canadian citizen applying for an American IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), you must submit a certified true copy of your Canadian passport. ITINs are required for many reasons. Essentially, an individual who is ineligible for an American Social Security Number (SSN), but who needs a taxpayer identification number, must apply for an ITIN. If you are reading this, you may already be familiar with the IRS Form W-7. Please be aware that the definition, and nature, of a the term 'certified true copy' has changed with regards to newly enacted IRS rules. This is critical, because submitting an invalid certified true copy of your Canadian passport will result in your ITIN application being rejected by the IRS.
Brosgall Legal | Notary Services (as well as all Canadian lawyers or notaries) cannot provide this service. In order to get a proper 'Exemplified Copy' of your Canadian passport (that will be valid for the ITIN Form W-7 application process), you need to go to the Issuing Agency (Passport Canada).
Certified True Copy vs. Exemplified Copy (Issuing Agency)
There is some confussion regarding the terminology surrounding the ID copy requirements for ITIN applications. In British Columbia, typically, a certified true copy is created when a Notary Public or lawyer compares a copy of a document to the original, and then certifies it to be a true copy of that original. The notary then applies a stamp or attaches a notarial certificate confirming same. An exemplified copy (or exemplification) is an official attested copy or transcript of a public instrument, made under the seal and original pen-in-hand signature of a court or public functionary. Exemplifications can only be attested and executed by either the authority holding the record or the issuing authority/agency itself. Exemplified copies can also be extracts or transcripts made directly from the original by the issuing agency. In contrast, a certified true copy is attested by a notary public or lawyer who did not execute the original, and are signed and sealed by the notary (not the issuing authority or recorder). Essentially, an exemplified copy is an official true copy, and a certified true copy is a facsimile.
ITIN Certified Copy Requirements for IRS
The IRS now requires what we described above as an exemplification, disallowing what is typically referred to as a certified true copy in BC. Nevertheless, even though the IRS requires the exemplification process, they call it a certified true copy... and that's where the confusion arises. So, you will need to go to a 'Passport Canada' office to get the copy of your passport made. It takes about 3 weeks, and you will need to leave your passport with them. Their fee is approximately CDN $30.00 for up to three copies. The closest Passport Canada office is located in the Sinclair Centre, in downtown Vancouver, BC.
Vancouver Notary Public, Commissioner of Oaths, and Lawyer
Brosgall Legal's owner and principal, Adam Brosgall, is an experienced Vancouver Notary Public, Commissioner of Oaths, and Lawyer. Adam is fully qualified, licenced, and insured to make certified and notarized copies (but cannot make 'exemplified copies'). If you have any questions, please feel free to send us an email, or call 604-685-ADAM  to book an appointment. Same day service and walk-ins are welcome. Please see our Vancouver Notary home page for our other services, and we look forward to seeing you.