How to Get an Ontario Photo Card
Every time that you seek services such as opening a bank account or board a domestic flight, documents such as a health card or driver’s license can be used as proof of identity. However, these documents are too sensitive to always carry around.
The alternative that Ontario residents have is the photo ID card. This document is issued by the government for identification purposes in day-to-day operations for people who do not have a driver’s license. For those with driving licenses, they have to choose between their driver’s license and photo ID. You cannot have both!
This post on how to get an Ontario Photo Card is a comprehensive guide that looks into this crucial identification document from all angles. The guide answers all the questions you might have about the Ontario photo ID, including “How do you apply for a photo ID?” and “What is the process of changing the info on your Ontario photo card?”
A Closer Look at the Ontario Photo ID Card
The Ontario photo card is a standard wallet-sized card provided by the government upon application by people who are above 16 years. It is designed for those without a driver’s license as a legit way of identification for common activities that need identification.
The idea of the photo ID card in Ontario was ingrained in law after the passing of the Photo Card Act of 2008. The act initially referred to the card as the enhanced driver’s license (EDL) and would be used in the same way as the driving license. Although the original idea was to make the card comprehensive so that it could be used as a passport when traveling abroad, the idea has been put on hold.
In 2011, the government of Ontario introduced new features such as raised lettering to make it easy for the visually impaired to pull it out from a wallet. This is meant to make everyone including the visually challenged enjoy his/her privacy and reduce fraud.
Why Go for an Ontario Photo ID Card?
At this point, one question that keeps recurring is: “Why go for a photo ID instead of a driving license?” In Ontario, the driving license has become so much ingrained into the system as a method of identification. But what about those without driving licenses?
In 2011, Kathleen Wyne, the then Transport Minister, argued that there are instances when people do not have driving licenses out of choice or for other reasons. Therefore, they need a reliable and easy to use method such as a photo ID for daily transactions.
Here are the key reasons why you should go for a photo ID card if you live in Ontario:
- The photo ID card can help you to open a bank account.
- The card can be used to acquire a credit card.
- It is recognized as an identification document when boarding domestic flights.
- You can use the Ontario Photo ID to access government services.
NOTE: The photo ID is a local identification document and not for international traveling. Besides, those who give up their driving license for the photo ID and want to regain them later might be subjected to re-application in line with the procedures outlined by the Ministry of Transport.
How to Get an Ontario Photo Card
In order to get an Ontario photo card, you are required to be an Ontario resident of more than 16 years.
The Ontario Photo Card Application Procedure
- Start by identifying an Ontario Service Center near you.
- Take identification documents such as a government-issued ID to prove your legal name, date of birth, and signature.
- For residents applying for documents under their married names, they should bring their marriage certificate.
- Pay the required fee of 35 Canadian Dollars (the fee can be paid using cash, Visa, MasterCard, or Certified Cheque).
The government-issued ID is processed in about four to six weeks and will be up for renewal in five years. For the renewal, you will also be required to pay 35 CAD.
Special Note on the Photo to be Used in the Card
When processing the photo ID, the emphasis is put on the photo for easy identification. Therefore, the photo to be used must meet the following requirements:
- The photo must be clearly visible.
- The photo should not have obstructions.
- It should depict a neutral expression (for example, you should not look sad or extremely blissful).
- Even if you use headgear for medical or religious purposes, the face must be clearly visible.
- You might be required to remove face wear such as glasses when taking the photo.
- After the photo ID is processed and you do not like the photo in it, it is possible to have it changed. An additional fee of 10 CAD will be levied.
How to Change the Address on your Ontario Photo Card
If your address changes and you want it reflected on your photo card, the process is simple and fast. Simply check into the nearest Ontario service center and make a written request with the new address. Note that you are not required to provide a proof of address. The following are the main requirements when changing the address in the photo card:
- Photo card number,
- Full name,
- The current address, and
- The new address
Replacing a Lost Ontario ID Card
If your photo card gets damaged, lost, or stolen, you can apply for a replacement at a fee of 10 CAD. Check into the nearby service center in Ontario and provide proof of the following documents:
- Date of birth,
- Legal name, and
The Ontario Photo ID is among the crucial identification documents for people without a driving license. It is preferred for residents who do not want to carry around other sensitive documents when seeking services such as opening bank accounts or acquiring credit cards.
- You cannot hold a driver’s license and the photo card. If you have a driving license but prefer the photo ID, you have to give up your license.
- The Ontario photo card application is done at a service center upon supplying identification documents to prove your date of birth and legal name.
- Once the card is issued, you can change the details such as the photo, address, or even replace it at your nearest service center.